251531 Connections between extreme weather events and public health: Cases from the frontline

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 3:00 PM

Barbara Sattler, RN, DrPH, FAAN , Environmental Health Education Center, University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD
Extreme weather predictions are part of the climate change story. This includes a range of conditions that will threaten public and environmental health, including prolonged heat waves, increased amount and severity of storms, and enhanced conditions for tournedos and hurricanes with associated flooding and extreme winds. The immediate, short, and long-term health and welfare needs of the public require careful preparation. While we may have learned much from the Katrina experience and its aftermath, it is not clear that we have incorporated all of this knowledge into our city/county/state emergency response contingencies. Much of our disaster preparedness focuses on immediate needs but falls short of planning for longer-term, dislocated populations. In addition, planning for targeted populations such as those who are institutionalized (hospitals, group homes, and prisoners), the elderly, and those with minimal resources and low resiliency is a critical part of climate change-related public health. There is also a need for an educational plan/guidance for those re-entering flooded areas that addresses drinking water issues, mold mitigation, and other threats that may be associated with the aftermath of flooding. Creating a coordinated communication/action plan for private emergency responders like the American Red Cross, public emergency responders, local health care providers (including hospitals and pharmacies), and public health agencies is crucial. Such planned coordination may not necessarily be in place at this time in the areas where such threats exist.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Environmental health sciences
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss public health lessons learned from the Katrina experience that apply to projected climate change-related events. 2. Identify unaddressed preparedness needs for immediate, short and long term public health responses.

Keywords: Climate Change, Public Health Service

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified because I am a specialist in environmental health and nursing and have experience in emergency response after extreme flooding
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.