Online Program

Establishing the Hawai‘i Working Group on Climate Change and Health: Encouraging public health focus on the impacts of climate change through intersectoral collaboration, key partnerships and greater community involvement

Monday, November 2, 2015

Michelle Tagorda, MPH, Office of Public Health Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI
Nancy S. Partika, RN, MPH, Hawaii Public Health Association, Honolulu, HI
Gerald H. Ohta, MPH, Office of Planning, Policy and Program Development, Hawaii State Department of Health, Honolulu, HI
Hawaii Public Health Association’s (HPHA) mission is to promote public health in Hawai‘i through leadership, collaboration, education and to advocate for a strong public health workforce able to effectively respond to health challenges. With a health in all policies approach to help address health challenges in Hawai‘i, our most recent goal was to encourage more public health focus on the impacts of climate change on health. In order to reach the goal, HPHA is working to increase the public policy discussion regarding the complex issues of climate change and health through best practices of collaborating with different sectors, partnering with key stakeholders and increasing the community involvement.

An important part of the process was engaging members of our affiliate. An HPHA member survey indicated that our members are very concerned about the current and projected impacts of climate change on Hawai‘i’s people and their health. This prompted an HPHA-organized briefing on climate change and health held at the Hawai‘i State Capitol where agencies and organizations presented their work on the issue, discussed concerns, and the decision was made to work with key state legislators to introduce a climate change and health bill. HPHA was present to act as a lead testifier at every House and Senate hearing held on the bills and resolutions on climate change and health, stating that more work is needed to address the growing threat of climate change on health and that climate change influences human health and disease in numerous ways.

Through membership engagement, a public health challenge was identified in our community. A collaborative partnership strengthened our policy process and a resolution was passed by the Hawai‘i State Legislature. The Hawai‘i Working Group on Climate Change and Health was established to begin the discussion on future actions to address the public health implications of climate change and health in Hawai‘i.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify three lessons learned by Hawai‘i’s APHA affiliate to increase the public policy discussion regarding climate change and health

Keyword(s): Policy/Policy Development, Climate and Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I serve on the board of directors of the Hawaii Public Health Association for two years as a student representative while pursuing my graduate studies in public health. I attended and helped support the briefing on climate change and health held at the Hawai‘i State Capitol and followed the public policy process our affiliate was able to complete during this past legislative session.
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.

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