Developing climate change environmental public health indicators : guidance for local health departments
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Developing climate change environmental public health indicators : guidance for local health departments

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    Climate change EPHI frameworks have been developed at the state level by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists’ (CSTE) State Environmental Health Indicators Collaborative (SEHIC) (available at: and at the federal level by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Environmental Health Tracking Network (NEHTN) (available at: The purpose of this guidance document is to help LHDs leverage existing resources such as the SEHIC and NEHTN climate change indicators for use at the local level.

    Many of the data sets used in these resources aggregate data to a scale that is too large to identify local vulnerabilities or inform local policies. While it is preferable to develop local indicators using national, peer-reviewed datasets, it may be necessary to replace the data suggested by a SEHIC and/or NEHTN indicator with a local source — such as data collected through the epidemiology department, a partner agency, or a local university. In some cases, it may even be necessary to collect new data sets. Local data sets can be costly to access and convert into EPHIs. They also may not have undergone as thorough a review process as their national counterparts. However, in many situations, they may be the only option at a small enough scale to inform local planning conversations. Where possible, local data sets should be designed to display the same information as the SEHIC and NEHTN indicators, only at a smaller scale.

    This guidance document outlines a three-tiered approach to establishing a local climate change environmental public health tracking (EPHT) program — placing emphasis on opportunities to partner with external resources at the local, state, and federal levels. It also explains how climate and health tracking programs can support LHDs’ efforts to provide the 10 Essential Services of Public Health and to achieve accreditation.

    This document is not designed to establish the links between climate change and human health or to provide guidance about how to launch a climate and health program. Furthermore, it does not offer specific technical information about how to conduct geospatial analysis or downscaled climate modeling. Instead, it is designed to assist LHDs in making use of existing climate change EPHI frameworks using current capacity. For readers who are interested in delving into greater detail, links to more specific information are included throughout the document.

    This publication was supported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cooperative Agreement Number 5U38HM000414-05. Its contents are solely the responsibility of CSTE and do not necessarily reflect the official views of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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