HHS has established an Office of Climate Change and Health Equity, what it describe as the “first office of its kind at the national level,” in response to President Biden’s executive order for a government-wide approach to climate change.
“The office’s mission is to protect vulnerable communities who disproportionately bear the brunt of pollution and climate-driven disasters, such as drought and wildfires, at the expense of public health,” HHS said.
The office’s responsibilities will include (in the announcement’s words):
* Identifying communities with disproportionate exposures to climate hazards and vulnerable populations.
* Addressing health disparities exacerbated by climate impacts to enhance community health resilience.
* Promoting and translating research on public health benefits of multi-sectoral climate actions.
* Assisting with regulatory efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and criteria air pollution throughout the health care sector, including participating suppliers and providers.
* Fostering innovation in climate adaptation and resilience for disadvantaged communities and vulnerable populations.
* Providing expertise and coordination to the White House, Secretary of Health and Human Services and federal agencies related to climate change and health equity deliverables and activities, including executive order implementation, and reporting on health adaptation actions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
* Promoting training opportunities to build the climate and health workforce and empower communities.
* Exploring opportunities to partner with the philanthropic and private sectors to support innovative programming to address disparities and health sector transformation.
HHS has not announced plans regarding how the office will be staffed or its size.