Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Environ Health Perspect. 2012 Feb;120(2):171-9. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1103515. Epub 2011 Oct 13.

Integrating climate change adaptation into public health practice: using adaptive management to increase adaptive capacity and build resilience.

Author information

1
Climate and Health Program, Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. jhess@emory.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Climate change is expected to have a range of health impacts, some of which are already apparent. Public health adaptation is imperative, but there has been little discussion of how to increase adaptive capacity and resilience in public health systems.

OBJECTIVES:

We explored possible explanations for the lack of work on adaptive capacity, outline climate-health challenges that may lie outside public health's coping range, and consider changes in practice that could increase public health's adaptive capacity.

METHODS:

We conducted a substantive, interdisciplinary literature review focused on climate change adaptation in public health, social learning, and management of socioeconomic systems exhibiting dynamic complexity.

DISCUSSION:

There are two competing views of how public health should engage climate change adaptation. Perspectives differ on whether climate change will primarily amplify existing hazards, requiring enhancement of existing public health functions, or present categorically distinct threats requiring innovative management strategies. In some contexts, distinctly climate-sensitive health threats may overwhelm public health's adaptive capacity. Addressing these threats will require increased emphasis on institutional learning, innovative management strategies, and new and improved tools. Adaptive management, an iterative framework that embraces uncertainty, uses modeling, and integrates learning, may be a useful approach. We illustrate its application to extreme heat in an urban setting.

CONCLUSIONS:

Increasing public health capacity will be necessary for certain climate-health threats. Focusing efforts to increase adaptive capacity in specific areas, promoting institutional learning, embracing adaptive management, and developing tools to facilitate these processes are important priorities and can improve the resilience of local public health systems to climate change.

PMID:
21997387
PMCID:
PMC3279431
DOI:
10.1289/ehp.1103515
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center