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Environmental Health: Climate Change

CSTE brought together a group of epidemiologists to establish the State Environmental Health Indicators Collaborative (SEHIC) in 2004 with the purpose of creating environmental public health indicators for surveillance. Current literature documents the potential adverse human health impacts presented by climate change. The climate change subcommittee was formed to develop climate change indicators for state health departments.

Climate change indicators:
The climate change subcommittee has developed a suite of 25 environmental, population vulnerability, morbidity and mortality, and policy indicators for climate change. The indicators have been developed and pilot-tested. A 2011 summary report and a more recent summary report are available. The climate change indicators are available here.


Syndromic Surveillance Climate and Health Guidance Document
In 2016, CSTE’s Climate Change Subcommittee formed a workgroup to encourage surveillance of climate-related health impacts by developing a general instruction on how a jurisdiction may use their syndromic surveillance systems for climate and health surveillance. The guidance document provides instruction in five areas: (1) identifying a weather- or climate-related surveillance outcome, (2) developing a syndrome case definition, (3) combining, externally and internally, syndromic surveillance data with environmental data, (4) interpretation and display of data, and (5) engaging with partners. The final section of the document will discuss the strengths and limitations of adding data from a syndromic surveillance system to climate and health surveillance. The guidance document is available here.
Heat Syndrome Case Definition Guidance Document
In 2014, CSTE’s Climate Change Subcommittee formed a workgroup to collect case definitions from jurisdictions across the country and discuss best practices in implementing syndromic surveillance of illness associated with exposure to environmental (i.e., natural) heat. The goals of this report are to (1) provide a novel syndromic surveillance query for heat related illness (HRI) and (2) provide guidance to public health professionals as they adapt the query and implement a HRI syndromic surveillance program in their own jurisdictions. The guidance document is available here.

For more information about the Climate Change Subcommittee and its activities, please contact Alesha Thompson. Click here to view other environmental health activities.

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