Background: Current literature documents the potential adverse human health impacts presented by climate change. For this reason, SEHIC established a workgroup to determine indicators of climate and health for state health departments. SEHIC began with a comprehensive review of the scientific literature to identify outcomes and actions related to climate variability that could inform recommendations about the development of a suite of climate and health indicators. Priority was then given to identifying longitudinal data sets that were applicable at the state and community level. The work group recognized that indicators are needed to measure current vulnerability to climate variability and change. Indicators are also needed to track possible changes in health outcomes to determine if climate change is actually affecting their state, local, or regional population. For local indicator guidance, click here.
Indicator Pilot: The CSTE climate change subcommittee developed 24 climate and health indicators including a instructions on how to calculate each indicator and a template to facilitate organizing and recording the data. Each indicator’s description and accompanying instructions were pilot tested in 2011 and 2012 to improve and finalize the implementing instructions and to generate multistate data for each indicator. With the results from these pilots, CSTE finalized the climate and health indicator documents.
Completed Indicators: Some indicators are measures of environmental variables that either directly or indirectly can affect human health, such as maximum and minimum temperature extremes. Other indicators can be used to project future health impacts based on changes in exposure, assuming exposure-response relationships remain constant over temporal and spatial scales.