As temperatures continue to rise, people in Georgia will be exposed to more health challenges like tropical diseases, heat-related illnesses, and air and water quality issues. Although all Georgians will feel the impacts of these challenges, the poor, elderly and young will be especially affected. How can we build resilience in healthcare and public health systems to protect these at-risk communities as climate changes? This is the topic of this week’s Georgia Climate Project Roadmap question. Remember, you can see all of the questions at http://roadmap.georgiaclimateproject.org/.
29. What are the most effective methods in Georgia to build resilience in the healthcare and public health systems to protect at-risk communities from climate change?
Why this question is important: Public health programs (implemented by county and state health departments) and the healthcare sector (hospitals, nursing homes, etc.) will be critical in responding to the health impacts of climate change. Enhancing the existing capacity to respond to climate-related health events and building the resilience of communities to avoid negative health impacts could play a major role in protecting at-risk citizens and communities. Adaptation and interventions exist to protect at-risk communities (Anderson et al. 2017), but it is unclear which of those would be most useful for communities across Georgia.