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Climate Change

New US office aims to lessen climate impact on health

by Britt E. Erickson
September 10, 2021

Extreme weather events are becoming more common and some people are feeling the effects more than others. To better protect communities disproportionately impacted by climate-driven natural disasters, the US Department of Health and Human Services has created the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity. The new office will identify communities that are vulnerable to public health hazards exacerbated by climate change. It will also help identify ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution in disadvantaged communities and advance adaptation and resilience to climate change in such communities. “Climate change is turbocharging the horrific wildfires, extreme heat, and devastating floods that are killing people and making millions more sick from exposure to unhealthy smoke, mold, and debilitating heat,” Gina McCarthy, the White House National Climate Advisor, says in a statement. The new office will “bring America’s world-class medical community into the fight against climate change—a fight for our health that ensures no community is left behind,” she says. Led by interim director John Balbus, the office will be housed in the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.


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