Photo by: Canva user SDI Productions

Climate Resilience for Frontline Clinics

12/06/2022 | Harvard Chan C-CHANGE

Thousands of community health centers and free clinics across the U.S. care for millions of our nation’s uninsured or underinsured patients. Yet, more intense heatwaves, hurricanes, wildfires, and other worsening events from climate change threaten their ability to provide care and keep their patients healthy.

We developed the Climate Resilience for Frontline Clinics toolkit in collaboration with Americares to help protect people on the front lines of climate change. Biogen is a founding donor as part of their commitment to advancing climate, health, and equity.

Resources include:

  • Clinical guidance
  • How to develop action plans & alert systems
  • Tip sheets for patients
  • Checklists for clinic staff
  • Materials to protect patients with certain health conditions from extreme heat

Check out the full toolkit.

Read our press release announcing the toolkit.

The three-year effort began with a groundbreaking survey of over 450 clinic staff from 47 U.S. states and territories to identify knowledge gaps and real-world challenges of caring for patients during and after climate shocks. From that data, we learned that:

  • 81% of clinic staff said their clinic experienced some kind of disruption due to extreme weather within the past three years
  • Fewer than 20% of clinic staff feel their clinic is “very resilient” in the face of extreme weather
  • 77% of clinic staff say they do not have the knowledge or tools to implement climate change preparedness at their clinic
  • More than 80% want education and training to protect their patients from climate-related events.

What we’re doing now

  • Working with clinicians and staff across the country to provide plans, resources, and trainings to improve health and care delivery so that a person with a chronic medical condition, like kidney disease or diabetes, continues to receive the care they need when a heatwave or a major storm makes a clinic hard to reach
  • Expanding the project globally by adapting the toolkit for use in at least three low- and middle-income countries over the next five years, which was announced at the Clinton Global Initiative 2022 Meeting.

Read our press release announcing the project

Chelsea Heberlein

Chelsea Heberlein

Chelsea works with frontline health clinics, researchers, and collaborating organizations to put patients at the center of climate resilience.

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Anna Miller MPH

Anna translates science into action by promoting awareness of the health impacts of climate change.

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