An approach for assessing human health vulnerability and public health interventions to adapt to climate change

Environ Health Perspect. 2006 Dec;114(12):1930-4. doi: 10.1289/ehp.8430.


Assessments of the potential human health impacts of climate change are needed to inform the development of adaptation strategies, policies, and measures to lessen projected adverse impacts. We developed methods for country-level assessments to help policy makers make evidence-based decisions to increase resilience to current and future climates, and to provide information for national communications to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The steps in an assessment should include the following: a) determine the scope of the assessment; b) describe the current distribution and burden of climate-sensitive health determinants and outcomes; c) identify and describe current strategies, policies, and measures designed to reduce the burden of climate-sensitive health determinants and outcomes; d) review the health implications of the potential impacts of climate variability and change in other sectors; e) estimate the future potential health impacts using scenarios of future changes in climate, socioeconomic, and other factors; f) synthesize the results; and g) identify additional adaptation policies and measures to reduce potential negative health impacts. Key issues for ensuring that an assessment is informative, timely, and useful include stakeholder involvement, an adequate management structure, and a communication strategy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization*
  • Climate*
  • Environmental Health / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Public Health / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Management