Jackson County Health Department joined forces with the University of Illinois-Chicago, School of Public Health to address the health effects of climate change and severe weather incidents in Jackson County.  This effort was funded by a grant from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which developed a framework that allows local health officials to develop strategies and programs to help communities prepare for the health effects of climate change.

The Jackson County Public Health and Medical Preparedness Coalition (“the Coalition”) conducted three planning sessions to identify the climate-related health priorities for our community and to develop a plan to address these.  The Coalition is made up of representatives from public health, emergency management, hospitals, long-term care facilities, mental health, public housing, economic development, higher education and others.  The group reviewed the data on climate effects for the nation, Illinois and, when available, this county. 

The Coalition’s mission was to select the top three health priorities impacted by climate change for inclusion in an initial plan for Jackson County.  While many other health issues are impacted by climate change, the top three were selected to keep the plan, and the resulting work in the community, focused and manageable.  In addition, the Coalition felt that is was important to align with and enhance other community health efforts, to better achieve economies of scale and allow for collaboration of resources. 

The top three health priorities impacted by climate change that were selected by the Coalition were:

  1. Chronic Respiratory Disease
  2. Mental Health and Stress
  3. Medical Care Disruption

For each of these three health issues, background information is provided on how climate change plays a role, what strategy we are employing to address the problem, and what efforts the community can undertake to support the strategy.

Please take a look at the Addressing Climate Health and Your Health report to better understand the impact of climate change on our health and to see how individuals and organizations can support efforts to mitigate and adapt to these impacts.  Working together, we can make a difference in how global climate change impacts the health of Jackson County citizens!