Extreme weather events including heat waves, wildfires, dust storms, flooding, and drought, along with adverse air quality events, are climatesensitive public health hazards in Arizona. Climatesensitive hazards are environmental events that pose risks to human health and could be affected by long-term changes in temperature, precipitation, and other weather conditions. These events occur at a wide range of time scales, spanning shortterm events like dust storms to long-term events like drought. Climate-sensitive hazards are among many environmental determinants of health. They can create or worsen health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, asthma and other respiratory illnesses, and can lead to injury or premature death. For example, a heavy downpour can lead to an acute, flash flooding event that poses risk of injury such as falls, lacerations and puncture. Long-term changes in precipitation patterns can modify the suitability of certain regions for vectors (such as mosquitos) that transmit infectious diseases or for the growth of fungus in soils. Demography, infrastructure, social capital, personal and institutional preparedness, and the evolution of technology will also shape the nature of the impacts of climate-sensitive hazards on public health in Arizona. Building resilience across social, ecological, and technological systems will help prepare the State for these hazards.
The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) is leading the development of a statewide climate and health adaptation plan as a participating agency in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) ClimateReady States and Cities Initiative. This document, released in April 2017, is the first version of Arizona’s Climate and Health Adaptation Plan (ACHAP). The goal of ACHAP is to support the mission of the ADHS: to promote, protect, and improve the health and wellness of individuals and communities in Arizona. In coordinating ACHAP, ADHS intends to support the development of interventions and enhancement of public health preparedness activities related to climate-sensitive hazards and minimize adverse impacts on the people of Arizona.
The guidance contained herein was generated using the ongoing work of current and future collaborations and through review and collaboration with other states. ACHAP 2017 serves to compile ideas, direction, and activities that stakeholders may wish to adapt in building resilience against the effects of climate-sensitive hazards. This document is intended to serve as a tool for state and local agencies to support related public health initiatives. Furthermore, it is intended to promote communication among partners by highlighting successful local and regional efforts and by exploring and reviewing new ideas.
Federal, state, county and local collaborators that have and are anticipated to contribute to the continued development of ACHAP include, but are not limited to: federal, state, and local government agencies, Native American tribal governments, Arizona universities and colleges, community-based organizations, healthcare organizations, non-governmental organizations, professional societies, and residents of Arizona. Representatives from several of these types of organizations participated in a climate and health workshop coordinated by ADHS in June 2016. Perspectives from these workshop participants contributed to the development of ACHAP 2017.
A second version of ACHAP will be released in 2018 after a year-long collaborative process with stakeholders and researchers. This collaborative process will identify the best strategies for protecting the health and wellbeing of all Arizonans, drawing guidance from the CDC’s Climate and Health Implementation and Monitoring Strategy. Ultimately, ACHAP will showcase the strengths and capacities of many organizations across Arizona that can play a role in protecting public health from climate-sensitive hazards. Successfully preparing Arizona requires a collaborative approach across many diverse stakeholders. Bringing to the table perspectives from many different local settings and operations will be key to the development of an effective plan. As such, ADHS and other contributors to ACHAP are encouraged to treat all perspectives as fair and valid in the deliberation about adaptation activities for reducing climate-sensitive health impacts in communities across the state.