CalBRACE: Preparing for Climate Change in California - A Public Health Approach
The goals of the CalBRACE project are to enhance the California Department of Public Health's (CDPH) capability to plan for and reduce health risks associated with climate change. The program provides resources and technical assistance for the state and local public health departments to build climate adaptation capacity and enhance resilience at the local and regional levels. CalBRACE is funded by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and joins 15 other states and two cities across the United States that are also conducting climate adaptation planning efforts from a public health perspective through the
CDC Climate Ready States and Cities Initiative.
Why is CalBRACE needed?
Efforts are underway to identify and understand how climate change is affecting our health and to enhance preparedness and resilience to the specific threats and changes posed by climate change at the state and local level. Climate change threatens our health now and will continue to impact our way of life. We can already see some of these changes today in California, including increased temperatures, drought, extreme storms, wildfires, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and decreased air quality.
The CalBRACE project focuses on preparing for three of the major climate impacts facing our state: increasing temperature/extreme heat, wildfire, and sea level rise (including flooding). In order to improve our understanding of the health implications of climate change, it is important to look at both short and long-range climate projections. Once we have this knowledge we can begin to incorporate climate change into a variety of public health planning and response activities.
CDC has developed a
five-step BRACE framework that enables health departments to incorporate the best available climate projections and epidemiology analysis into a traditional preparedness planning process. This approach supports the development and implementation of a unified climate and health adaptation strategy for a jurisdiction, while allowing flexibility for local and regional conditions and needs. The steps can be addressed in a sequence that best aligns with local priorities, opportunities and resources. Key principles for the framework include adaptive management, evidence based public health practice, and engaging stakeholders.
Five-Step BRACE Framework:
Identify the scope of the most likely climate impacts, the potential health outcomes associated with those climatic changes, and the populations and locations vulnerable to these health impacts within a jurisdiction.
Estimate or quantify the additional burden of health outcomes due to Climate Change – to support prioritization and decision making.
Identify the most suitable health interventions for the health impacts of greatest concern.
Develop and implement a health adaptation plan (strategy) for climate change that addresses health impacts, gaps in critical public health functions/services, and a plan for enhancing adaptive capacity in the jurisdiction.
Evaluate the processes the project has used, determine the value of utilizing the framework and the value of climate and health activities undertaken to reduce risks to health.
Local Health Department Partnership
10 Climate Impact Regions of California (PDF). Through this partnership, CalBRACE provides technical assistance for local climate and health capacity development efforts and co-developing resources that will support their adaptation planning processes. CDPH's Climate Change and Health Equity Program provides technical assistance, planning, and training resources to the extent possible to all local health departments in the state.
CalBRACE is partnering with 10 local health departments from the
California Climate and Health Case Stories: The Local Health Department Response
This series of case stories highlights how public health departments are responding to climate change as an emerging public health threat. Public health departments have important roles in helping California reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) Framework provides public health departments an evidenced-based process to identify climate impacts in their communities, potential effects associated with these impacts, and their most at-risk populations.