National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
John E. Fogarty International Center
National Cancer Institute
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
National Institute of Mental Health
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
National Institute of Nursing Research
Office of Research on Women’s Health
The Steering Committee of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Climate Change and Human Health Working Group invites feedback on the approaches NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices can take to enhance research on the health implications of climate change in the United States and globally.
Climate change poses substantial threats to human health across the lifespan. These threats influence diverse health concerns including communicable and non-communicable diseases, injuries, hazardous exposures, mental health, and death. Observational and modeling studies have identified impacts on and threats to health and well-being that are immediate (e.g., extreme weather events such as hurricanes, heat waves, floods and droughts) as well as resulting from more gradual changes in climate (e.g., rising sea levels, shifts in rainfall and humidity). In the United States and globally, structural racism and discrimination place communities of color, under-resourced, health disparity populations, and other historically disadvantaged communities at higher risk from health impacts of climate change.
Health consequences of climate change may be direct (e.g., heat stress, death) or indirect (e.g., infectious diseases or conditions associated with pollution) effects, and may occur due to actions taken to mitigate (e.g., changes in energy systems) and adapt (changes in the built environment) to climate change. Understanding the health implications – including potential health benefits — of actions to prevent, mitigate, and adapt to climate change offers opportunities to improve the social and environmental determinants of health, especially for at-risk communities.