For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Assessing Health Vulnerability to Climate Change: A Guide for Health Departments

Arie Ponce Manangan, Christopher Uejio, Shubhayu Saha, Paul Schramm, Gino Marinucci, Jeremy Hess, & George Luber.
Climate and Health Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

July 1, 2014

This document provides guidance for health departments on how to assess local vulnerabilities to health hazards associated with climate change. A climate and health vulnerability assessment allows health departments to understand the people and places in their jurisdiction that are more susceptible to adverse health impacts associated with climate change. This assessment of people and place vulnerability can then be used to implement targeted public health interventions to reduce the burden of public health impacts. This document provides a conceptual framework on how to define vulnerability to climate change, using terms and definitions found in the health and climate change scientific literature. Specifically, we define the term exposure as referring to climate-related exposures such as extreme heat or precipitation. We also provide an example of how to conduct a climate and health vulnerability assessment using a case study on heat vulnerability in Georgia. Although there are myriad climate factors that impact health (e.g., storm surge, increased atmospheric CO2, extreme precipitation events, drought, etc.), heat vulnerability was selected as a case study because it was identified as the most important climate-sensitive health outcome of concern in a survey of the eighteen grantees of the CDC’s Climate-Ready States and Cities Initiative. In addition, there is a wealth of research and available data on the topic of heat vulnerability.


CDC Health Climate