Jessica Hinshaw is a Program Manager with NACHC’s Population Health Division.
Patients of Community Health Centers get hit first and worst by the extreme weather events associated with climate change. As a recent UN Climate Report warned, climate-driven weather events such as extreme heat, flooding, poor air quality, and storms will continue to cause adverse health outcomes in vulnerable populations, especially those that have been systemically marginalized such as through redlining policies.
Many health centers have long been responding to the needs of their patients most affected by these climate-driven weather events. Every health center faces different threats and challenges when it comes to climate change and each health center will also have different priorities and abilities to act. To meet you where you are, NACHC is working to create a cache of resources to help health centers build resilience for climate change.
Watch this message from Ben Money, Senor Vice President for Population Health, about NACHC’s environmental health and climate change work
Practical and Actionable Responses for Community Health Centers
A growing number of health centers including Pueblo Community Health Center in Colorado, San Benito Health Foundation in California, and Centro de Salud Familiar in Puerto Rico have installed solar microgrids (solar panels and battery backups) on their sites to remain resilient during power outages or grid disturbances. Having reliable power is crucial to both health centers and patients.
CrescentCare in New Orleans, Louisiana, is using their solar microgrid to transform their center into a “resilience hub,” partnering with local community-based organizations in preparing and pre-positioning resources for climate fueled disasters that frequently strike their area.
Through resources from Direct Relief, NACHC is working to expand resilient health centers across the country. NACHC has partnered with Capital Link and Collective Energy to inform, assess, finance and install solar microgrids. Recognizing the multiple competing priorities faced by health centers, this “CHARGE Partnership (Community Health Access to Reliable Green Energy)” will provide turn-key project management for these capital initiatives.
Resources from NACHC to help your health center take action in the face of climate change
NACHC is partnering with the Harvard C-Change Program, AmeriCares, and Migrant Clinicians Network to train and disseminate the Climate Resilience for Frontline Clinics Toolkit with resources for clinicians, patients and administrators to prepare for the most common climate events. We are also working with ecoAmerica to customize the Climate for Health Ambassador training to health center audiences. The customized training should be available in the coming months!
Are you just beginning to think about these issues and want to start the conversation? Do you want to learn more about how climate change impacts health? Are you ready to consider installing resilient energy systems at your facilities? Please check out our resources and contact our team. Every action matters because health center patients are the most inequitably affected by climate change.