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GAO Report on Federal Actions to Enhance Understanding of Public Health Risks from Climate Change

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report that summarizes its review of Federal efforts to increase public health system preparedness for climate change; acknowledges data and research challenges; and recommends that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) develop climate change communications guidance for state and local health departments.  The report also highlights the need for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to finalize the development of its climate change communication and outreach strategy, and address challenges associated with gaps in research and difficulties using climate data to identify health risks — by taking actions such as issuing an assessment of climate change impacts on health, and creating a national heat health information system.  For this review, GAO examined Federal, state, and local documents, and interviewed officials from Federal agencies such as CDC, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), as well as state and local health departments, including all 18 recipients of CDC’s Climate Ready States and Cities Initiative award.

For more information and to read the report entitled, “Climate Change: HHS Could Take Further Steps to Enhance Understanding of Public Health Risks,” go to:  http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-16-122.