Anticipating and managing the health risks of climate change
A team of climate change researchers, led by Associate Professor Erica Bell at the University of Tasmania’s (UTas) Department of Rural Health, have been awarded a ClimateConnect grant to help local communities anticipate and respond to health risks from climate change.
“We are delighted that the ClimateConnect grant program has provided funding for the statewide pilot of our climate change health impact and risk assessment tool,” Associate Professor Bell said.
“Through the project, we will develop an IT-based tool for local government-led assessments of whole-of-community health risks related to climate change impacts.
“The tool will identify proactive health adaptation and some mitigation actions that can be implemented by communities, local government and state and regional policy makers in response to health related climate change issues,” Associate Professor Bell said.
The key health service issues for communities that the tool will investigate include: health service governance and culture, health service delivery, the health workforce; health asset management; and health service finance.
“Many existing impact assessments are paper-based and poorly integrated and shared, so a critical feature of our pilot tool will be making it available online.
“Information will be collected via a UTAS website and will be accessible to all stakeholders, ensuring the data can be compared and shared across Tasmania,” Associate Professor Bell said.
The tool has been developed in consultation with local government and health professionals, and informed by the project team’s internationally recognised research.
“The outcomes of this pilot project will help us to further refine the tool and identify additional health impacts and risks, as well as other key health service adaptation and mitigation options.”
“The seed funding through the Tasmanian Climate Change Office has been enormously important for the pilot project. It will enable us to translate our research into real gains for Tasmania.
“It will also position us well to bring large research grants to the state that can further build our capacity to make a difference on a local, national and even international stage where the World Health Organization has identified a tool such as this as a critical priority.
“I encourage councils interested in this project to keep an eye out for an invitation to participate which will be distributed soon,” Associate Professor Bell said.
For more information about this project please contact Erica Bell on (03) 6226 7377 or firstname.lastname@example.org