Oregon Climate and Health Resilience Plan

Oregon Health Authority
Posted on: 5/17/2019 - Updated on: 6/25/2019

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Historical, racial and economic injustices have led to health disparities in Oregon. Certain populations, including communities of color, have been forced to shoulder an unfair share of stressors, while having less access to the resources and opportunities to cope and adapt. These disparities are symptoms of social and environmental conditions that ultimately affect us all, no matter who we are or where we live. They inhibit our ability to reach our public health goals and build resilient communities.

Today, disruptions are occurring in Oregon’s climate that have the potential to exacerbate these existing disparities. Disruptions are already threatening our access to clean air, clean water, healthy food, and stable jobs. New records and trends are setting ‘new normals’ for what to expect in the years to come. The 2014 Oregon Climate and Health Profile Report outlines these changes and describes populations most at risk. In 2015, Oregon’s Climate and Health program produced a Social Vulnerability Assessment that includes a set of maps that can be layered with environmental data to further describe climate risks in Oregon.

While taking a closer look at our vulnerabilities, community partners emphasized the importance of examining the inherent strengths and wisdom within communities that enable them to be resilient and adaptive in sustainable ways. This involves shifting away from conventional deficit-based models that focus on risks, needs, problems, and vulnerabilities into a more strengths-based approach that identifies and uses existing community assets, resources, networks and support.

  • The plan includes case studies and videos that highlight how our public health workforce is already taking action to build community resilience.

  • Our Climate and Health Program is leading a collaborative of local health departments across the state who are implementing resilience strategies. 

Climate and health strategies in the new Resilience Plan include: 


  • Actively engaging with our diverse community partners and elevating the voices of our most vulnerable populations to inform policy priorities.

  • Informing policies that affect air quality and reduce air pollution. 

  • Promoting policies that strengthen our local food systems.


  • Conducting regular monitoring of climate and health indicators, and monitoring the progress made on our resilience strategies.

  • Equipping our health care partners with the information they need to protect patients from climate-related health risks.

  • Supporting community-driven climate adaptations that contribute to building an evidence base for effective climate and health interventions.


  • Promoting community improvements that encourage walking, biking and the use of public transit.

  • Helping to ensure access to safe places for communities to gather, build community and take refuge.

  • Prioritizing public health interventions that address the root causes of health inequities and preventable diseases in Oregon.