The Climate Resilience for Frontline Clinics Toolkit
The Climate Resilience for Frontline Clinic Toolkits offers resources tailored to health care providers, patients and administrators that address heat, wildfires, hurricanes, floods and general guidance on working with clinics to put these materials into practice. These resources can be downloaded in both English and Spanish.
Thousands of community health centers and free clinics across the U.S. care for millions of our nation’s uninsured or underinsured patients. Yet, more intense hurricanes, historic floods, unprecedented wildfires, increasing heatwaves, and other extreme weather events from climate change threaten their ability to provide care and keep their patients healthy.
The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard Chan C-CHANGE) and Americares collaborated to help protect people on the frontlines of the climate crisis with the Climate Resilience for Frontline Clinics project. Biogen is a founding donor of the project.
The three-year effort began with a groundbreaking survey of over 450 clinic staff from 47 U.S. states and territories to identify knowledge gaps and real-world challenges of caring for patients during and after climate shocks. The knowledge gained from that survey helped us create the Climate Resilience for Frontline Clinics Toolkit which provides useful resources for health care providers, patients and administrators at free clinics and community health centers to meet the challenges for health care from climate change.
From the data collected from the nationwide survey, we learned that:
- 81% of clinic staff said their clinic experienced some kind of disruption due to extreme weather within the past three years;
- Fewer than 20% of clinic staff feel their clinic is “very resilient” in the face of extreme weather;
- 77% of clinic staff say they do not have the knowledge or tools to implement climate change preparedness at their clinic; and
- More than 80% want education and training to protect their patients from climate-related events.
The project will expand across the U.S. to ensure that more clinics providing free or low-cost health care to uninsured or underinsured patients – such as primary, behavioral, emergency, maternity, and specialty care – are better equipped to manage care and protect patients from climate risks.