HHS Forms Office on Climate Change and Health Equity

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this week announced the formation of the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE) in response to President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.’s executive order earlier this year directing specified federal agencies to undertake activities related to climate change. The HHS office is the first of its kind at the national level to address health equity and climate change issues.

OCCHE’s mission is to protect vulnerable communities who disproportionately bear the brunt of pollution and climate-related disasters, such as drought and wildfires, at the expense of public health. Specifically, OCCHE will be tasked with:

  • Identifying communities with disproportionate exposures to climate hazards and vulnerable populations
  • Addressing health disparities exacerbated by climate impacts to enhance community health resilience
  • Promoting and translating research on public health benefits of multisectoral climate actions
  • Assisting with regulatory efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and criteria air pollution throughout the health care sector, including participating suppliers and providers
  • Fostering innovation in climate adaptation and resilience for disadvantaged communities and vulnerable populations
  • Providing expertise and coordination with the White House, HHS, and other federal agencies.
  • Promoting training opportunities to build climate and health workforce
  • Exploring opportunities to partner with philanthropic and private sectors to support innovative programming to address disparities and health sector transformation

Additional information on the newly formed office is available here.