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Minigrants to Local Health Departments

An Opportunity to Promote Climate Change Preparedness

Grossman, Elena, MPH; Hathaway, Michelle, MPH; Bush, Kathleen F., PhD; Cahillane, Matthew, MPH; English, Dorette Q., MA; Holmes, Tisha, PhD; Moran, Colleen E., MPH, MS; Uejio, Christopher K., PhD; York, Emily A., MPH; Dorevitch, Samuel, MD, MPH

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: March/April 2019 - Volume 25 - Issue 2 - p 113–120
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000826
Research Reports: Practice Full Report

Context: Human health is threatened by climate change. While the public health workforce is concerned about climate change, local health department (LHD) administrators have reported insufficient knowledge and resources to address climate change. Minigrants from state to LHDs have been used to promote a variety of local public health initiatives.

Objective: To describe the minigrant approach used by state health departments implementing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) framework, to highlight successes of this approach in promoting climate change preparedness at LHDs, and to describe challenges encountered.

Design: Cross-sectional survey and discussion.

Intervention: State-level recipients of CDC funding issued minigrants to local public health entities to promote climate change preparedness, adaptation, and resilience.

Main Outcome Measures: The amount of funding, number of LHDs funded per state, goals, selection process, evaluation process, outcomes, successes, and challenges of the minigrant programs.

Results: Six state-level recipients of CDC funding for BRACE framework implementation awarded minigrants ranging from $7700 to $28 500 per year to 44 unique local jurisdictions. Common goals of the minigrants included capacity building, forging partnerships with entities outside of health departments, incorporating climate change information into existing programs, and developing adaptation plans. Recipients of minigrants reported increases in knowledge, engagement with diverse stakeholders, and the incorporation of climate change content into existing programs. Challenges included addressing climate change in regions where the topic is politically sensitive, as well as the uncertainty about the long-term sustainability of local projects beyond the term of minigrant support.

Conclusions: Minigrants can increase local public health capacity to address climate change. Jurisdictions that wish to utilize minigrant mechanisms to promote climate change adaptation and preparedness at the local level may benefit from the experience of the 6 states and 44 local health programs described.

Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois, Chicago (Mss Grossman and Hathaway and Dr Dorevitch); Division of Public Health Services, New Hampshire Department of Health & Human Services, Concord, New Hampshire (Dr Bush and Mr Cahillane); Office of Health Equity, California Department of Public Health, Richmond, California (Ms English); Departments of Urban & Regional Planning (Dr Holmes) and Geography (Dr Uejio), Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida; Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Madison, Wisconsin (Ms Moran); and Oregon Health Authority, Portland, Oregon (Ms York).

Correspondence: Samuel Dorevitch, MD, MPH, Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2121 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60612 (sdorevit@uic.edu).

Mss Grossman and Hathaway contributed equally as cofirst authors.

The authors were funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC UE1 EH001045) Climate-Ready States and Cities Initiative grant to implement the Building Resilience Against Climate Effects framework.

The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Health and Human Services, or their respective agencies.

Since 2012, Samuel Dorevitch, MD, MPH, has directed “Building Resilience Against Climate Effects in Illinois” (“BRACE-Illinois”). That public health practice project is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prepare the Illinois Department of Public Health and local health departments for the health effects of climate change. The other authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.