Public Health Impacts of Climate Change

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is working to address the health impacts of climate change as a result of:

  • Governor Northam’s Executive Order 24 instructing state agencies to help increase statewide resilience to natural hazards and extreme weather
  • Governor Northam’s Executive Order 29 establishing the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice
  • Governor Northam’s Executive Order 22 establishing the Governor’s Conservation Cabinet
  • Many Virginians indicating to State Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver during his 2018 Listening Tour that climate change is a topic the health department should focus on.

In response, VDH established the Climate Change Committee, or C-3, which has been tasked with:

  • Identifying health-related impacts of climate change in Virginia
  • Identifying vulnerable populations
  • Reviewing and analyzing relevant data, programs, and research in collaboration with internal and external partners
  • Review the health impacts related to sea level rise, air temperature and quality, water temperature and quality, and extreme weather events
  • Developing a draft Public Health Impacts of Climate Change Response Plan for review in early 2020

On June 10, 2019, VDH hosted the Public Health Impacts of Climate Change Summit with attendance from state leadership, local and national subject matter experts, state researchers, and public health specialist to assess the evidence of climate change and need for public health intervention.  Participants engaged in discussions outlining opportunities for collaboration to improve public health data, programs, policies, and methods to identify and mitigate the public health risks associated with climate and weather.

The presentations and participant list from this event are posted below.

If you have any questions regarding the C-3 or VDH efforts to address climate change, please contact Brenden Rivenbark, Senior Policy Analyst at