The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) held a workshop on May 17-18, 2017 in Hermosillo, Sonora, México, on the use of syndromic surveillance for extreme heat in North America. The Climate Program Office's Juli Trtanj delivered an update on the National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS)’s national and trans-boundary NIHHIS activities, inclusive of the Rio Grande/Bravo NIHHIS Pilot, the recent Mexico Climate Outlook Forum, and the health-focused North American Climate Services Partnership meeting held in November of 2016 in Mexico City.
The workshop showcased the results of the CEC project, Helping North American Communities Adapt to Climate Change: A Pilot Syndromic Surveillance System for Extreme Heat. These results include lessons learned from the pilot projects in the communities collaborating on the project: Ottawa, Canada; Detroit, US; and Hermosillo, México. The workshop also included a guide for the design and implementation of syndromic surveillance systems for heat-related health outcomes in North America, developed under the project.
The event convened public health professionals, emergency management officials, public health decision makers, researchers, and epidemiologists from North America. These participants exchanged information about the need for and use of health data to support and assess the efficiency of actions aimed at adapting to extreme heat in the context of climate change.
NIHHIS and the CEC, with strong leadership by NOAA, CDC, EPA, and other federal agencies in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, are working to reduce the risk of heat-related health issues along the border and across North America.
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Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather. In 2011, the United States experienced a record high number (14) of climate- and weather-related disasters where overall costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. Combined, these events claimed 670 lives, caused more than 6,000 injuries, and cost $55 billion in damages. Businesses, policy leaders, resource managers and citizens are increasingly asking for information to help them address such challenges.
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