Why Climate and Health?
Climate change threatens our health and well-being in many ways, including impacts from increased extreme weather events, wildfire, decreased air quality, threats to mental health, and illnesses transmitted by food, water, and disease-carriers such as mosquitoes and ticks. Some of these health impacts are already underway in the United States. Public health actions, especially preparedness and prevention, can do much to protect people from some of the impacts of climate change– and early action provides the largest health benefits. By responding to climate change, we can improve human health and well-being through actions across many sectors, including energy, agriculture, and transportation.
Why a Challenge Series?
To find solutions to climate change and health challenges, the Climate and Health Innovation Challenge Series promotes innovative approaches, takes advantage of developing technologies and data resources, and engages a broader community of citizens and scientists. The Series, founded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) at the National Institutes of Health, Esri (a Geographic information system software company), and the HHS Office of Business Management and Transformation (OBMT), provides a unifying framework and communications support to additional US government agencies and other private and public entities interested in sponsoring individual challenges.
How to Participate
The Series is currently scheduled to run from 2015-2016. Challenges will be announced on a rolling basis, and each challenge will be organized and run by a public or private entity that will be responsible for designing, judging, and awarding prizes for that Challenge under an appropriate challenge authority and intellectual property framework. Challenges will appear on challenge.gov and be linked on this page. NIEHS, Esri, and OBMT do not endorse the winning Challenge entries.
This Challenge Series also spotlights the numerous climate and health data sets now available through the US Climate Data Initiative and Healthdata.gov, while also identifying and promoting additional relevant data sets. More information on resilience and helpful resilience tools can be found at the US Climate Resilience Toolkit.
Challenge Series Goals
The overall goal of the Series is to help physicians and other health professionals, health care systems, local decision makers, and the general public understand climate change impacts and find opportunities for health-promoting actions that also help mitigate climate change. Each challenge within the Series will be designed to improve our understanding of climate change’s health impacts, make us more resilient to those impacts, or raise awareness of the linkages between actions that mitigate climate change and actions that improve our health. It is expected that challenges will address at least one of the following goals:
- create tools that empower the public to take action by providing information about climate change’s impacts on health or about the potential health benefits of personal actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
- create climate change and health decision support tools for health professionals and, potentially, other professionals (e.g. urban planners);
- empower the academic and technology communities to analyze climate change and health data in innovative ways to move research forward in key areas (products may range from data visualizations to useful indices/metrics to adopt); and
- challenge the private sector to combine government climate change and health data with their own climate change and/or health data to develop innovative decision support tools or address research questions.
Current Challenge Series Events
NIEHS has launched the Climate Change and Environmental Exposures Challenge, which invites innovators to develop data visualization tools and/or maps that can connect current science on climate change to the exposure pathways for environmental hazards. These tools can help identify the areas and people at the greatest risk of climate change-related environmental exposure, allowing local and national leaders to make more informed protective decisions. Additional information can be found on the NIEHS challenge web-page.
Previous Challenge Series Events
The Esri Human Health and Climate Change App Challenge: Esri ran the Esri Human Health and Climate Change App Challenge to inspire innovators to build apps that help hospitals and health systems understand the impacts of climate change on the health of their communities.
For additional information about the Climate and Health Innovation Challenge Series, please contact Ross Bowling at firstname.lastname@example.org.