Climate for Health Ambassador Training: An Overview

Aug 13, 2020 | Emily D'Angelo

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) partnered with ecoAmerica to host a Climate for Health Ambassadors training on July 6, 2020. This training occurred as a pre-conference workshop during NACCHO’s Annual Conference (NACCHO 360).

As climate change continues to impact people’s health, livelihoods, and communities, they are looking for guidance on solutions in their daily lives. Health leaders are among the most highly trusted professionals, making them valuable assets in raising public awareness and action around climate change. ecoAmerica’s Climate for Health program supports health leaders to demonstrate visible climate leadership, with opportunities such as their Climate for Health Ambassadors training. As a Climate for Health Leader, Lori Freeman, NACCHO’s Chief Executive Officer, is committed to amplifying climate solutions within the organization as well as the nearly 3,000 city and county health departments nationwide that NACCHO represents. Through this collaboration with NACCHO, the Climate for Health Program was able to reach members representing a diversity of local health departments.

Rebecca Rehr, the Director of Climate for Health at ecoAmerica, facilitated this interactive training with NACCHO staff

The pre-conference training provided information, resources, and case studies to empower trainees to speak and act confidently on climate change and solutions. Rebecca Rehr, the Director of Climate for Health at ecoAmerica, facilitated this interactive training with support from Chelsea Gridley-Smith, Director of Environmental Health at NACCHO. Adriane Casalotti, Chief of Government and Public Affairs at NACCHO, closed out the presentation by expressing how members at local health departments can use their role to advocate for climate solutions. Casalotti also shared the ways in which NACCHO supports policy and advocacy at local health departments. Following the training, attendees from local health departments, academia, and non-profits signed on to become Climate for Health Ambassadors, agreeing to continue to advocate for, and educate on, climate solutions.

Chelsea Gridley-Smith, Director of Environmental Health at NACCHO, at the Climate for Health Ambassador Training

During the training, Matt Wolff and Paul Shoemaker, members of NACCHO’s Global Climate Change Workgroup, shared how their communities have acted against climate change and its effects to tailor this training to local health departments. Wolff, a Climate and Health Program Manager at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, shared how the Climate and Health Program conducted an extreme heat vulnerability assessment, and partnered with hospitals to establish a checklist of best practices to prepare for and respond to the health impacts of heat and wildfire smoke. Shoemaker, Director of the Environmental and Occupational Health Division at the Boston Public Health Commission, discussed how Boston’s CleanAir Cabs were introduced in the city in 2007 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the taxi industry. Since their inception, the CleanAir Cabs have saved almost 4 million gallons of gasoline from being used, increased the customer satisfaction of passengers, and increased annual income for taxi drivers by $4,000.

About NACCHO’s Global Climate Change Workgroup

NACCHO’s work around climate change is driven by the Global Climate Change Workgroup comprised of local health departments throughout the country, as well as researchers and other professionals who work with climate mitigation. Members of the workgroup meet monthly to draft policy statements, review model practice applications, and discuss how NACCHO can best support local health departments. Visit NACCHO’s climate change webpage to learn more about the workgroup, stories from the field, and NACCHO’s policy statements around climate change.

About the Climate for Health Training Program

For more resources from Climate for Health, visit their webpage to learn more. The Climate for Health Ambassadors training will be offered at the upcoming virtual events this fall:


About Emily D’Angelo

Program Analyst

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