Risk Assessment & Policy

The United States Capitol Building

The Issue 

Transformations in weather can also affect the frequency and types of disease in a region. These changes create a cascading effect on public health, ecosystems, businesses, and leisure. Studying these transitions allows us to design mitigation strategies and adapt our communities in ways that will minimize the health impacts of climate change. To meet the challenge, governments at local, national, and international scales need to put in place effective policies to reduce warming from greenhouse gases and protect public health. Risk assessment is a valuable tool that can help communities and policymakers understand the types of impacts they may experience in a climate-altered future. It can also help industry take measures to make their businesses and equipment more resilient, and encourage governments at all levels to plan programs that reduce greenhouse gases and protect people from extreme weather and other changes expected in their local area.

CHI Research & Action

Research at CHI focuses on assessing the risks related to climate change, designing mitigation strategies, and adapting in ways that will mitigate the damage. One area of concern is basic infrastructure, such as roads, electricity and water systems. CHI researchers analyzed this problem from an engineering perspective and focused on what changes were needed to protect the infrastructure of drinking water systems. Another project looked at adaptation and mitigation from a social media perspective focusing on the development of new tools for emergency managers. This analysis evaluated both the need for crowdsourcing media during disaster events and the prevalent hesitancy of emergency managers to implement this new tool. CHI researchers are also partnering with governments and other stakeholders to advance consideration of health in urban climate action plans and national policies to reduce greenhouse gases. Risk assessment, adaptation, and mitigation of extreme weather events will require continual research and innovative ideas to incorporate flexibility into our current societal structures.

Our Experts

Susan Anenberg
Director, Climate & Health Institute
Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health and Global Health
GW Milken Institute School of Public Health

Royce Francis
Associate Professor, Engineering Management and Systems Engineering
GW School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Sabrina McCormick
Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health
GW Milken Institute School of Public Health