The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the establishment of the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE), in response to President Biden’s executive order tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad. This novel entity will elevate environmental justice and climate-related health disparities by working to protect marginalized communities who are disproportionately impacted by the devastating effects of climate change.
This development aligns with APA’s sustained advocacy on the health disparities related to climate change. APA Services previously submitted congressional testimony detailing the compounding and disproportionate mental health impacts of COVID-19 (PDF, 89KB) and excessive heat on environmental justice communities (PDF, 97KB). These challenges are very relevant to psychological scientists and clinicians, including the vulnerabilities of low socioeconomic status and minority communities, which are more likely to be in areas with poor air quality, greater water pollution, sparse healthcare coverage, and bear the brunt of natural disasters. APA looks forward to collaboration with the OCCHE and will continue to engage with health equity and climate issues, priorities emphasized by APA President Jennifer F. Kelly, PhD, ABPP.
For more information, contact Joseph Keller.