Our Work in Action

Climate Change and Health

Climate Change and Health  /  Our Work In Action


Fighting the Health Impacts of Climate Change: examples of our work with partners

After more than two years of supporting the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC Foundation recognizes urgent opportunities to apply our lessons learned and expand our partnerships and capacities to reduce the effects of climate change on human health.

Along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health partners, we are working to accelerate the nation’s capacity, preparedness and resilience against the health impacts of climate change. Climate change poses an immediate and intensifying threat to human health and wellbeing. The highlights below include some of our previous work.

Connect with us to learn more about our vision for new partnerships and programming and how you can play a role in ensuring a healthy future for our planet and humanity.

Climate Health

Community Capacity Assessment for Climate Health

As the climate warms, communities across the United States face increased threats from heat-related illnesses, waterborne diseases, shifts in vector-borne diseases and the physical and mental effects of extreme weather events. Though we all are at risk, under-resourced communities are the least equipped to meet these threats, and are often among the first to be impacted. With the support of The Kresge Foundation and CDC, the CDC Foundation’s Community Capacity Assessment for Climate Health assessed 21 urban jurisdictions to understand their climate and health capacity and determine the best ways to help these communities address the adverse affects of climate change. The resulting report found that 57 percent, 12 of these communities, were highly vulnerable to the health impacts of climate change and detailed a list of best practices they can use to implement local climate and health programs. As the health impacts of climate change become more acute, identifying and addressing gaps in preparedness is key to saving lives.

Hurricane Response

Responding to Health Challenges from Hurricanes

In 2017, hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria devastated parts of the continental United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In the years since, powerful hurricanes fueled by climate change have become a regular threat to many coastal residents. Thanks to our donors, the CDC Foundation was quick to respond with emergency relief and supplies after the devastating 2017 storms, providing food, batteries and generators to affected populations in Puerto Rico and assisting Puerto Rico-based CDC staff as they aided in the response. With lab capacity in Puerto Rico disrupted by the storm, the CDC Foundation covered the costs for lab samples to be shipped from the island to the mainland for testing. In USVI, the CDC Foundation supported health communication efforts to provide local residents with vital information on navigating health challenges in the wake of the storms. As a close partner of both the CDC and local, state and other federal health agencies on the ground, the CDC Foundation is uniquely positioned to address critical health threats quickly in the wake of hurricanes and other disasters. 


Zika Response

Protecting Communities from Zika and Mosquito-borne Diseases

While the public health community has long faced challenges reducing illness and death from mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and malaria, never before has a mosquito-borne virus been associated with a catastrophic birth defect or with sexual transmission. The effects of brain damage due to microcephaly and the consequences of other Zika-related birth defects are devastating, lifelong and costly. Currently there is no vaccine available to prevent Zika, and no treatments available for those who do become infected. Because the virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus, prevention efforts are focused on short-term contraceptive options so women can avoid pregnancy during Zika outbreaks. As climate change brings with it increased risks posed by mosquito-borne diseases, information—coupled with an initial supply of prevention tools—is key to keeping pregnant women and their babies healthy. The CDC Foundation undertook a number of efforts to support women at risk and expand public health capacity to help address Zika in U.S. territories during the height of the Zika outbreak in 2016–2017.


The CDC Foundation is actively seeking partners to join with us to make an impact. Help us move health to the forefront of the conversation around climate change and help people understand the risks to their wellbeing and inspire action. Learn more: Contact Advancement at the CDC Foundation: advancement@cdcfoundation.org, 404.653.0790.

If you would like to have an immediate impact, you can give today to help us accelerate our nation's capacity, preparedness and resilience against the health impacts of climate change. Donate Now