Climate change-related natural disasters, including wildfires and extreme weather events, such as intense storms, floods, and heatwaves, are increasing in frequency and intensity. These events are already profoundly affecting human health in the Northeastern United States and globally, challenging the ability of communities to prepare, respond, and recover. This paper examines the peer-reviewed literature on community resilience interventions and metrics that may apply to the Northeastern region of the United States. The overarching goal of this document is to inform local public health practitioners and planners about the availability of evidence-based strategies to strengthen and measure community resilience to climate change-related disasters. We were interested in metrics that were derived from publicly available data sources and that were developed for use by communities at a local scale, and accessible to more modestly resourced municipalities and county health agencies. We searched the literature for papers describing the strategies employed to increase community resilience and the metrics used to measure resilience as an outcome of those strategies. Specifically, we looked for those strategies or interventions that aimed to meet the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s standards for building community resilience as part of reaching the United States’ National Preparedness Goal. Our search revealed 205 articles on community resilience in the Northeast: of those, five described evidence-based strategies. This paper discusses the five selected strategies, their applicability at a local public health level, and the metrics used to measure the extent to which community resilience had been strengthened. The paper shares two relevant case studies: 1) in Los Angeles County, to demonstrate the use of metrics in a multi-year community resilience intervention; and 2) in New Hampshire, to show how an intervention emerged through the development of a climate and health adaptation plan. We recommend the COAST project, COPEWELL Rubric for self-assessment, and Ready CDC intervention as examples of strategies that could be adapted by any community engaged in building community resilience.
Environmental Studies & Sustainability
Walton, A. A., Marr, J., Bush, K., & Cahillane, M. (2021). How Do We Build Community Resilience to Disasters in a Changing Climate? A review of interventions to improve and measure public health outcomes in the Northeastern United States. https://aura.antioch.edu/facarticles/72