Climate Resilience & Adaptation
Earlier this Fall, Dr. Victoria Lee (President and CEO, Fraser Health) and Dr. Mary Ackenhusen (President and CEO, VCH) shared with health staff their perspectives on leadership in climate resilience and sustainability.
Dr. Lee noted that "in the recent Future of Environmental Sustainability in Health Care survey conducted across Lower Mainland health authorities, many of you rated environmental leadership as 8.8/10 in importance for the organization"; whilst Dr. Ackenhusen pointed out that "senior leadership commitment to environmental sustainability helps ensure VCH continues to prioritize and improve along its path of sustainability."
Moreover, our leadership shared that:
- The reality of climate change is very worrisome as it directly impacts the health of people. There are a number of ways our Fraser Health Together framework helps us keep our Healthy People priority area front and centre. Aligning to the government climate action plan is one.
- Since 2017, [Fraser Health has] reduced our carbon footprint by eight per cent and our overall carbon intensity by 19 per cent since 2007.
- We developed the Climate Resilience and Adaptation program to help us better understand and prepare for emerging climate change risks.
- We’re making positive steps along our sustainability journey:
- As the first health authority in Canada to complete a health facility focused climate resilience study, VCH acknowledges the need to reshape the way we deliver exceptional care in our new climate reality.
- As part of the provincial CleanBC commitment to achieve net-zero emissions, VCH achieved carbon neutrality for the eighth consecutive year in 2018.
- VCH publishes a Carbon Neutral Action Report to share our sustainability progress and will be publishing a VCH Environmental Performance Action Report this year.
- Under our GreenCare Strategic Framework, we’re minimizing energy and water consumption, diverting waste and promoting active and clean transportation practices.
Climate Resilience & Adaptation: our regional program
Launched in March 2016, our Climate Resilience & Adaptation Program emerged from a recognition that:
- climate risks and impacts to health assets & infrastructure already have cascading impacts on health service delivery;
- development of site-based low-carbon adaptation options will increase the long-term resilience of health campuses and organizations to climate shocks and stresses; and,
- co-benefits with human health and emissions reductions must be identified and enhanced wherever possible.
For an overview of how Fraser Health, Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) and Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) are working to better understand climate risks, address cascading impacts on patient care and build a climate resilient health system, please see (and share!) our two-page executive summary series Investing in Climate Resilient Health Facilities & Operational Services.
Below are links to resources for those who are looking for a deeper dive into how we are reducing climate risks and building resilience with our partners and collaborators in our health system, government and public sector, professional services, academia and non-profit organizations.
Select Projects & Initiatives (ongoing)
- Resilience Guidelines for Health Infrastructure Design & Operations
- Moving Toward Climate Resilient Health Facilities for Fraser Health and PHSA
- Mobilizing Building Adaptation & Resilience (MBAR, led by BC Housing)
- Integrated Climate Vulnerability Assessment & Adaptation Planning, a joint project with:
- Vancouver Coastal Health, Healthy Built Environment Team (lead agency);
- Fraser Health Population & Public Health;
- Health Emergency Management BC, Lower Mainland; and,
- Facilities Management (Fraser Health, VCH & PHC, PHSA)
Publications & Contributions
- Investing in Climate Resilient Health Facilities & Operational Services for Fraser Health, VCH, PHC and PHSA
- Greening Blocks: Design Interventions to Integrate Health and Climate Resilience Co-benefits (UBC, 2019)
- EES Design Guidelines for New Construction & Major Renovation Projects (2019)
- Moving Toward Climate Resilient Health Facilities for Vancouver Coastal Health (2018)
- Green Infrastructure & Health Guide (Oregon Health and Outdoors Initiative, 2018)
- Proposed Climate Change Impact and Resiliency Indicators for Canadian Health Care Facilities (Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care, forthcoming)
- Reducing Urban Heat Islands to Protect Health in Canada: an introduction for public health professionals (Health Canada, forthcoming)
- Evaluation of Energy Retrofit Options at Fraser Canyon Hospital (NRC, 2017)
Communities of Practice
The program shares experiences and exchanges knowledge with diverse stakeholders and audiences to reduce climate risks and build resilience at the health building, campus and community levels including:
- HealthADAPT Community of Practice (contact: email@example.com).
- Public Sector Climate Risk and Resilience Community of Practice, organized by the BC Climate Action Secretariat (contact: Julia.Berry@gov.bc.ca).
- Climate Risk Network, organized by the Fraser Basin Council (contact: firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Inspiring Climate Action: BC Professionals Adaptation Network, led by Royal Roads University Resilience by Design Lab
- Adaptation to Climate Change Professional Association Committee (ACTPAC), organized by SFU Adaptation to Climate Change Team (contact: email@example.com).
- Adaptation Community of Practice (ongoing, Metro Vancouver). Co-organizer with City of Vancouver, Simon Fraser University and Metro Vancouver.
- Practically Green Workshops Series for Sustainability Intrapreneurs (2015-17). Co-organizer with SAP, VanCity, Hootsuite and Vancouver Aquarium.
Terms & Definitions
Assessments & Toolkits
- Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines (NYC, 2019)
- CoastADAPT Risk Assessment Guidance (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, 2018)
- Building Health Care Sector Resilience Toolkit (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014)
- Health Care Facility Climate Change Resiliency Toolkit (Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care, 2017)
- Hazards Vulnerability Analysis (Kaiser Permanente, 2017)
- Climate Change Toolkit for Health Professionals (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, 2019)
- Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment - Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (PIEVC, 2018)
- Ontario Climate Change and Health Toolkit (Government of Ontario, 2016)
- Guide and Workbook for Municipal Climate Adaptation (ICLEI)
- Operational Framework for Building Climate Resilient Health Systems (WHO, 2015)
- Safe Haven in the Storm: protecting lives and margins with climate-smart health care (HCWH, 2018)
- Climate Risk and Real Estate Investment Decision-Making (ULI, 2019)
- Climate Change Toolkit for Health Professionals (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, 2019): This toolkit comprises 8 modules
- Health Care's Climate Footprint: how the health sector contributes to the global climate crisis and opportunities for action (Health Care Without Harm, 2019)
- Air Quality & Health Workshop (BC Lung Association, 2019): access presentation slides and interviews with experts including Dr Sarah Henderson (BC Centre for Disease Control) on wildfire smoke as a growing threat to air quality and public health, and Angela Yao (UBC) on population health surveillance and forecasting for wildfire smoke.
Please contact Angie Woo, Climate Resilience & Adaptation, Lead for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org.