Environmental health officers and climate change adaptation in British Columbia
Keywords:Climate change adaptation, Environmental health officers, EHOs, Public health
Background: The average annual temperatures in British Columbia have been steadily increasing in recent history and are expected to continue to rise. Climate change impacts have a significant effect on public health, and adaptation to these changes is necessary. Environmental health officers (EHOs) are in a position to deliver climate change adaptation programs in public health. The purpose of this study was to assess EHO perception of climate change adaption and identify knowledge or policy gaps. Methods: A self-administered online survey created used Google Forms was distributed through e-mail and social media to EHOs in BC. The survey asked for demographics information, beliefs about climate change, adaption, and public health. Chi-square tests and descriptive statistics were used to analyze results. Results: There was a significant association found between working in a mixed urban and rural environment and the incorporation of climate change adaptation into practice and the belief that climate change has impacted public health in BC. No association was found between years of experience and incorporation of adaptation. Conclusion: While EHOs generally recognize the public health impacts of climate change, there are many barriers preventing EHO involvement in climate change adaptation.
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