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California Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (CalBRACE) Project: Preparing for Climate Change in California - A Public Health Approach

Project Goals

The goals of the CDPH Climate Change and Health Equity Section's CalBRACE project are to enhance the State's capability to plan for and reduce health risks associated with climate change.  The program provides resources and technical assistance for the state and local public health departments to build climate adaptation capacity and enhance resilience at the local and regional levels.  CalBRACE is funded by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and joins 15 other states and two cities across the United States that are also conducting climate adaptation planning efforts from a public health perspective through the CDC Climate Ready States and Cities Initiative.

Why is CalBRACE needed?

Efforts are underway to identify and understand how climate change is affecting our health and to enhance preparedness and resilience to the specific threats and changes posed by climate change at the state and local level.  Climate change threatens our health now and will continue to impact our way of life.  We can already see some of these changes today in California, including increased temperatures, drought, extreme storms, wildfires, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and decreased air quality.

The CalBRACE project focuses on preparing for three of the major climate impacts facing our state: increasing temperature/extreme heat, wildfire, and sea level rise (including flooding).  In order to improve our understanding of the health implications of climate change, it is important to look at both short and long-range climate projections.  Once we have this knowledge we can begin to incorporate climate change into a variety of public health planning and response activities.  

The CalBRACE Adaptation Planning Toolkit for Public Health is a collection of resources that includes tools, reports, and guides to help local health departments assess, plan and monitor to reduce and prevent health risks associated with climate change.

Explore the Toolkit here >>


CalBRACE Pre-Planning Step

The preplanning step includes a checklist and a template for assessing local and regional Climate Mitigation, Adaptation, and Resilience Planning. The Template is a word document that a LHD staff, an intern or consultant can complete.  Through outreach and research, a LHD will gain knowledge of planning activities in the health department, county government, and community-based and regional organizations.  After completion of the inventory activities, local health departments assess gaps and local resources, and identify next steps for engaging in planning, implementation of strategies and policy-making activities.


Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) 

The CDC has developed a five-step BRACE framework that enables health departments to incorporate the best available climate projections and epidemiology analysis into a traditional preparedness planning process.  This approach supports the development and implementation of a unified climate and health adaptation strategy for a jurisdiction, while allowing flexibility for local and regional conditions and needs.  The steps should be addressed in a sequence that best aligns with local priorities, opportunities and resources, and are not necessarily linear. 

Key principles for the framework include:

  • Adaptive management, 
  • Evidence based public health practice, and
  • Engaging stakeholders

Five-Step BRACE Framework

Step 1

Identify the scope of the most likely climate impacts, the potential health outcomes associated with those climatic changes, and the populations and locations vulnerable to these  health impacts within a jurisdiction.

  • California County-Level Climate and Health Profile Reports
    • The reports present an overview of local and regional climate projections based on climate science and link risks to health outcomes to inform public health practitioners and their partners about climate change risks to health. Indicators in the reports include heat-related emergency department visits, adults living with multiple chronic conditions, population living in poverty, race/ethnicity, outdoor workers, air conditioning ownership, tree canopy, and public transit access.
  • Climate Change and Health Vulnerability Indicators, Data, and Narratives
    • These indicators are for assessing social vulnerability and adaptive capacity for climate change exposures in California.
  • Climate Change and Health Visualization (CCHVIz)
    • CCHVIz is the interactive data visualization platform for the Climate Change & Health Vulnerability Indicators for California (CCHVIs). The CalBRACE Project produced Climate Change and Health Vulnerability Indicators to help stakeholders better understand the people and places that are more susceptible to adverse health impacts associated with climate change. They are a suite of 21 indicators (18 available here) of climate exposure, population sensitivity, and adaptive capacity to the impacts of climate change. These indicators are being used by local and state programs to plan to meet the needs of the communities most at risk of harm from climate change.
  • Resources (PDF)

Step 2

Estimate or quantify the additional burden of health outcomes due to Climate Change – to support prioritization and decision making.

Step 3:

Identify the most suitable health interventions for the health impacts of greatest concern.

Step 4:

Develop and implement a health adaptation plan (strategy) for climate change that addresses health impacts, gaps in critical public health functions/services, and a plan for enhancing adaptive capacity in the jurisdiction.

Step 5:

Evaluate the processes the project has used, determine the value of utilizing the framework and the value of climate and health activities undertaken to reduce risks to health.


Local Health Department Partnership 

CalBRACE collaborates with local health departments to develop capacity to address climate change as a public health issue across the 10 Climate Impact Regions of California. Through this partnership, CalBRACE provides a monthly online meeting for local health departments to discuss their challenges and hear from experts and partners on new tools, practices in the field, and methods.  CalBRACE, a project embedded within CDPH's Climate Change and Health Equity Section, provides technical assistance, planning, and training resources to the extent possible to all local health departments in the state.  


Local Health Department Community of Practice (CoP) on Climate Change

This monthly online meeting is dedicated to sharing knowledge amongst local health departments and their partners in climate adaptation and mitigation. If you would like notification of meetings, please contact 

  • CoP Archive of Meetings (forthcoming) 


California Climate and Health Case Stories: The Local Health Department Response

This series of case stories highlights how public health departments are responding to climate change as an emerging public health threat. Public health departments have important roles in helping California reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) Framework provides public health departments an evidenced-based process to identify climate impacts in their communities, potential effects associated with these impacts, and their most at-risk populations.

​Office of Health Equity ​Climate Change & Health Equity Section
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