Local public health departments (LHDs) across the United States are working proactively to address health inequities, an endeavor that requires intentional change in public health practice. While the services that public health provides to individuals in communities remain vitally important, local health departments are broadening their scope to support systems change across the many sectors that shape community environments (such as transportation and land use, agriculture and food, and criminal justice systems) and the economic, physical, and social conditions in which we live, work, learn, and play. LHDs are also beginning to address the historical and structural determinants of health (such as
racism, power, and disenfranchisement) that have led to and reinforce persistent inequities.
Now, public health needs to apply this expanded scope to climate change. Our actions now will determine the magnitude of future impacts, how quickly they occur, and the extent to which our communities can thrive in the face of climate change.