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Washington state health experts have recognized for years that climate change does and will continue to negatively impact our health. Public health agencies such as King County’s have created climate health planning documents, and in 2019 the Washington State Department of Health created a specific team related to climate health. But marrying climate and health data to figure out exactly how floods, fires and other phenomena spurred by climate change affect our bodies takes resources that have been scarce within local, state and federal health agencies.
However, the state now stands to gain more insight into these relationships, thanks to the state Health Department’s new hire: the state’s first official climate change epidemiologist. Department representatives declined to share the name of the new hire, who starts July 1.