Future Houston


Health and Health Equity

The Center is committed to research and collaborations to improve health and health equity in our communities. 

REPORT: Houston's Future: Climate Change and Health Care

Health Care Collaboration is Key to Addressing Climate-driven Medical Issues and to Decarbonizing the Sector, New Report Finds.

Examine the critical intersection of health and climate change in the report, “Houston’s Future: Climate Change and Health Care,” a groundbreaking report that highlights escalating health threats, from heatstroke to mosquito-borne illness, that our region faces due to climate change and includes a series of recommendations to address these challenges. Collaboration within and among health systems is vital. 

Key Findings:

  • Houston is particularly vulnerable to climate-driven disasters, with projected increases in extreme heat, floods, and hurricanes.
  • These events will exacerbate existing health problems, including heatstroke, respiratory illnesses, mental health challenges, and a rise in tropical and vector-borne diseases, disproportionately impacting low-income communities and minorities.
  • The U.S. health care sector, itself responsible for 8.5% of national greenhouse gas emissions, increasingly is recognizing its dual role in climate change: reducing emissions and integrating climate health into care.

Local leaders contributed to creating a series of recommendations for Houston’s health care system to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change, as follows:  

  • Collaboration: Fostering partnerships within and between health care systems and with national organizations to share strategies, access grant funding opportunities, and strengthen advocacy in the decarbonization of health care.
  • Patient Care: Developing and implementing protocols to identify and address climate-related health impacts specific to Houston. 
  • Leadership: Engaging health care leaders and physicians as champions for climate action.
  • Education: Training health care professionals to recognize and address climate health issues and how to reduce emissions in their facilities.
  • Research Partnership: Building strong ties between health care providers and researchers to gather data and find solutions for a healthier Houston.
  • Sustainable Practices: Influencing purchasing and investments toward environmentally friendly options.
  • Policy Advocacy: Supporting policies that promote low-carbon energy and green spaces.
  • Transparency and Accountability: Regularly measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions.

This report underscores the urgent need for Houston’s health care systems to actively participate in climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts. By adopting collaborative strategies and leveraging technological innovations, health care providers can play a pivotal role in safeguarding the health of Houston’s families against the backdrop of an evolving climate landscape.