Medical orgs issue joint letter supporting HHS Office of Climate Change and Health Equity


A group of 32 medical organizations, including the Integrative Health Policy Consortium (IHPC), issued a joint letter requesting $6 million in funding for the new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE) in Fiscal Year 2022.

The letter asked that the United States Senate Committee on Appropriation complete the appropriations process for the OCCHE, allowing the opportunity for more funding. The letter said with the money, the OCCHE could expand their mission of addressing more environmental health issues as well as better HHS preparedness and response to climate emergencies.

Without adequate funding for the OCCHE, the organizations said in the letter that the U.S. will be unprepared for the human health impacts of climate change, and that many public health gains of the past century could be reversed.

The OCCHE was established in 2021 after President Joseph Biden issued an executive order with directives on placing climate change at the center of foreign and national policy. In the order, President Biden spoke of taking a “government-wide approach” to climate change, applying it to every sector of the economy, including healthcare.

OCCHE was developed to tackle environmental justice issues related to public health. The office was tasked with objectives such as identifying and addressing health disparities exacerbated by climate change, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the health care sector, and educating the public on climate change and its impact on public health.