In 2012, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health (BEOH) was awarded a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) project grant to study and prepare for anticipated climatic effects on the public's health. The overarching goal of this grant project is to enhance the statewide capacity of DHS to assess, prepare for, and effectively respond to climate and extreme weather events to reduce or prevent negative health effects to Wisconsin's citizens.
The Wisconsin BRACE program seeks to develop climate adaptation strategies based on best practices and scientific knowledge to address health risks related to potential severe weather and climate-driven events. The Climate and Health Program will explore the ability to predict the public health burden for the following climate-related risk factors: extreme heat, changing precipitation patterns and flooding, drought, impacts on ground water aquifers and surface waters, vector-borne diseases, and winter weather events.
BRACE Climate and Health Profile Report (PDF, 1.4 MB) : An executive summary created in 2014 describing the scope of the grant and the various projects the program is working on to build the capacity of DHS to assess, prepare for, and respond to climate and extreme weather concerns.
Climate and Infectious Diseases: Long-term trend analysis of Wisconsin’s climate indicates that Wisconsin is becoming warmer and wetter. This webpage gives a summary of how the climate can influence the patterns of vector borne diseases in Wisconsin.
Extreme Weather Toolkits for Health Professionals: Comprehensive toolkits were created to provide information to local governments, local health departments, and citizens in Wisconsin about preparing for and responding to different weather related emergencies. These toolkits focus on providing background information, practical guidance, strategies, media releases, talking points, definitions, and useful reference materials on various weather related emergencies.
Wisconsin Heat Vulnerability Index: Wisconsin BRACE staff conducted a geo-spatial analysis of heat-related morbidity and mortality of Wisconsin and the Greater Milwaukee urban area, with assistance from the DHS Bureau of Information Technology Services (BITS) Geographic Information System (GIS) staff. This analysis resulted in a heat vulnerability index (HVI) based on existing population and census data, GIS environmental data layers, climate and weather data, and disease rates to identify areas of greatest risk for negative health impacts due to extreme heat. Identified high-risk neighborhoods and populations will receive targeted messaging related to heat events and additional resources during extreme heat events.
Milwaukee Heat Vulnerability Index: Looks specifically at Milwaukee County's heat vulnerability using the same indicators as the Wisconsin Heat Vulnerability Index.
Links for more information
Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts News, "Communities 'Brace' for Weather Extremes"
WICCI News, "Climate toolkit: Program helps health officials plan for extreme weather events"
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI)
CDC's BRACE Homepage
BRACE Vision Statement:
To utilize scientifically-based evidence to prepare for and adapt to climate and extreme weather events in order to reduce or prevent negative health outcomes.
BRACE Mission Statement:
The Wisconsin BRACE Program will engage in collaborative efforts to strategically plan for, respond to, and adapt to climate-related impacts and extreme weather events to protect the health and well-being of Wisconsin's citizens and visitors.
BRACE Values Statement:
To reduce or prevent health impacts from climate-related and extreme weather events, the Wisconsin BRACE Program incorporates the following strategies: use of a science-based and focused approach, leveraging existing programs and infrastructures, developing capacity of our partners and their communities, and building effective and supportive collaborations.