Drought and Public Health: A Roadmap for Advancing Engagement and Preparedness
Drought is one of the costliest and deadliest climate-related disasters in the United States, necessitating public health engagement at a national level. Although drought is not typically thought of as a health hazard, the pathways to human health outcomes are prevalent and numerous. To better understand these pathways, and actions that could be taken to reduce health impacts associated with drought, NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) supported the first comprehensive assessment of drought and health.
One national summit and five regional workshops on the topic of drought and health were held between 2019–2022 to meet these objectives. To supplement the information shared during the regional workshops, and in response to delays in the regional in-person workshops caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, one-on-one interviews were also conducted with state health departments across the United States.
This report, Drought and Public Health: A Roadmap for Advancing Engagement and Preparedness, represents the culmination of knowledge gathering from those events and interviews, and provides insights into the connection between drought events and human health impacts with specific examples, and an overview of the principles of public health and engagement. In addition, this report provides a list of key opportunities and recommended actions to advance drought and public health engagement and preparedness based upon extensive dialogue and feedback from academic and practitioner communities across drought and public health disciplines.
This report is intended to inform and direct future efforts and investments in drought and public health by Federal, state, and local agencies, with the goal of mitigating the public health impacts of drought events.