2019 GLISA Small Grant: Expanding Capacity to Utilize Public Health Law to Advance Climate Adaptation in the Great Lakes Region

Funded by 2019 GLISA Small Grants Competition

Project Summary

As a result of this collaboration between GLISA, the Network for Public Health Law, and public health associations and departments in the region, public health practitioners will enhance their capacity to utilize public health law to address climate change in the Great Lakes Region. The project will consist of online webinars and a small number of in-depth, in-person trainings. The trainers will share historical and projected climate information relevant to the region and local area and will map the pathways through which these changes are likely to produce adverse health impacts (for example, extreme heat may contribute to heatstroke or even death, wildfires and air pollution may exacerbate respiratory illnesses). Trainers and participants will then examine state and local health departments’ current legal authority to address the human health impacts of climate change. Additionally, trainers will describe emerging opportunities to mitigate and adapt to climate change through law and policy. This review of existing legal authority, relevant legal strategies, and case studies from around the country will increase public health leaders’ readiness to serve as their communities’ “chief health strategist” in the face of climate change. Following, the Principal attorneys will offer limited legal technical assistance to public health leaders to further amplify their capacity to protect, promote, and improve health by enforcing and implementing current laws and working with partners to introduce innovative, evidence-based laws and policies.

Project Accomplishments

  • Climate information for the states of Michigan and Wisconsin
  • Co-facilitation of four workshops to train participants on linking climate impacts to health impacts
  • Legal assistance to public health leaders


GLISA Contribution

GLISA funded this 2019 small grant project and is partnering with the grantee to provide climate information related to health impacts. The climate information includes historical observation and future projections for the states of Michigan and Wisconsin, and the finding will help health practitioners know the regionally-relevant health-related impacts of climate change. GLISA will participate in webinars hosted by the Network for Public Health Law, and the goal of these training sessions will help stakeholders and members use law and policy to prepare and adapt to climate impacts.

Project Partners

  • Network for Public Health Law (grantee)
  • TSNE MissionWorks (fiscal sponsor of grantee)

GLISA Contact

Omar Gates, Climatologist, gateso@umich.edu