Managing the Public Health Impacts of Climate Change in Cambridge

The City of Cambridge faces daunting climate change-related risks. The health impacts of local climate changes are likely to be devastating if no action is taken to prepare. A team led by Professor Lawrence Susskind is investigating new ways of helping the city formulate public health risk management plans. Research Assistants, Hannah Susan Payne and Genea Foster have created a new role play simulation that the Science Impact Collaborative team will use to engage numerous stakeholder groups. The team expects to use a new tool called Justify — created by Professor Henry Lieberman, Mr. Christopher Frye and research staff at the MIT Media Lab and CSAIL— to engage business leaders, university administrators, religious leaders, environmental activists and other organizational players in Cambridge in a careful review of various strategies for dealing with rising temperatures and heat island effects. If the role play simulation using Justify proves effective, the SIC team will work with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to engage still other cities and towns in preparing climate health impact assessments and health risk management plans.