The continued rise of average global temperatures is heightening health disparities across the nation. Inconsistencies in urban development and planning hinder health equity efforts, as areas lacking funds for green spaces experience more severe impacts of climate change. Consequently, health conditions exacerbated by elevated temperatures and poor air quality are of increasing concern among government agencies and health equity initiatives.

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Climate Change Impeding Health Equity

Health equity is the aim for all individuals to have sufficient care regardless of unique social, environmental, and geographic impacts on health care. A variety of other factors play a role in health equity, including education, employment status, and food security. As stated by the CDC, health equity is achieved when “every person has the opportunity to attain ‘his or her full health potential.’” Realizing this goal of adequate health care for all requires more fully examining climate’s effects on health.

According to a report conducted by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), the nine years from 2013–2021 all classify among the ten warmest years on record. Furthermore, the report notes that 2021 marked the 45th consecutive year with temperatures globally reaching above the 20th century average global temperature. Heat mapping shows that urban environments with limited green spaces are warming, further aggravating existing health concerns. Without additional funding for these green areas, which can help counteract the harmful effects of carbon dioxide, individuals living in lower income areas may be denied the benefits of clean air quality and regulated temperatures.

Additional climate-related barriers to realizing health equity include access to natural disaster protection along with the ability to relocate, avoiding natural disaster impacts, which is largely dependent on job flexibility and financial status. Courtney Wright, a program manager in health policy and operations at LMI, believes heat related deaths and forest fires displacing hundreds from their homes are some of the largest concerns related to climate change and its effects on health equity.

Efforts to Reduce Health Disparities and Carbon Dioxide Emissions

To address disparities in healthcare, LMI works with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), striving to eradicate discriminatory language in policies and prescription drug pricing as well as guiding insurers through health insurance plan modifications. LMI also supports customers with climate mitigation strategies aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions. “Providing data analysis and reports on greenhouse gas emissions and ways to manage supply chains in order to decrease the amount of emissions, I think, is one thing that we’re doing that has incredible value,” explains Wright. Madeline Leonard, a health policy consultant at LMI, adds that LMI’s Health Equity Collaborative, bringing together experts across health equity fields, is another effort taken to address extensive issues in the health equity space.

“I think it comes down to our people and the relationships that we have with our customers,” says Wright. She explains that LMI’s expertise in policy, risk management, and data, along with our personnel and past performance, such as our work with the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), differentiates LMI from competitors in the health equity and climate space.

LMI’s innovative tools and recognized work in the federal domain have enabled us to tackle these climate challenges with the help of distinctive technologies such as the Forge™ and ClimateIQ™. The Forge™ allows us to rapidly and efficiently prototype solutions to climate issues while the ClimateIQ™ decision framework equips customers with decision support and climate risk mitigation strategies. ClimateIQ™ helps customers set and track greenhouse gas output targets and other sustainability requirements in addition to generating predictive assessments to aid decision-making.

LMI works closely with stakeholders operationally, supporting federal policy, and collaboratively, by working with academic partners to improve research. “Having the resources, the people, and the tools to bring those stakeholders together in conversation so that they’re not being siloed is one of our really big advantages,” states Leonard.

Future Health Equity Initiatives

Our experts suggest future efforts in health equity should be focused toward addressing climate’s impacts on social determinants, as well as urban and environmental planning strategies. In addition, climate change mitigation techniques must resume. For example, specific investments in reducing the carbon dioxide output of transportation will be key to reducing global warming. LMI will continue to assist federal customers in these areas and can protect those at risk of climate health impacts by developing action and emergency response plans for our customers to implement.

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Energy & Climate Analytics

Using energy and climate resilience analytics, LMI can enhance the ClimateIQ™ of all federal decision-makers to manage and reduce mission disruptions from climate and extreme weather events, simultaneously increasing energy resilience and reducing dependence on external energy supplies that are vulnerable to disruptions.

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Forge™ Technology Studio

Leveraging agile methods and human-centered design, the Forge™ empowers us to deliver technology solutions rapidly. 

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