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Expanding Climate Change and Health Data Infrastructure to Advance Health Interventions: Linking Health and Environmental Data to Improve Patient and Community Health

Expanding Climate Change and Health Data Infrastructure to Advance Health Interventions: Linking Health and Environmental Data to Improve Patient and Community Health
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Start Date
  • 03/01/23
  • Linking Clinical and Other Data for Research
  • Use of Publicly-Funded Data Systems for Research


STATUS: Active Project


Climate change is resulting in increasingly profound changes to the global environment with direct and indirect consequences for human health and well-being. Closely intertwined with these threats are the more tangible and proximal risks of natural disasters. For example, increased droughts, drier soils, and record temperatures are all factors that have created more severe, frequent, and intense wildfire seasons, resulting in adverse acute and long-term health outcomes. Such increasingly frequent and severe climate-related health events and emergencies will also have disproportionate impacts on vulnerable communities.

Understanding and addressing the environmental risks to health from climate change and natural disasters – and mitigating associated disparities – requires ensuring the availability and suitability of climate change and health data for research, analysis, and policymaking. However, the relevant data sources are often developed for different purposes; reside in disparate locations; and are subject to differing rules for access and use. The research community therefore expends substantial resources in parallel efforts across agencies and institutions to assemble data using non-standardized approaches. This fragmented approach limits the interoperability of the data, increases barriers to access, and presents challenges in interpreting study findings.

In response to these challenges, this project will build infrastructure for a climate change and health data ecosystem through curation, creation, and evaluation of data sources, methods, tools, and other resources. The development of this unified Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable, and Computable (FAIR+) and sustainable data ecosystem will support patient-centered outcomes research to assess the health effects associated with climate-related events; create and evaluate evidence-based interventions to protect communities; and anticipate and respond to potential adverse health outcomes resulting from these events.


This project will build and strengthen data infrastructure for patient-centered outcomes research on climate change and health research by:

  • Building and curating a web-based catalog of data sources, tools, methods, and other educational resources to facilitate the linking of environmental and climate data
  • Creating additional accessible, standardized, linked datasets
  • Developing a toolkit and resources to support future linkages of patient-level data to climate data
  • Implementing and assessing the data, methods, and resources developed via a wildfire-focused use case

The resulting data and analytical resources will improve (1) the efficiency with which PCOR studies can be designed and conducted, given the availability of accessible, standardized, and linked data and (2) the robustness of the evidence that is generated, by leveraging a more comprehensive set of data and analytic resources.