Leading a Call to Action: How Oregon Public Health Association brought partners together to declare climate change a public health emergency in Oregon

By Emily York, MPH and Jessica Nischik-Long, MPH

More than 500 Oregon Health Leaders Declare Climate Change A Public Health Emergency” – this was the headline of a story playing on the local public radio as Oregon’s legislative session got under way earlier this year. 

In the upcoming webinar, you’ll hear how the Oregon Public Health Association (OPHA) led a ‘Call to Action’ initiative to raise awareness about the health effects of climate change and how a state affiliate of APHA can help influence climate policy that matters for public health.  

The ‘Call to Action’ was modeled after the U.S. and California versions and was adapted to fit Oregon’s own policy environment. This was the first time OPHA had led a ‘Call to Action’ and it proved successful in bringing together partners around a common climate, health and equity policy agenda.

This short presentation will walk you through the nuts and bolts of how OPHA led the initiative with relatively low capacity and succeeded in bringing together over 40 health organizations to the table to communicate key climate, health and equity messages to the media and state lawmakers.  

We will share with you our simple blueprint, including outreach strategies, tools used, key partners, and timeline. By the end of this short presentation, you will be better equipped to lead a ‘Call to Action’ in your state. And chances are, if your legislators aren’t already grappling with statewide climate policy, they will be soon. 

So, get ready to ensure that the public health voice is heard loud and clear – we don’t have any more time to lose. 

The Oregon Public Health Association team and partners celebrate after the climate and health press conference held at Multnomah County Health Department in Portland, Oregon.


Emily York, MPH is the OPHA's Healthy Environments Section Chair and Jessica Nischik-Long, MPH is OPHA's Executive Director. OPHA is the Oregon state affiliate of the American Public Health Association (APHA). APHA is a partner of Climate for Health, a coalition of health leaders committed to caring for our climate to care for our health. Founded by ecoAmerica, Climate for Health offers tools, resources, and communications to demonstrate visible climate leadership, inspiring, and empowering health leaders to speak about, act and advocate for climate solutions. Learn more about our partnership and the resources available to you here and through OPHA here


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