Cambridge Climate Change Public Health Preparedness and Resiliency Plan

Dates: 2016-2017

State: Massachusetts

Client(s): City of Cambridge, MA

Service: Health Care & Public Health Planning

Technical Expertise: Emergency Preparedness and Response, Environmental Health, Healthy Communities


The City of Cambridge is acting to ensure it is prepared and resilient to climate change. Towards that end, the city recently completed a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment which will serve as the technical foundation for the City's Climate Change Preparedness & Resilience Plan. These documents are intended to better understand how the city is vulnerable and where it can build resiliency in terms of impacts due to climate change on people, infrastructure, public health, and the economy as it prepares appropriate responses.

To further this work, JSI is aiding to assess vulnerabilities and strengthen resiliency within the public health infrastructure and response systems. Services include:

  • Background research on risk mitigation strategies;
  • Development of potential Cambridge-specific scenarios;
  • Design and facilitation of a stakeholder workshop to identify vulnerabilities, existing assets, and prioritize actions;
  • Reporting on stakeholder recommendations to the City.
JSI services are offered to the consultant team led by Kleinfelder, a Cambridge based architecture, engineering, and sustainability services firm. Additional guidance is being obtained from the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) composed of community stakeholders convened for this process and from the Expert Advisory Panel (EAP) that provides feedback on the assessment's technical approach and assumptions.

Key stakeholders engaged by JSI include representatives from health/public health institutions, medical suppliers, emergency responders from police and fire departments, utility representatives (to assist with considering loss of functions), and those who serve vulnerable populations and/or are themselves advocates from those populations. While community resident engagement is its own separate process that will fall outside of this scope, by including resident leaders in these more intensive public health planning sessions alongside professionals, they can provide important insights on the needs and assets of vulnerable populations under the various scenarios that are discussed.