Title | Building Community Resilience by Implementing a Climate Health Equity Program
FUSE Corps - Seattle, WA
King County Public Health - Seattle & King County (PHSKC) and its Environmental Health Services Division (EHS) are dedicated to building innovative and intersectional climate solutions that support community resilience and limit the climate-related health burdens on frontline communities. PHSKC will partner with a FUSE Executive Fellow for one year to establish a climate health equity program, focusing specifically on programs and projects relevant to EHS.
This fellowship project begins on October 25, 2021, and ends on October 23, 2022.The fellowship begins with a multi-day virtual orientation the week of October 25, 2021.The selected Executive Fellow will begin their first day of providing services to the host agency on November 1, 2021. PROJECT CONTEXT
Climate change is a major challenge with real and far-reaching consequences. It is a threat multiplier that intensifies natural hazards - flooding, wildfires, and extreme heat - putting people, economies, and the environment at risk. In King County, in just the past month, severe weather resulting from this climate change has left at least 25 residents dead. While every resident is vulnerable to these health impacts associated with climate change, climate change is not experienced equally. Low-income households and communities of color already bear a disproportionate burden of disease, such as higher rates of asthma, and have less access to resources and opportunities required for resiliency, such as living in housing that provides refuge from heat, wildfire smoke, flooding, and moisture-related mold, less access to healthy food and quality healthcare, and greater difficulty evacuating during an emergency. These frontline communities face the disproportioned impacts of climate change due to institutional racism and the legacy of historical injustices, which the Covid-19 pandemic has underscored and exacerbated.
King County is dedicated to building innovative and intersectional climate solutions that support community resilience and limit the climate burden on these frontline communities. The County's Strategic Climate Action Plan (SCAP), most recently updated in 2020, is a five-year plan for the County's climate actions, integrating climate change into all areas of County operations. The 2020 SCAP is focused on climate equity, integrating a groundbreaking Climate Equity Community Task Force to shape community-driven priorities around climate change and drive equitable climate solutions.
Further, Public Health - Seattle & King County (PHSKC) is committed to improving equity and building community resiliency, considering social justice as first and foremost in its climate policy and planning. The department's Blueprint for Addressing Climate Change and Health (Blueprint) offers a unique and necessary approach to incorporating health and equity into climate change planning across King County and provides a framework for organizing across the agency and its partners. The department has initiated climate change and health equity work over the last several years, however, the PHSKC's engagement in climate change has been very limited and not coordinated due to a lack of dedicated funding, lack of localized research and solutions, and a need for training and building staff capacity. Within PHSKC, the Environmental Health Services Division (EHS) focuses on many of the key areas highlighted in the Blueprint, where additional focus on climate impacts would be easily facilitated into existing work. However, dedicated funding and staff capacity have made this difficult due to the funding structure within the division, which is largely based on an inequitable fee-for-service model.
Recently, the King County Council has recognized this gap in designated resources and has requested that PHSKC develop a proposal that outlines the funding and staffing needs to initiate implementation of public health-related climate actions. With this context in mind, PHSKC's EHS will partner with FUSE Corps to host an Executive Fellow for one year to work along-side a team to successfully establish a climate health equity program for EHS. The Executive Fellow will specifically focus on programs and projects relevant to EHS that are laid out in the Blueprint, and assist in the development of an implementation framework and strategy for organizational capacity development. The Executive Fellow will determine the resources needed to coordinate and sustain activities, conduct staff training to increase knowledge of the connections of climate and health, and strengthen collaborations and partnerships with community groups and private institutions to ensure effective program delivery. This work can serve as a pilot to demonstrate how other programs and divisions within PHSKC can establish climate work. The end-product will enable the department to actualize its goal of reducing the public health risks associated with climate change, creating more resilient and equitable communities.PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES
The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables that follow will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship, after which a revised scope of work will be developed and agreed upon by the FUSE Fellow and the host agency .
Starting in November 2021, it is proposed that the FUSE Executive Fellow will begin their work with a listening tour of County stakeholders to understand the nuances of the County's climate strategy and the department's and EHS's role in addressing climate change and health equity impacts through implementation of the Blueprint. With guidance from senior leadership, the Executive Fellow will also engage with community-based organizations and non-profit partners, such as those involved in the Climate Equity Task Force and those already working with EHS programs on key environmental health issues impacted by climate change, to gain a critical perspective on the impacts experienced by frontline communities. This work will ensure that the implementation strategy best utilizes these organizations in program delivery. The Executive Fellow will gain a deep understanding of the work conducted to date, determining gaps and areas of opportunity. The Executive Fellow will also research comparative approaches to climate health equity action planning in peer Counties, gathering lessons learned and assessing the applicability of implementation strategies locally, particularly with respect to environmental health and climate equity.
With this foundation of knowledge and insights, the Executive Fellow will work with the PHSKC and EHS climate teams to propose a five-to-ten-year vision for implementing the EHS climate health equity program within the larger PHSKC climate program, that includes operational, technical, and fiscal considerations. The plan will outline short and long-term goals for implementation, including a cohesive strategy around the initiative's organizational development, priorities, workflows, timelines, metrics for tracking progress, and clear roles of stakeholders, including which division programs will build out climate-focused actions and how they will be managed. The Executive Fellow will focus on operationalizing the program-leading change management processes.
The Executive Fellow will spend a significant amount of time determining how to sustain the program fiscally and leverage public-private partnerships for implementation for key EHS priorities. These priorities will support the work of addressing the larger departmental goals for the Blueprint and serve as a pilot in establishing and sustaining cross departmental climate work. This will include exploring creative financing models outside of one-time grants, prioritizing budget requests to the council for the next fiscal year, and forming a solid business case for investment in the program. The Executive Fellow will also engage with community partners who work in the space to ensure this program supports and complements their efforts and engage with larger local business institutions to determine if corporate engagement can supplement the County's efforts. The Executive Fellow will work with the department and EHS climate team to implement the plan, pursuing early wins and tracking progress towards the short-term goals.
- Conduct a comprehensive review of the work conducted to date - Quickly come up to speed on County's climate strategy and the department's role in addressing climate change; analyze the SCAP, Blueprint, EHS priorities that pertain to the Blueprint, and the Resource Assessment (which is expected to be presented to Council by December); participate in meetings with all relevant stakeholders to better understand their perspectives, priorities, and concerns regarding implementing this program; research national best practices, assessing applicability locally
- Develop a comprehensive implementation framework - With significant input from key stakeholders and in collaboration with the PHSKC EHS team, propose a long-term vision for the EHS's climate health equity program's deployment within the larger departmental climate program; ensure programmatic work is driven based on the needs expressed by the community and on-the-ground science within the EHS division; evaluate and recommend clear, feasible guidelines for near and long-term resource needs within EHS, focusing on fiscal sustainability and public-private partnerships to facilitate implementation; establish new processes, training and guidance for employees for integrating climate health equity into their daily work, and clear lines of communication across teams; determine timelines for each recommendation's integration, identifying priority action items; establish roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders; map workflows for each recommendation's implementation
- Engage stakeholders and catalyze buy-in - Identify barriers to implementing any recommendations; solicit and incorporate input from stakeholders to build consensus around the plan and ensure a unified vision; make a strong business case for investment in the program, building messaging around how the program will ultimately save the County money, support racial equity goals, and reduce the impacts of climate on resident health, among other benefits - tailoring the business case to various audiences (County Council, the community, private companies, funders, etc.)
- Ensure initiative sustainability - Support immediate implementation of recommendations that can build enthusiasm and buy-in for the larger plan; identify priority projects that can be instituted quickly using existing resources or altering existing processes; track progress and report to key stakeholders, troubleshooting barriers to implementation; build staff capacity and work with departmental leadership to manage the program; develop the necessary internal and external systems and processes to ensure the program is fully implemented
- Executive Sponsor - Darrell A. Rodgers, Division Director - Environmental Health Services , Public Health - Seattle & King County
- Project Supervisor - Julie West, Project Program Manager - Environmental Health Services , Public Health - Seattle & King County
- Ryan Kellogg, Assistant Division Director - Environmental Health Services , Public Health - Seattle & King County
- Shirlee Tan, Lead Toxicologist - Environmental Health Services , Public Health - Seattle & King County
- Approximately 15 years of professional experience in a relevant field, particularly with a solid background in systems building, organizational development, strategic planning, developing and implementing systems-focused policy, and project management
- Passion for health equity and a strong commitment to advancing equity in systems
- Robust success in cultivating partnerships, relationship, and coalition building, and fostering collaborative environments
- Ability to understand data and evidence and use it to support a business case and make a persuasive argument to support recommendations
- Excellent stakeholder management and facilitation skills
- Cross-cultural agility, relating to a wide variety of diverse audiences with strong emotional intelligence and empathy
- Adeptness with effecting change management while navigating nuanced relationships, supporting change across multiple coalitions of stakeholder
- Familiarity with bureaucratic settings, prowess in managing delicate situations or stakeholders
- Creative problem solver with the ability to sustain progress within potentially ambiguous environments
- Superior critical thinking and analytical skills
- Ability to synthesize complex information into clear and concise recommendations
- A self-motivated and goal-oriented leader who can also be an independent worker
- Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with ease in public presentations
- Understands the need for solutions to support all people in a community regardless of race, religion, gender, immigration status, or ethnicity
FUSE Corps is an equal opportunity employer with a core value of incorporating diverse perspectives into our work at every level. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.