The Climate, Ecosystems & Human Health Work Group, formerly known as the Alaska Interagency Ecosystem Health Work Group, has been given new life. Co-chaired by the Alaska Dep't of Health and Social Services - Division of Public Health, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium - Center for Climate and Health, this interagency led group focuses on addressing ecosystem impacts to human health resulting from a changing climate.

Other participants include:

  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
  • Alaska Pacific University (APU)
  • UAA's Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies
  • Alaska SeaLife Center
  • US Arctic Research Commission
  • US Geological Survey (USGS)
  • US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS)
  • Alaska Dep't of Environmental Conservation (ADEC)
  • Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
  • UAF's Alaska Center for Climate Assessment & Policy (ACCAP) 

The primary purpose of this group is to identify and describe climate impacts that are priorities for public health. By engaging the broad, interdisciplinary experience of the various partner agencies, this work group will help improve the quality of information, services and technical assistance available to Alaskans, and elevate awareness about climate - health connections. The CEHH WG will also communicate key priorities and needs to the Alaska Climate Change Executive Roundtable and the Governor's Sub-Cabinet on Climate Change.

The Issue:

Climate Change is influencing the health of Alaskans in a variety of ways.  Changes in the  environment and ecology are resulting in new or increased threats to food supply and safety, water quality or quantity, as well as changes in the incidence of certain human and animal conditions. Rural and indigenous communities are faced with growing concerns over economic, health, and cultural impacts due to climate change-related declines in the availability of plant and animals.

Additionally, the physical security of coastal communities and the safety of residents will be increasingly threatened.  Issues such as these in the most imminently threatened communities are the focus of the Immediate Action Work Group (IAWG).  For further information on the IAWG, please see:


Meeting Information: will be posted here


Ice Seals and Walrus information::

  • NOAA - Northern Pinniped Unusual Mortatlity Event: Update 2014 - February 2014
  • An Unusual Mortality Event (UME) was declared on 20DEC11. Investigations continue into what is causing the illness and deaths of seals in Alaska's Arctic and Bering Strait regions. Since mid-Summer 2011, ice seals--primarily ringed seals--have been showing up with health abnormalities leading to significant mortality.  Major findings including marked skin lesions with ulceration, bleeding and sloughing; hair loss; lethargy and respiratory distress. More than half of the affected animals were either dead when found, or died shortly thereafter. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also reports similar symptoms in Pacific walruses. The designation of an Unusual Mortality Event (UME) has been declared for both ringed seals, which are under the jurisdiction of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and walrus, which are under the jurisdiction of the US Fish and Wildlife Service(USFWS).

Previous meetings:




  • May 26, 2011 - Work Group Meeting in Anchorage. Topic: Climate Change, Contaminants, & Possible Health Implications


Links for additional information: