Environmental Public Health Tracking Virtual Conference The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/Environmental Health Tracking Branch (Tracking Branch) to host a virtual conference to 1) raise awareness and knowledge about the environment’s role in asthma and other chronic diseases and 2) highlight collaboration opportunities between state leaders, decision makers and practitioners working in environmental health and chronic disease prevention.
- NEHA Informatics Forum 2016 - One Pager
- Opening the Door to Healthier Communities Through Data
- Helping EH Departments Adopt Informatics
- Crowdsourcing Ideas: The Innovating for Environmental Health App Challenge
- Creating Space for New Ideas
- The Summer of Innovation in Environmental Health
- CDC’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Network
- CDC's Public Health Informatics Fellowship Program
- Public Health Informatics Institute Informatics (PHII) Toolkit
- PHII Digital Bridge is working to create bi-directional communication between public health and healthcare
- Training and resources from the Informatics Academy
- Frameworks Institute
Environmental and public health informatics is an emerging field that focuses on standardized data collection, sharing, and use. Data is transformed into information that is then used to better inform and develop programs. By moving towards the wider adoption and use of informatics systems, we can expect data-informed decision making that will improve population health.
Local, state, and federal agencies collect environmental health data that may not always be routinely analyzed or used to inform public health initiatives, especially at smaller local-level agencies. Environmental health professionals collect data through inspections, complaint investigations, and community interactions. The incorporation of this data with other public health data has the potential to inform programs in ways that have not yet existed. Imagine a physician taking a patient’s home environment into account when making a diagnosis. Or, imagine using an app to easily assess the safety of an aquatic facility, restaurant, or body art studio.
Environmental health and public health programs, as well as health care facilities, have the potential to make an even greater impact on community health through increased data collection and sharing. Opportunities include:
- increased advocacy for resources
- establishment of data standards
- easier sharing of data internally and across agencies
- development of tools and trainings
Learn more about Informatics:
Environmental Public Health Tracking
Environmental and public health tracking and informatics is an essential piece of local, state, tribal and federal agencies as it relates to the status of the public and environmental health in this country. Data is the holy grail of information for local health departments and federal agencies alike for determining what projects to take on next and how to better the community. Some would even suggest that data has been responsible for diverting illness and potentially saving lives. Well, environmental health does save lives, money and protect the future, right? So why wouldn't data?
NEHA and the CDC have partnered to help engage local health departments to start sharing data to better inform the community while contributing to a nation-wide network. Environmental Health tracking is about engagement and access and NEHA is constantly working with EH professionals to use data effectively, and share data efficiently.
New molecular and bioinformatic approaches have advanced understanding of how molecular pathways are affected by exposure and the molecular networks involved in disease. However, these advances are often not yet deemed sufficient to establish causality for public health risk assessments; regulators still rely primarily on traditional apical endpoints, such as those endpoints observed in animal studies.
March 15 and 16, 2017: Annual Conference, hosted by the Michigan Environmental Health Association, Lansing, MI.
Tracking, Technology, Data and Climate Change
Health tracking, technology and data play a huge role in curbing the effects of climate change. By providing resources to local health departments on the current state of climate change in any given region, environmental health professionals can move forward with the best techniques to continue fighting climate change. NEHA offers a number of courses on how to better use technology to help the environmental health profession.
Climate Change and Environmental/Public Health
Climate change impacts health and is a significant threat. According to the Lancet Commission, “climate change could be the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.” The health effects from climate change will affect most populations especially those most vulnerable: children, elderly, those with chronic health issues, and those living in poverty.
Tracking Virtual Conference
NEHA is a partner with the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/Environmental Health Tracking Branch (Tracking Branch) to promote the Environmental Public Health Tracking Network to engage local health departments to use and contribute open data. Additionally, NEHA is a co-sponsor for the 2017 Environmental Public Health Tracking Virtual Conference focused on increasing awareness and knowledge about the environment’s role in chronic diseases. The conference took place on April 5-6, 2017. The full virtual conference can be accessed by registering here.
Conference content focused on the environmental effects on chronic conditions such as asthma, cancer, respiratory disease, as well as other relevant topics such as physical activity environment in children, health impact assessments, utilizing the CHANGE Tool, utilizing the MAPPS Tool, creating partnerships between health and local planning agencies, health equity, health policy and others.
Environmental Public Health Tracking Network
Local health departments have a number of resources available to gain an understanding of the community in which it serves, however, sometimes the data and the numbers just aren’t available. When it comes time to decide ways to ensure a community is thriving and healthy, it is important to find those numbers and data so the department can address the most pressing issues first.
The partnership between NEHA and the CDC is creating a solution that many local health departments face when it comes to lacking data. The Environmental Public Health Tracking network is a collection of data from environmental hazards to human health effects surveillance. With 26 state and local health departments already providing their data to the over-arching network, it is already seeing an increase in use.
NEHA is already leading the way when it comes to EH tracking, with two training courses at our members’ disposal as well as numerous articles published in the Journal of Environmental Health every year, we are working toward an open data vision that allows everyone to help their community flourish.
The National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network is the best Internet resource connecting environmental and health information. This resource can give the National Environmental Health Association the power to help save lives and better protect the people we serve. Key principles behind the Tracking Network are:
- Open Data. The Tracking Network is unique because it brings together data that would usually be collected and kept by many separate agencies and then standardizes it. This process allows us to see how our health and the environment are related.
- Tools for Analysis. The Tracking Network also offers tools to help make sense of these data —such as maps that show where environmental and health problems are happening—and then makes that valuable information available to people who need it, from scientists to decision-makers.
- Guide Decision Makers. The Tracking Network is used by states, cities, universities, and professional organizations to help make critical decisions about where to target environmental public health resources that will protect people and save lives.
Tracking 101 Online Course
NEHA's e-Learning course gives an overview of the major components of Environmental Public Health Tracking. Topics include the National Tracking Network and Program, surveillance and epidemiology, types of tracking data, GIS policies and communication. The course counts as continuing education from NEHA and CDC. Users must register in order to access this online course.
CDC is sponsoring the first ever National Environmental Public Health Tracking Program Week. During the second full week in July, CDC, state health departments, and other national organizations are coming to highlight environmental health issues that are important to improving the health of our nation and recognize the work of the Tracking Program.
Daily topics relate to this year’s theme, We Track That: