NEHA/CDC: 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 local health departments already providing their data to the over-arching network, it is already seeing an increase in use.
In order to help engage more local health departments and educate the community about the benefits of EH tracking, NEHA has offered an Environmental Public Health Tracking Virtual Conference to anyone interested in learning more about the Tracking Network. Additionally, NEHA will host another virtual conference in 2017 (date is to be announced).
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.