November 2020: Direct From CDC/Environmental Health Services
November 2020 Journal of Environmental Health (Volume 83, Number 4)
Editor's Note: NEHA strives to provide up-to-date and relevant information on environmental health and to build partnerships in the profession. In pursuit of these goals, we feature a column on environmental health services from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in every issue of the Journal.
In these columns, authors from CDC's Water, Food, and Environmental Health Services Branch, as well as guest authors, will share insights and information about environmental health programs, trends, issues, and resources. The conclusions of these columns are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of CDC.
Advancing Environmental Health Practice Through Environmental Health Informatics Activities
Erik W. Coleman, MPH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Environmental Health Science and Practice
Aja-Fatou Jagne, MPH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Environmental Health Science and Practice
Environmental health programs collect data (e.g., inspection results) that might not be routinely analyzed for trends or used to inform timely public health decision-making. State, tribal, local, and territorial health departments and environmental health programs, however, can lack resources, time, or the experience to collect, analyze, and visualize EH data. Leveraging the use of informatics by standardizing data collection, sharing, and utilization can support innovative approaches to improving EH practice.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Water, Food, and Environmental Health Services Branch supports the work of EH informatics through collaborative activities that
- promote timely public data and information sharing to detect and address existing or potential exposures to EH hazards,
- support best practices for the innovative use of existing data and electronic information to design interventions to protect public health, and
- identify environmental and health outcome indicators to assess the need for and impact of EH services.
This month’s column explores designing an open data standard to improve health and safety in aquatic facilities, as well as leveraging informatics to improve environmental health practice and innovation.