Health Tracking

Informatics

Thank you for attending the IDEA EH Virtual Conference

Integrating Data to Empower Advancement (IDEA EH) Virtual Conference was designed to enhance the knowledge of environmental health professionals in data-use and provide an opportunity to learn about existing and new resources, innovative solutions, and successful programs in data-driven decision making. It is also an opportunity to bring professionals together in a unique virtual environment to exchange information and discover new solutions.

If you missed the conference, you can still register and view presentations until April 30.

Learn more and register 


GREAT Programs Webinar logoGREAT Programs Webinar - February 16

NEHA is partnering with CDC Tracking on the upcoming GREAT Programs webinar. The webinar will highlight two CDC grantee tracking internship programs at the New York State Department of Health and the Wisonsin Department of Health Services. The speakers will discuss their experiences developing and supervising internship programs, one of which has developed into a funded program with promotional materials. The webinar will take place February 16th from 2:00-3:00 pm EST and is pre-approved for one CE credit from NEHA. To register for the webinar, click here

 

 

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. 

Emerging Issues

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: 

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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. 

 
EH Topics: 

Advances in Causal Understanding

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.

Tracking, Technology, Data and Climate Change

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.

Additional Resources:

Climate and Health

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. 

Additional Resources:

Tracking Virtual Conference

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.

EH Topics: 

Tracking Network

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.

Tracking 101

EH Topics: 

We Track That Awareness Week

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:

Tracking and Air Quality

Asthma is a disease that can affect your lungs and make breathing difficult.  In the United States, about 25 million people live with asthma. That’s about one out of every 12 people.  Asthma affects people of all genders, races and ages.  For some people, symptoms only appear when they are exposed to something that irritates their breathing.  Other people have a kind of asthma that makes breathing difficult all of the time. We know that there is a connection between exposure to air pollution and asthma symptoms. For example, many adults and children with asthma are more likely to have symptoms when ozone and particle pollution are in the air. The National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network is helping us understand the connection between outdoor air quality and asthma. By tracking asthma-related hospital admissions and the number of people reporting they live with asthma, the Tracking Network is helping identify high-risk groups and shaping asthma prevention efforts. 

What We Are Learning from the Environmental Public Health Tracking Network

Understanding the burden of asthma involves collecting data about people diagnosed and living with asthma and also collecting data about people who experience asthma attacks.  These data can then be analyzed and shared with key stakeholders.

  • The Tracking Network includes data about people who have been told by a physician that they have asthma and the number of hospital stays for asthma.
  • This information can provide estimates about the people who are affected by asthma and where they may receive care for asthma related issues.  These estimates can be used to plan and evaluate asthma control efforts.  Many of these asthma control efforts are coordinated by CDC’s National Asthma Control Program.
  • Data in the Tracking Network show that the number of asthma hospital admissions increased from 2007 to 2009 for several states reporting into the system. Having this information can alert public health and medical professionals to look for additional asthma prevention education opportunities.

Other Communication Tools

Environmental Public Health Tracking Virtual Conference 2016

The 2016 Environmental Public Health Tracking Virtual Conference will include topics such as asthma, air quality, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, heart disease, health equity and the environment, and others. Free of charge for all attendees! This is a valuable opportunity to help advance and interact with environmental health professionals and chronic disease practitioners in a variety of sectors and industries.
 

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