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 healthcare 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, and development of tools and trainings.
Learn More About Informatics
NEHA’s Informatics Resources serve to support environmental health informatics programs and data-use activities. These resources showcase data collection, sharing, and use stories and serve to support the implementation of these activities within your own program. Resources include online education, a repository of free and low-cost tools, case studies, and more.
Build foundational knowledge on open data for your environmental health agency through this new webinar series. If you’ve ever wondered what open data are or how to get more results from the information your agency collects, this webinar series is for you. This 4-part webinar series will feature top open data experts and dive into open data, data management, and data standards for environmental health.
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 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.
Communications in Environmental Health and Tracking (CHAT) Webinar Series: October 2018–February 2019
In partnership with CDC’s NCEH, NEHA hosted the Communication in Environmental Health and Tracking (CHAT) Webinar Series. This 5-part webinar series explored different communication and outreach strategies to facilitate a tracking program's engagement with traditional and nontraditional partners, impact policy, and work effectively across divisions.
Webinar 1: Communication Tools and Strategies for Tracking Programs to Engage With Local Health Departments: Wisconsin’s Use of Mini-Grant Program
Webinar 2: Communication Tools and Strategies for Tracking Programs for Working Across Divisions: Vermont's Testing for Lead in School Drinking Water Pilot Project
Webinar 3: Communication Tools and Strategies for Tracking Programs to Engage With Nontraditional Partners: Utah Tracking and its Innovative Partnerships
Webinar 4: Using Environmental Health Tracking Tools and Data to Support Regulatory Change: New York City Tracking and California Tracking
NEHA partnered with CDC Tracking on the GREAT Programs webinar and resources focused on utilizing student interns in program activities. The webinar highlighted two CDC grantee tracking internship programs at the New York State Department of Health and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. The speakers discussed their experiences developing and supervising internship programs, one of which has developed into a funded program with promotional materials. Visit the Building Programs Through Student Internships page, to access the Student Internship Sample Workplan and the Student Internship FAQ.