NEHA Issues Key Findings in COVID-19 Rapid Needs Assessment

NEHA News Release


Release Date: 
April 1, 2020

Environmental health professionals are the second largest part of the local public health workforce behind nursing. To support this essential workforce during these uncertain times, the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) distributed a rapid needs assessment to assess the environmental health activities and needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This convenience sample generated over 1,100 responses from local, state, federal, tribal, territorial, and other environmental health program personnel.

NEHA is pleased to release the findings of its COVID-19 environmental health workforce rapid needs assessment. “The environmental health workforce is being called upon to provide critical public health assessment and assurance functions during this pandemic,” said Dr. David Dyjack, NEHA executive director. “Our report details the urgency to provide the workforce tools and resources they can use to effectively protect and promote the health of their communities.”

Rapid Needs Assessment Summary

Environmental Health Professional Involvement in COVID-19

  • All environmental health sectors reported being actively involved in the response.
  • The highest reported sector was local (60%).
  • The lowest reported sector was U.S. territories (38%).

Source of Situational Awareness and Guidance

  • The primary source of COVID-19 information is the CDC website.
  • U.S. territory environmental health programs are the highest reported sector using the CDC website (91%).
  • The lowest reported sector using the CDC site is state environmental health departments (73%).

Technical Support

  • The highest need for technical support is guidance on cleaning and disinfection (57%).
  • The second highest need is proper use and limitation of personal protective equipment (45%).
  • There is also an immediate need for guidance materials on safe food handling (50%).


About the National Environmental Health Association

The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) is a professional society with more than 6,500 members in the public and private sectors as well as in universities and uniformed services. NEHA's mission, "To advance the environmental health professional for the purpose of providing a healthful environment for all" is fulfilled in the products and services offered by NEHA to advance the environmental health professional through credentialing, training, education, networking, professional development, and policy involvement opportunities. Learn more about NEHA at