July/August 2020 JEH: Direct From CDC/Environmental Health Services
July/August 2020 Journal of Environmental Health (Volume 83, Number 1)
Uncovering Environmental Health Needs and Opportunities
Maggie K. Byrne, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
S. Kayleigh Hall, MPH, REHS, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Natasha DeJarnett, MPH, PhD, National Environmental Health Association
Reem Tariq, MSEH, National Environmental Health Association
Madelyn Gustafson, National Environmental Health Association
Health departments represent the frontline of public health but how much do we really know about the professionals working there? Profiles of state and local health departments provide helpful information about health department services and programs. Detailed information about the environmental health profession, however, is beyond the scope of those assessments.
To better understand environmental health professionals and the programs they lead, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health, the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), and Baylor University partnered to conduct a first of its kind assessment of this critical group within governmental health departments. The initiative became known as Understanding the Needs, Challenges, Opportunities, Vision, and Emerging Roles in Environmental Health (UNCOVER EH). Overall, the final results included responses from 1,700 environmental health professionals from governmental public health programs at state, tribal, local, and territorial levels.
This month’s column provides key takeaways from the UNCOVER EH initiative and recommendations to strengthen environmental health programs and address challenges facing the profession.