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Implementing the Environmental Public Health Tracking Network: Accomplishments, Challenges, and Directions

Charleston, Alex E. MPH; Wall, Patrick BS; Kassinger, Craig BS; Edwards, Peter O. MPA

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice:
doi: 10.1097/01.PHH.0000338362.43833.3b
Technology to Drive Information
Abstract

An effective environmental public health surveillance system utilizes health hazard, exposure, and health outcome data to provide public health professionals a picture of the relationship between the environment and health. The environmental monitoring and the health and hazard exposure surveillance systems that currently exist are generally not compatible with one another. There exists a lack of common standards in how data are collected, including where data are collected, the frequency of collection, the characteristics collected, and data formats. Among other uses, the Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) Network will address weaknesses and gaps associated with utilizing and linking these types of data. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's EPHT Program has engaged several interdisciplinary partners to help in developing requirements and to identify functionalities to be included in the network. In working toward implementation, EPHT specialists and the partners have begun to develop several major components and address several challenges.

In Brief

This study describes a lack of common standards in how data are collected, including where data are collected, the frequency of collection, the characteristics collected, and data formats.

Author Information

Alex E. Charleston, MPH, is a public health analyst at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the National Center for Environmental Health, Atlanta, Georgia.

Patrick Wall, BS, is a Computer Scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Center for Environmental Health, Atlanta, Georgia.

Craig Kassinger, BS, is a Computer Scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Center for Environmental Health, Atlanta, Georgia.

Peter O. Edwards, MPA, is a Lead Public Health Advisor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Center for Environmental Health, Atlanta, Georgia.

Corresponding Author: Alex E. Charleston, MPH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Environmental Health, Atlanta, GA 30341 (acharleston@cdc.gov).

Disclaimer: The findings and conclusions in the report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The authors thank Dr Judith R. Qualters for her helpful comments and invaluable editing assistance.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.