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Bridging the Information Gap Between Health and the Environment in North Carolina

Kearney, Gregory D. DrPH, MPH; Shehee, Mina PhD; Lyerly, H. Kim MD, FACS

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice:
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e318280010e
Practice Brief Reports
Abstract

Objective: To better understand relationships between health and environmental hazards in North Carolina, a transdisciplinary group of participants from government and nongovernmental organizations (NFPs and universities) were appointed by the Research Triangle Environmental Health Collaborative to identify databases that when linked could lead toward improved environmental public health surveillance.

Design: The workgroup identified and compiled a comprehensive data resource directory containing information on 74 key health and environmental databases. Previous examples of data linkage projects in North Carolina using data sets were demonstrated.

Results: A single, high-quality directory of existing databases on health and the environment is now readily available. Data sets have independent values; when combined, these could prove increasingly important to evaluate health associations, particularly for researchers and policy makers.

Conclusion: A pilot study to further demonstrate the importance of using the Environmental Health Database Inventory as a reference for data linkage projects is highly warranted.

In Brief

This report describes a transdisciplinary group of participants from government and nongovernmental organizations to identify databases that when linked could lead toward improved environmental public health surveillance. A data resource directory containing information on 74 key health and environmental databases was identified and compiled to better understand relationships between health and environmental hazards in North Carolina.

Author Information

Department of Public Health, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville (Dr Kearney); Occupational & Environmental Epidemiology Branch, Division of Public Health, NC Department of Health and Human Services, Raleigh (Dr Shehee); and School of Medicine, Duke University, Durham (Dr Lyerly), North Carolina.

Correspondence: Greg D. Kearney, DrPH, MPH, Department of Public Health, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, 600 Moye Blvd, MS 600 Greenville, NC 27834 (kearneyg@ecu.edu).

The authors thank the members of the Shared Data Resources Workgroup for their participation in this project. The authors also thank Martin Armes of the Research Triangle Collaborative for his support and review of the manuscript.

The authors claim no competing interest with this project. This project was voluntary and no funding was provided.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.