What is Environmental Public Health Tracking?
Environmental public health tracking is the ongoing collection, integration, analysis, and interpretation of data about environmental hazards, exposure to environmental hazards, and health effects potentially related to exposure to environmental hazards. The goal of environmental public health tracking is to protect communities by providing information to federal, state, and local agencies. These agencies, in turn, will use this information to plan, apply, and evaluate public health actions to prevent and control environmentally related diseases.
The NH Environmental Public Health Tracking Program (EPHT) resides within the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services, Department of Health and Human Services and is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to establish Environmental Public Health Tracking systems at the national, state, and local levels. To learn more about tracking nationally, visit the CDC National Tracking Portal.
Are other states participating in the Tracking Network?
New Hampshire is one of 26 states and one city funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop a state and national tracking network of environment and health data for the public, policy makers, researchers, and agencies.
Why is a Tracking Network needed?
Currently, no other system exists at the state or national level to track many of the exposures and health effects that may be related to environmental hazards. CDC's goal is to develop a tracking system that integrates data about environmental hazards and exposures with data about diseases that may have an environmental link.
The Tracking Network will help federal, state and local agencies and other researchers to:
1. Advance research on possible links between environmental hazards and disease;
2. Develop, implement and evaluate regulatory and public health actions to prevent or control environment-related diseases;
3. Make use of modern public health tracking tools;
4. Monitor and distribute information about environmental hazards and disease trends; and
5. Reduce the burden of disease and cost of health care services.
How will government use the Tracking Network?
The Tracking Network will be used by federal, state and local regulators/officials to help reduce the burden of adverse environment-related health effects in communities. Officials will use information obtained from the Tracking Network to plan, apply and evaluate public health actions to prevent and control environmentally related diseases. The network will be available at the state and national level. In addition, the CDC is working with other government agencies and partners to use existing information systems to identify information gaps.
Will personal medical information be protected?
Personally identifiable information will not be made public on the Tracking Network. Federal laws, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act known as HIPAA, will continue to protect privacy and public health agencies will continue to be protectors of data. Agreements between agencies protect information and how it is used. Information will be stored in a secure environment and access to the data will be restricted.
Will more data be added to the system?
Yes. Data are added as they become available.
New Hampshire Environmental Public
Health Tracking Program
NH Department of Health and Human Services,
Division of Public Health Services
29 Hazen Drive | Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-4988 | (800) 852-3345 ext.4988