National Public Health: Tracking Health and Environment       

National Public Health: Tracking Health and Environment

Prepare: In 2000, Environmental Health Tracking Project Team at Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management, made the recommendation that a health tracking system was necessary to ensure that the recent mapping of the genome might be fully realized. Access to basic information was necessary because it was important to track who was more at risk from exposure to environmental hazards and to define the health gap. The missing information keeps communities and public health officials from assessing and reducing these health risks and issues. The committee outlined that cost of chronic disease was $325 billion in annual healthcare and lost productivity and while the U.S. has one of the world’s best healthcare systems, there was still no system in place to track the link between health and environment.

In 2001, Congress mandated that funds be allocated to establish the CDC’s National Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) Program, which is led by the National Center for Environmental Health’s (NCEH) Environmental Health Tracking Branch (EHTB).tracking system. By 2015, the CDC had its own tracking page (http://ephtracking.cdc.gov/showHome.action (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.), with 25 states had tracking systems in place, (http://ephtracking.cdc.gov/showStateTracking.action (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.).

Click on the following webpage (http://www.cdc.gov/about/history/tengpha.htm (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.) of the CDC that outlines the greatest public health achievements in the 20th century. Click on one of the health issues on the page (it can be related to your final project) and read about its history and present day challenges, if any. Then click on  http://ephtracking.cdc.gov/showStateTracking.action (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. and choose two particular states (feel free to use your state, if it has a tracking page) and a specific disease or health issue that the state is tracking (Again, it can be related to your final project). Develop or look for data, graphs, and maps on your choice and decipher what the data presents. Feel free to play around with the tracking systems of both states.

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Reflect: As you looking at the websites considering the following questions:

  • What do you learn about the history of the disease you chose?
  • Would you argue that this is why these states choose to track this particular data?
  • How far back does this state track the data?
  • What do you learn from the data?
  • How does the data from the two states compare?
  • Can you explain the difference and why it exists?
  • What do you notice about gender, race, and class?

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Write: As you consider the history and the greatest achievements in public health as well as current health issues on the tracking systems, what is the connection between the past and present when it comes to the link between health and the environment? How is gender, race, and/or class connected to health and the environment?

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