By Eddy Ball
Seated beside Collman, left, Wilson underscored the need for community-based participatory research (CBPR). “We all know… that many of the situations are local and have to do with ways that certain communities are structured,” he said. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)
“What we want to do at this workshop is to work on creating a vision for future programs,” Collman told the participants. “This program builds on a lot of investments that we’ve made over the last decade.” (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)
According to Collman, the decision to involve NIEHS National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council members Hillary Carpenter, Ph.D., shown above, and Stefani Hines as participants was one more indication of the working group’s commitment to transparency. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)
Among the leaders in environmental public health attending the workshop was University of Washington Community-Campus Partnerships for Health Program Director Kristine Wong, a seasoned veteran of CBPR on the west coast. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)
Nancy Rothman, Ed.D., director of Community-based Practices at the Temple University School of Nursing, spoke on educational needs for nurses involved in environmental public health. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)
NIEHS Program Analyst Liam O’Fallon, shown during the meeting introduction, played an instrumental role in crafting the November 2007 RFI and analyzing the responses from a diverse mix of stakeholders. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)The NIEHS Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) working group held its first brainstorming workshop June 30 - July 1 in Rodbell Auditorium. Organized by the program staff in the NIEHS Division of Extramural Research and Training (DERT), the workshop brought together leaders representing diverse groups with a keen interest in environmental public health (EPH) from across the United States in an effort to chart a course for the Institute’s continued involvement in EPH over the decade to come.
The PEPH initiative arose from a congressional hearing held in September 2007, when NIEHS Acting Director Sam Wilson, M.D., testified about the Institute’s commitment to supporting environmental public health programs and community-based participatory research (CBPR). This testimony lead to NIEHS embarking on a series of activities designed to create this new PEPH program. In November 2007, the PEPH working group released a Request for Information (RFI). The RFI elicited some 120 responses about the Institute’s role in environmental public health from environmental health researchers, healthcare professionals, educators, policy makers and other members of the public with a vested interest in the effects of environmental exposures on health.
In his welcoming remarks, Wilson reinforced the message he delivered to Congress. “This meeting really is an instrumental opportunity for NIEHS and for the field of environmental health sciences,” he said, “to help the Institute frame its approach for moving forward over the next five to ten years. This area represents the research leading edge in real world health implications of environmental exposures — [as well as offering] a way to sharpen our focus on community-based environmental health challenges.”
Wilson spoke of the need to determine the “special niche” for NIEHS in the area of environmental public health and “to figure out how we will frame the research program as we go forward.”
DERT Susceptibility and Population Health Branch Chief Gwen Collman, Ph.D., filled in the details of the workshop’s goals. Collman described the Institute’s need for input from stakeholders about how to create something “unified, integrated and synergistic” to help meet future EPH challenges. She emphasized that the ideas DERT staff had already put forth were “straw men,” intended to spark open discussion and a free exchange of ideas. “Everything is a work in progress here,” she maintained. “We have no a priori ideas about what the workshop product is going to look like.”
The workshop was organized around three topics that were designed to start participants thinking broadly and end with more focused recommendations. Each session started with a panel discussion, followed by breakout groups (see text box) and reports back to the full assembly.
As the meeting came to a close on July 1, Collman took a few minutes to reflect on the workshop process and to outline the task ahead for the PEPH working group. According to her, over the next several weeks the group will consider the responses to the RFI, now posted online, along with workshop recommendations to prepare the 10-year plan for the new Partnerships for Environmental Public Health program.
Collman said that she found the workshop process to be very productive. As she hoped, she felt that by the end of the workshop the PEPH team was much closer to the goal of developing a comprehensive ten-year plan. She also thanked the PEPH team for their hard work on this initiative and the workshop planners for developing a strong participatory framework to facilitate exchange of ideas and insights among workshop participants.
In her final remarks, Collman talked about her first fifteen years working in environmental public health and searching for the most effective role for NIEHS. She noted that there have been times when the institute’s role and commitment to this area has come into question and said, “In ten years I don’t want it to be a question any more.”
Since his appointment in 1991 as the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP), Dr. Kenneth Olden has worked steadfastly to develop the field of environmental health. As a result of his efforts during an almost 14-year tenure, the field of environmental health has matured and expanded to become one of the most comprehensive and humanly relevant disciplines in science. ........ It is hoped that the personal thoughts and opinions expressed in these essays will go beyond recollections to spur deliberations on the future of environmental health.
Mapping the future of environmental health and nursing: strategies for integrating national competencies into nursing practice.
(1) get environmental health listed as a requirement or competency in undergraduate nursing education;
(2) improve working relationships with interdepartmental persons-a team approach;
(3) strategically place students in essential organizations such as NIOSH, ATSDR, or CDC;
(4) educate nurse educators; and
(5) create environmental health awards in nursing. The 38 original ideas were also reorganized into a five-tiered conceptual model.
The concepts of this model include:
(1) developing partnerships;
(2) strengthening publications;
(3) enhancing continuing education;
(4) updating nursing practice; and
(5) strengthening schools of nursing. The model serves as a road map for action in building environmental health capacity within mainstream nursing.
National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH)
Positioning NCEH/ATSDR for the Future of Environmental Health
NCEH/ATSDR also need to be able to answer the questions posed by the Pew Commission such as:
•Are environmental exposures related to clusters of childhood cancer and autism?
•What are the impacts of pesticide exposures on children’s health?
•What proportion of birth defects are related to environmental factors?
•Are adult-onset diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease related to cumulative environmental exposures?
•Are learning disabilities related to environmental exposures?
•How does particulate air pollution increase the risk of death for the elderly?
•Are endocrine-disrupting pollutants in the environment related to the increasing incidence of breast and prostate cancers?
These questions and issues such as health effects that may result from chronic, low-level exposures to a given toxicant or from mixtures of toxicants need to be addressed both for specific communities, and for the population of the United States in general.
To respond to increasing environmental health concerns by the public NCEH/ATSDR need to:
•Establish NCEH/ATSDR teams to provide consultation on and, as warranted, investigate environmentally related disease clusters and outbreaks following the public health model.
•Ensure that NCEH and ATSDR programs complement each other and function in concert.
•Provide assistance to State and local health agencies, professional organizations, and others to broaden their capacity in environmental public health through training, assignment of staff, and funding through grants and cooperative agreements.
•Establish the “Nationwide Health Tracking Network” proposed by the Pew Environmental Health Commission.
•Develop effective methods of preventing environmentally related diseases and effectively diagnosing and facilitating treatment when prevention fails.
•Expand emergency preparedness and response capacity to address the many complex issues of natural and technologic disasters and bioterrorism threats.
•Define and implement a joint applied research agenda for environmental public health.
•Pursue linking biomonitoring, environmental data, and disease tracking to further inform environmental and public health decision makers.
•Aggressively pursue the implications of the “new genetics” to better understand environmental exposure and gene interactions.
•Ensure that environmental justice principles are appropriately considered in all NCEH and ATSDR activities.
Additionally, NCEH/ATSDR need to share technical expertise with other countries and learn more about environmental public health impacts from exposure to toxic substances world wide
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This foreword provides an introduction to the national Environmental Public Health Performance Standards (EnvPHPS) and the Environmental Public Health Self-Assessment Instrument (Instrument). The EnvPHPS establish a set of standards that describe the level of performance and capacity to which all environmental health systems (EH System) and programs should aspire. The organizational framework for the standards is the ten Essential Environmental Public Health Services (http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehs/Home/HealthService.htm), which outline the services in an EH System or program necessary to effectively protect and improve environmental and public health. The document describes the services and includes a set of optimal standards for each . The standards describe activities, actions, processes, an EH System or program performs to optimally provide the Essential Environmental Public Health Services. The results of the self-assessment can be used to determine action needed to improve capacity to perform the essential services. The instrument is designed to be used at multiple levels. For instance, it can be used to focus on a particular programmatic area of shared concern such as safe drinking water or vector control, or to assess a division, department, or the environmental health system.
The primary goal of the EnvPHPS is to promote continuous improvement of the national environmental public health system. The implementation of the EnvPHPS is intended to foster improvement at the state, tribal, local, territorial, and national levels through the following three efforts: Build capacity to provide the ten Essential Environmental Public Health Services Build community accountability for environmental public health services Build consistency of services across EH Systems or programs
The EnvPHPS have been developed in cooperation with the National Public Health Performance Standards (NPHPS) Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to serve as a module of those standards. The EnvPHPS will enable a deeper assessment of an EH system’s or program’s capacity to provide Essential Environmental Public Health Services. This instrument will also enable a broader exploration and understanding of the relationships among public and private entities, individuals and informal associations that contribute to the delivery of environmental public health services within an EH system or program.
Value and benefits of the Environmental Public Health Performance Standards
EH Systems and programs that utilize the EnvPHPS may expect the following benefits: Educating participants about environmental health and the range of services and partners needed to improve the public’s health.
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Improving collaboration of partners to enhance communication, improve coordination of activities and resources, and reduce duplication of services. Identifying strengths and gaps that can be addressed through quality improvement efforts. Providing a benchmark for environmental public health practice improvements by establishing optimal standards and measures. Providing information and data that EH Systems and programs may use to better advocate for changes in policy or resource allocation to improve community environmental health status.
The EnvPHPS may be used to enhance the practice of environmental public health in several additional ways. First, the EnvPHPS can be used as a tool for orienting new or existing staff unfamiliar with environmental public health. Second, the standards provide an excellent description of what is meant by performing the Essential Environmental Public Health Services. Last, data can be collected from those who complete the instrument and aggregated to identify gaps and set an agenda to improve national environmental public health capacity. This national data collection process has not been established. No federal agency is currently collecting or using the data generated by this self-assessment process.
The use of these standards and the self-assessment process is intended to give environmental public health service providers a valid and reliable tool for measuring and continuously improving services and performance. The standards are being used in a variety of practice settings—activities, programs, department, agencies, and systems—to improve the quality of environmental public health services
The EnvPHPS received input from the organizations representing the nation’s leadership for environmental public health, including the following: American Public Health Association (APHA) Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs (AEHAP) Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) National Association of Local Boards of Health (NALBOH) National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) National Conference of Local Environmental Health Administrators (NCLEHA) National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL)
The Instrument was developed in collaboration with an expert panel of environmental health managers and practitioners led by CAPT Patrick O. Bohan, MSEH, MS, PhD, USPHS (Ret), Assistant Professor, East Central University, Ada, Oklahoma.
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The panel of experts who contributed to the creation of this instrument includes Gerry Barron, MPH, Associate Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and former Deputy Director, Allegheny County Health Department, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Rob Blake, MPH, Chief, Environmental Health Services Branch, Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services, National Center for Environmental Health/ATSDR, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and former Director of Environmental Health Services for the State of Georgia Scott Holmes, MPH, Director, Environmental Health, Lincoln-Lancaster County, Nebraska Sarah Kotchian, EdM, MPH, PhD, former Research Assistant Professor, Institute for Public Health, University of New Mexico and former Director of the Albuquerque Environmental Health Department Carl Osaki, MPH, Clinical Associate Professor, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington and former Environmental Health Director of the Seattle/King County Health Department Ken Sharp, Director, Division of Environmental Health, Iowa Department of Public Health Peter Thornton, MPH, retired Director, Environmental Health, Volusia County, Florida Charles Treser, MPH, Senior Lecturer, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington
Members of the Environmental Health Services Branch within the National Center for Environmental Health, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have been valuable partners and advisors throughout this project including Dr. Sharunda Buchanan, former Environmental Health Services Branch Chief and current Director, Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services; Rob Blake, Chief, Environmental Health Services Branch; CAPT John Sarisky, Senior Environmental Health Scientist; CAPT Charles Otto, Senior Environmental Health Scientist; and Dr. Hugh Mainzer, Epidemiologist. Liza Corso and Teresa Daub from the CDC NPHPS program have provided important feedback to ensure that the EnvPHPS are effectively linked to the NPHPS.
In addition, numerous federal, state, local, and tribal agencies and universities reviewed the draft instrument and provided valuable feedback for its improvement.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the national Environmental Public Health Performance Standards (EnvPHPS)?
The EnvPHPS are a set of optimal standards modeled after the National Public Health Performance Standards (NPHPS). The EnvPHPS are based on the ten Essential Environmental Public Health Services that outline the necessary services in an EH System or program to effectively protect and improve environmental health.
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Each section of this document addresses one of the services and includes standards and questions. These questions or measures are used to determine to what extent the standards are met.
Why are the EnvPHPS needed when we already have the NPHPS?
The EnvPHPS were developed in cooperation with The National Public Health Performance Standards (NPHPS) Program. The NPHPS have proven useful in evaluating the performance of the overall public health system. The EnvPHPS were developed to serve as a module of the NPHPS and provide an opportunity for a more in-depth assessment of an EH System or program’s performance in providing the Essential Environmental Public Health Services.
Who should use the standards?
Potential users include local, state, territorial, federal, or tribal environmental health or public health systems, agencies, or programs that wish to pursue excellence through engagement in a quality improvement process utilizing the Essential Environmental Public Health Services framework and a set of national performance standards. The instrument can be used to focus on a particular programmatic area of shared concern such as safe drinking water or vector control. Alternatively, in a more holistic approach the instrument can be used to assess the environmental public health system beyond the agency or program level. The environmental public health system refers to the combination of public, private, and voluntary entities that contribute to, share responsibilities, or impact the delivery of the Essential Environmental Public Health Services. Those completing the instrument are encouraged to consider an assessment process that recognizes that no program or agency works in isolation nor has full authority, responsibility, resources and capacity to effectively provide the essential services. Therefore, including individuals and community partners outside the program or agency can be useful. If a system assessment is conducted, additional partners should be included.
What results can we expect from implementing the EnvPHPS?
Through the process of completing the EnvPHPS, users will assess the capacity of an EH System or program to perform the Essential Environmental Public Health Services, identify critical gaps in performance to inform the development of an action plan to address the identified gaps and barriers to meeting the EnvPHPS, and educate staff and community partners about the role of environmental health in preventing disease and reducing hazards, and the infrastructure necessary to fulfill that role.
The information obtained from completing the instrument can be used to
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track and measure accomplishment, approach decision-makers with information regarding the steps necessary to improve the environmental health system or program, and justify continued or expanded services, support for training, or additional staff.
What informational resources are available to our agency to support a journey to excellence?
The NPHPS Program (http://www.cdc.gov/od/ocphp/nphpsp/) has a wealth of information and guidance to offer on the process of undertaking this type of assessment, all of which can be easily adapted for use with partners in the environmental health system. Most notable are the “User Guide,” sample tools for preparing for the assessment, and resources for conducting an assessment with a group of internal and external partners.
Additionally, a tool kit is available on line that lists resources to support improvement in each of the ten essential services (http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehs/EnvPHPS/resources.htm).
Essential Environmental Public Health Services
The Essential Environmental Public Health Services provide the framework for the self-assessment instrument. These services describe the collective set of capacities and activities necessary in an EH System or program to effectively support the provision of services and programs needed to improve and protect environmental health.
1. Monitor environmental and health status to identify and solve community environmental public health problems.
2. Diagnose and investigate environmental public health problems and health hazards in the community.
3. Inform, educate, and empower people about environmental public health issues.
4. Mobilize community partnerships and actions to identify and solve environmental public health problems.
5. Develop policies and plans that support individual and community environmental public health efforts.
6. Enforce laws and regulations that protect environmental public health and ensure safety.
7. Link people to needed environmental public health services and assure the provision of environmental public health services when otherwise unavailable.
8. Assure a competent environmental public health workforce.
9. Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based environmental public health services.
10. Research for new insights and innovative solutions to environmental public health problems.
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The Essential Public Health Services were developed by the Core Public Health Functions Steering Committee in 1994 to describe the core functions of public health- assessment, policy development, and assurance—as identified in the 1988 Institute of Medicine Report The Future of Public Health. The Essential Public Health Services were later used as a guide for developing the National Public Health Performance Standards (NPHPS). The Essential Environmental Public Health Services were derived from the Essential Public Health Services and provide the basis for the national Environmental Public Health Performance Standards.
The Self-assessment Instrument
About the assessment instrument
The Instrument is divided into ten sections—one for each essential service. The Instrument is intended to be applied in totality to assess an EH System or program’s performance. Each section begins with a description of the essential service. The Instrument then presents a set of standards which describe the optimum performance of the essential services. Each standard is presented along with a narrative description and a brief list of the key actions needed to accomplish the standard. These actions form the basis of a series of questions to measure the performance of that standard. A positive response for all of the questions for a standard should result in fully meeting the optimal performance of that particular standard.
There are five possible responses associated with each of the questions. As each question is discussed, the response that best fits the current level of activity should be determined. The response to the assessment develops measures that can serve as a benchmark for future improvements. Improvement will not occur unless the self-assessment team is “brutally” honest with their responses. If a partial service is provided then it should be indicated as such. The response options are:
NO ACTIVITY 0% or absolutely no activity
MINIMAL ACTIVITY greater than zero but not more the 25% of the activity described within the question is met within the EH System or program
MODERATE ACTIVITY greater than 25%, but not more than 50% of the activity described within the question is met within the EH System or program
SIGNIFICANT ACTIVITY greater than 50% but not more than 75% of the activity described within the question is met within the EH System or program
OPTIMAL ACTIVITY greater than 75% of the activity described within the question is met within the EH System or program
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Instructions for using the instrument
1. Determine whether the assessment will be of the EH System as a whole, a department of, or a particular programmatic area.
2. Identify the individual or core team responsible for coordinating the assessment and identify other team members who will be involved in completing the instrument. This may include environmental health staff, program managers, and other relevant partners from public agencies, private entities, and voluntary organizations that contribute to environmental health activities within a given area. The group should be appropriately representative of the breadth of individuals or agencies involved with providing the relevant environmental health services. For instance, if the assessment focuses on a food program, you may wish to include environmental health specialists, supervisors, members of the regulated food community, consumers, individuals from food programs at another level of government, etc. If the assessment will focus on the broad multi-agency environmental health system in the jurisdiction, include representatives from those groups that also provide environmental health services in that area. The size and constituency of the group will vary, but, in general, a group size of 5-15 allows time for discussion of various viewpoints as the group completes the instrument.
3. Orient the group to the assessment documents and process. Have a brief discussion of the core functions of public health (assessment, policy development, and assurance), the Essential Services of Public Health, the Essential Environmental Public Health Services, the national Environmental Public Health Performance Standards (EnvPHPS), and the value of completing the assessment. It may be useful for the group to review the training course on the Ten Essential Services of Environmental Health, developed by Carl Osaki and available at no charge at http://www.wvdhhr.org/envhealth/index.htm. Have the group review the national Environmental Public Health Performance Standards document before beginning work on the self-assessment instrument.
4. Set a time to conduct the assessment. Groups have generally been able to complete the assessment in a day (or less), however, your group will decide what schedule works best.
5. Review the two parts to the instrument. Part I requests general information about the environmental health program. This includes some demographic information about the population served, the environmental health staff who provide the services, and budget data. Part II includes questions (measures) that assess the capacity of the EH System or program to provide the Essential Environmental Public Health Services. The responses to these questions serve as a measure of the level of performance.
6. Discuss the five possible responses to each question. As each question is discussed, the team should determine the response that best fits the current level of activity. Do not leave a response blank. Each response should be based on the current level of activities and existing capacity.
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7. Agree on the level of activity for each measure and record responses on the final self-assessment form. Be sure to make a copy of the completed form for your records.
8. Enter each response into the self-assessment database. The database will calculate a score for each of the ten services and create an overall self-assessment score. Results can be presented categorically or numerically.
9. Reconvene the group to consider next steps once the jurisdiction has the results of its self-assessment. A jurisdiction may score low on several of the essential services. The group should review the gaps revealed by the self-assessment, set priorities and develop an improvement plan for one or more of the identified gaps. For each gap, the group should first consider why the gap exists. What circumstances allow this gap to exist, have previous attempts been made to address this gap and why did these fixes not work? After fully understanding why a gap exists the team is ready to begin developing intervention options. The team should consider all options and select the most appropriate and reasonable intervention. The team will then develop an action plan to implement the intervention. The group may also wish to establish a schedule for periodically reviewing progress on the action plan, and for reassessing the program or jurisdiction after a specified time period to assess progress.
Essential Service #1: Monitor Environmental and Health Status to Identify and Solve Community Environmental Public Health Problems
This service includes Accurate assessment of the community’s environmental health status:
o Identification of community environmental health problems;
o Identification of the environmental factors contributing to environmental health problems and data on environmental quality (air quality, water quality). Utilization of appropriate methods and technology, such as geographic information systems, to collect, store, manage and interpret data. Communication of data to diverse audiences. Collaboration among all environmental health system partners to share data in order to track changes in environmental conditions that potentially impact environmental and human health.
Model Standard 1.1: Community Environmental Health Profile
The community environmental health profile (CEHP) summarizes data collected in a community assessment and describes the current status of a range of environmental health factors in a community. This information can be used to establish priorities, direct resources, and provide a baseline against which improvement is measured.
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The CEHP includes broad-based surveillance data and measures related to environmentally-related illness, disease, and injury and environmental health risks at individual and community levels including such information as: demographic and socioeconomic characteristics; environmental indicators (such as air quality data, drinking water quality); environmental health indicators (such as frequency of critical violations from food inspections, underground storage tanks); risk factors; and health status (such as death, illness, injury and infectious disease).
The CEHP displays information about community trends overall, as well as about population disparities in health status and hazard exposure. Local measures are compared with peer, state, and national benchmarks. Data are prepared and displayed in multiple formats so they are easily understood by diverse audiences, such as the media, community-based organizations and policy makers.
To accomplish this, the EH System or program Conducts community environmental health assessments approximately every 3 years to monitor progress towards environmental health-related objectives. Compiles and periodically updates a community environmental health profile using community environmental health assessment data. Assures that profile (assessment) data can be easily understood and accessed by the community.
Please answer the following questions related to Standard 1.1:
1.1A Has a community environmental health assessment been completed?
1.1B Is the community environmental health assessment updated at least every 3 years?
1.1C Are existing and potential environmental health trends identified by comparing analysis results to relevant benchmarks?
1.1C Discussion Toolbox: In considering 1.1C, are data compared with data from Peer (demographically similar) communities? The region? The state? The nation?
1.1D Have the data from the community environmental health assessment been compiled into an updated profile?
1.1D Discussion Toolbox: The profile may include the following elements: Environmentally related illness Environmentally related disease Environmentally related injury
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Environmental factors contributing to environmental health problems (such as frequency of code violations, air and water quality indicators, etc.) Community perceptions and other information from the community environmental health assessment
1.1E Are environmental health data prepared in a format that allows for the clear communication and interpretation by the public and policy makers?
1.1F Is information about the community environmental health status easily available to individuals, community groups, and other organizations in a printed and web-based version?
Model Standard 1.2: Current Technology for Data Collection, Storage, and Analysis (e.g., GIS, surveys and databases)
The EH System or program develops plans to create and support data and information systems to assure accurate and timely reporting. The EH System or program identifies sources of the necessary data and contact information for obtaining the data. EH System or program utilizes current state-of-the-art technology to support data plans and information systems.
To accomplish this, the EH System or program Identifies and uses current technology for collecting, storing, and analyzing environmental health data. Uses geographic information systems (GIS).
Please answer the following question related to Standard 1.2:
1.2A Are appropriate tools, such as GIS, used to support the profile databases?
1.2A Discussion Toolbox: In considering 1.2A, is current technology, such as GIS, used to Collect data? Manage data? Integrate databases? Analyze data?
Model Standard 1.3: Enhanced Environmental Health Databases and Plan
The EH System or program develops and implements a data collection plan to help with the assessment process. Data included in the community environmental health profile are accurate, reliable, and consistently interpreted according to the science and evidence-base for public health practice. Environmental health databases are maintained and linked with disease registries, environmental hazard/pollutant databases and exposure registries.
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To accomplish this, the EH System or program Collects data from other agencies and organizations involved in environmental and health protection. Creates a plan for addressing gaps in data needed.
Please answer the following questions related to Standard 1.3:
1.3A Are data collected from a range of sources involved in environmental and public health protection (e.g., epidemiology, disease registries, tracking partners, local and state departments of environmental quality)?
1.3B Have plans been made to address gaps in information and data needed?
Essential Service #2: Diagnose and Investigate Environmental Public Health Problems and Health Hazards in the Community
This service includes Investigation of patterns and outbreaks of environmentally-related illness, disease, injury, environmental hazards, environmental risk factors, and other environmental health threats. Investigation and response to emergencies. Access to a public health laboratory capable of conducting rapid screening and high volume testing.
Model Standard 2.1: Identification and Surveillance of Environmental Health Threats
A surveillance system is in place to identify patterns and/or outbreaks of environmentally-related illness, disease, injury, environmental risk factors, and other environmental health hazards. Epidemiological and environmental health investigation techniques are used to collect data to identify environmental risk factors for environmentally-related health threats. Surveillance data, which can include frequency of critical food safety violations, results from inspections of various types of facilities, and air and water quality data, are used to track environmental health problems and hazards. Surveillance data are also used to examine the impact of environmental health hazards and risk factors on illness and mortality. Surveillance data provide information necessary to develop interventions aimed at stopping an outbreak, preventing future outbreaks or reversing the patterns of disease and environmental risk factors. The surveillance system is also critical in alerting a jurisdiction to unusual events or patterns that require immediate response.
To accomplish this, the EH System or program
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Participates in a surveillance system to identify patterns of environmentally-related illness, disease, injury, environmental risk factors, and other environmental health hazards that require a response. Uses timely information from variety of environmental and health data sources to identify patterns. Employs key environmental health staff trained in the application of epidemiology and statistics, or has access to Masters and/or Doctoral level statistical and epidemiological expertise to assess, investigate, and analyze environmental health threats and hazards.
Please answer the following questions related to Standard 2.1:
2.1A Does the EH System or program operate or participate in an environmental health surveillance system that uses timely information from a variety of sources?
2.1B Does the EH System or program use protocols to investigate patterns and/or outbreaks of environmentally-related illness, disease, injury, environmental hazards, and risk factors?
2.1C Does the EH System or program have access to expertise in epidemiology and statistics such as Masters and/or Doctoral level statistical and epidemiological expertise?
2.1D Is key environmental health staff trained in the application of epidemiology and statistics?
Model Standard 2.2: Investigation and Response to Environmental Health Threats and Emergencies
Environmental health is integrated into the EH Systems and programs’ all-hazards emergency response plan. The EH System or program has a written plan that details the roles and responsibilities for the local environmental health staff in a natural disaster or other public health emergency. The EH System or program maintains a roster of personnel with the technical expertise to respond to potential natural disasters, biological, chemical, or radiological public health emergencies.
To accomplish this, the EH System or program Defines roles and responsibilities of environmental health staff in emergencies. Develops written protocols for immediate investigation of public health threats and emergencies. Regularly updates roster of personnel.
Please answer the following questions related to Standard 2.2:
2.2A Are roles and responsibilities of the local environmental health staff integrated into the all hazards emergency response plan?
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2.2B Are written protocols available to guide immediate investigation of and response to public health threats and emergencies?
2.2C Does the EH System or program regularly update the roster of personnel with technical expertise to respond to potential natural disasters, biological, chemical or radiological public health emergencies?
Model Standard 2.3: Laboratory Accessibility
EH System or program has access to approved laboratories (e.g., credentialed, licensed) capable of supporting investigations of environmental health problems, hazards, and emergencies. EH System or program has written agreements and/or procurement processes in place to access services in emergency situations. In some communities, the actual testing of environmental samples may be performed outside the traditional public and environmental health system. However, the environmental health program retains the responsibility for ensuring that proper testing and timely results are available to the community.
To accomplish this, the EH System or program Has agreements with laboratory (ies) capable of meeting routine and emergency diagnostic and surveillance needs. Maintains guidelines or protocols to address handling of laboratory samples as well as reporting of findings.
Please answer the following questions related to Standard 2.3:
2.3A Does the EH System or program have established agreements and/or procurement processes to access (24 hours-per-day/7 days-per-week) approved laboratories capable of supporting investigations of environmental health problems, hazards and emergencies?
2.3B Are guidelines or protocols in place to address handling of laboratory samples and reporting of findings?
Essential Service #3: Inform, Educate, and Empower People about Environmental Public Health Issues
This service includes Communicating the status of environmental health and environmentally-related illness, disease, and injury to the community.
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Designing culturally appropriate environmental health information, environmental health education, and environmental health promotion activities to reduce environmental health risk and promote better health. Maintaining accessible environmental health information and educational resources. Targeting environmental health education activities to specific groups as necessary (children, septic tank installers and owners, community water systems operators, etc.). Establishing emergency risk communication processes designed to inform and mobilize the community regarding environmental health threats or crises.
Model Standard 3.1: Health Education, Health Promotion and Health Communications
There is a plan and system in place to routinely educate and inform the community about environmental health issues. The system recognizes the important role of health education and promotion in ensuring that all community members have the opportunity to become informed about and participate in environmental health decisions. Effective community-based environmental health education uses targeted and culturally appropriate language, materials, and processes. Health communications activities include media campaigns, social marketing, entertainment education and interactive health communication. The EH System or program chooses among a variety of communication channels including interpersonal, small group, organizational, community and mass media to most effectively reach specific segments of the community.
To accomplish this, the EH System or program Provides the public, policy makers and stakeholders with information on community environmental health status and needs, as well as information on policies and programs that can improve environmental health. Collaborates with various entities in the community on health education and promotion activities. Utilizes appropriate communication channels and tools to reach and address the needs of various target audiences.
Please answer the following questions related to Standard 3.1:
3.1A Does the EH System or program have a health communications plan that routinely provides the community (general public, policy makers, and public and private stakeholders) with EH information to enable effective individual, community and policy action?
3.1B Does the EH System or program work with the community to identify health education needs of different segments of the community?
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3.1C Does the EH System or program develop appropriate and targeted messages for various segments of the community (e.g., vulnerable, sensitive or disproportionately impacted populations)?
3.1D Are broad-based partners (such as health department, planning and zoning, public works, building, environmental advocacy groups, and the media) working together on environmental health education and promotion activities?
3.1E Does the communications plan provide guidance on creating messages and materials appropriate to the differing communication channels (e.g., Internet, print, radio, and television)?
Model Standard 3.2: Crisis Communications
Crisis communication is the provision of information by public officials to allow individuals, stakeholders, or an entire community to make the best possible decisions about their safety and well-being during a crisis or emergency.
To accomplish this, the EH System or program: Develops emergency communications plan(s) and procedures to coordinate governmental alerts to the community about possible environmental health threats and disease outbreaks.
Please answer the following question related to Standard 3.2:
3.2A Does the EH System or program have emergency communication plan(s) to share information among key responders and the public in the event of potentially serious environmental health threats, disease outbreaks and other emergencies?
3.2A Discussion Toolbox: In considering 3.2A, does the emergency communications plan Integrate with other emergency communications plans and partners? Identify procedures for inter-agency coordination? Include procedures for alerting all subpopulations in the community?
Essential Service #4: Mobilize Community Partnerships and Actions to Identify and Solve Environmental Public Health Problems
This service includes Identifying potential stakeholders who contribute to or benefit from environmental health, and increase their awareness of the value of environmental health.
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Building coalitions to draw upon the full range of potential human and material resources to improve the community’s environmental health. Convening and facilitating partnerships among groups and associations (including those not typically considered to be environmental health-related) in undertaking defined environmental health improvement projects.
Model Standard 4.1: Constituency Development
Comprehensively identifying and solving environmental health problems can best be accomplished with the assistance or input from constituents and stakeholders within the community. Establishing two-way channels to provide the community with information about the status of environmental health (both environmental and health) and solicit input from the community is essential in addressing environmental health issues in a comprehensive manner. Constituents of the EH System or program include all persons and organizations that directly contribute to or benefit from environmental health. These may include members of the public served by the EH System or program, the governmental bodies it represents, and other health, environmental, and non-health-related organizations in the community. Constituency development is the process of establishing collaborative relationships among other entities charged with environmental health protection and among current or potential stakeholders.
To accomplish this, the EH System or program Establishes a process to identify key constituents, stakeholders and partners for community environmental health in general (e.g., improved environmental health conditions at the community level) or for specific environmental health concerns (e.g., drinking water, vector-borne disease, food safety). Establishes and maintains a comprehensive directory of community organizations and agencies with an interest in environmental health issues and services. Encourages constituent participation in environmental health decisions and policy development.
Please answer the following questions related to Standard 4.1:
4.1A Does the EH System or program maintain an up-to-date directory of key constituents and stakeholders for environmental health?
4.1B Does the EH System or program have a plan and process that employs a variety of methods to involve constituents in key decisions and policy development for environmental health issues?
Model Standard 4.2: Community Partnerships
Community partnerships describe a range of relationships (e.g., networking, coordination, cooperation and collaboration) that foster the sharing of information, resources, and/or accountability in
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undertaking community environmental health improvement. For example, several groups in the jurisdiction with an interest in food safety (such as restaurant owners, producers and consumers) may partner to address concerns particular to the food protection program.
Multi-sector collaboration can be defined as: a voluntary strategic alliance of public, private, and nonprofit organizations to enhance each other’s capacity to achieve a common purpose by sharing risks, responsibilities, resources, and rewards. Multi-sector partnerships can contribute greatly to effective community environmental health improvements.
To accomplish this, the EH System or program Establishes partnerships among government agencies (e.g., health, environment, agriculture) and the private sector (e.g., professional associations, trade associations, advocacy groups and universities).
Please answer the following question related to Standard 4.2:
4.2A Are partnerships among government agencies and the private sector used to enhance environmental health program effectiveness?
Essential Service #5: Develop Policies and Plans That Support Individual and Community Environmental Public Health Efforts
This service includes An effective governmental presence at the local level. Development of policy that protects the health of the public from environmental factors, promotes the ecological balances important to human health and guides the practice of environmental health within the community. Systematic community-level and state-level planning for environmental health improvement and emergency response and preparedness. Alignment of local environmental health program resources and strategies with a community environmental health improvement plan.
Model Standard 5.1: Governmental Presence at the Local Level
Every community must be served by a governmental environmental health entity. As the line of first defense, the local governmental environmental health entity plays an especially vital role in ensuring the safety, health, and well-being of communities. The governmental environmental health entity works in partnership with the community to assure the development and maintenance of a flexible and dynamic environmental health system that provides the Essential Environmental Public Health Services. In many
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places, the local health or environmental health department or a local branch of the state health agency serves as the local governmental environmental health entity.
To accomplish this, the environmental health system Provides a designated governmental environmental health entity to assure the delivery of the Essential Environmental Public Health Services to the community.
Please answer the following question related to Model Standard 5.1:
5.1A Does the environmental health system provide a governmental environmental health entity (i.e. local environmental health department or local office of a state health or environmental health department) to assure the delivery of the Essential Environmental Public Health Services to the community?
Model Standard 5.2: Public Health Policy Development
The governmental entity works well with its community partners to develop necessary policy and program resources. Policy development is a process that enables informed decisions to be made concerning issues related to environmental health. “Policy development” involves the means by which problem identification, technical knowledge of possible solutions, and societal values join to set a course of action. Policy development is not synonymous with the development of laws, rules, and regulations (which are the focus of Essential Service # 6). Laws, rules, and regulations may be adopted as tools to implement policy, but good policies must precede good legislation.
To accomplish this, the EH System or program Uses data from various environmental health sources and assessments to make recommendations on establishing priorities for policy development to address critical environmental health issues. Contributes to the development and/or modification of public and environmental health policy by facilitating community involvement and engaging in activities that inform the public and environmental health policy development process. Advocates for policies and plans to ensure consistent and equitable services within all geographic areas and segments of the community to ensure social and environmental equity. Advocates for policies and plans directed toward protecting populations who bear a disproportionate burden of mortality or morbidity or are particularly sensitive to some environmental health threats. Alerts policymakers and the public regarding the potential environmental health impacts (both intended and unintended) from current and/or proposed policies Reviews existing policies at least every two years.
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Please answer the following questions related to Model Standard 5.2:
5.2A Has the EH System or program developed a community environmental health improvement process in which environmental health policy needs are identified?
5.2B Does the system/program advocate for prevention and protection policies for those in the community who bear a disproportionate burden of mortality or morbidity, or that are particularly sensitive to some environmental health issues?
5.2C Is a process in place to review existing policies every two years?
Model Standard 5.3: Community Environmental Health Improvement Process and Strategic Planning
The community environmental health improvement process involves an ongoing collaborative, community-wide effort by the local EH System or program to anticipate, recognize, evaluate, and address environmental health problems including issues classified within traditional environmental health, as well as other community issues that indirectly affecting the community’s environmental health including business and economic development, housing, and land use planning. The key steps in a community environmental health assessment process include: assess applicable data; inventory community environmental health assets and resources; identify community perceptions about environmental health; develop and implement coordinated strategies; develop measurable objectives and indicators; identify entities accountable; and cultivate community “ownership” of the entire process. The community environmental health improvement process provides the opportunity to develop a community-owned plan that will ultimately lead to a healthier community. The community environmental health improvement process is further strengthened by the organizational strategic planning activities of key environmental health agencies and partners to achieve community environmental health improvement objectives and identify entities accountable to achieve each objective.
To accomplish this, the EH System or program Establishes a community environmental health improvement process which includes broad-based participation and uses information from community environmental health assessments. Develops organizational strategic plans to identify goals, objectives, outcome measures, and a plan of action to address needs identified through the community improvement process. The strategic plan is updated periodically.
Please answer the following question related to Model Standard 5.3:
5.3A Has the EH System or program incorporated the Community Environmental Health Assessment and stakeholder input into a community environmental health improvement plan which identifies environmental health priorities, policies and resources?
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Model Standard 5.4: Plan for Environmental Health Emergencies
An essential community plan is an “All Hazards” emergency preparedness and response plan which describes the roles, functions and responsibilities of local partners in the event of one or more types of environmental health emergencies. These plans describe community interventions necessary to prevent, monitor and control an incident or emergency event.
To accomplish this, the EH System or program Develops a plan that defines environmental health disasters and emergencies that might trigger implementation of the emergency response plan, describes organizational responsibilities, establishes standard operating procedures, and clearly outlines alert and evacuation protocols.
Please answer the following question related to Model Standard 5.4:
5.4A Does the EH System or program have an all-hazards emergency preparedness and response plan?
Essential Service #6: Enforce Laws and Regulations that Protect Environmental Public Health and Ensure Safety
This service includes Reviewing, evaluating, and revising laws and regulations designed to protect health, environmental quality, and safety to assure that they reflect current scientific knowledge and best practices for achieving compliance. Educating persons and entities obligated to obey or to enforce laws and regulations designed to protect health, environmental quality, and safety in order to encourage compliance. Assuring compliance with environmental health and protection laws, regulations, ordinances, and policies.
Model Standard 6.1: Review and Evaluation of Current Laws, Regulations and Ordinances
The EH System or program reviews and assesses the impact of state and local laws, regulations, and ordinances on the environmental health of the community including those which govern food safety, clean water and air, as well as those which affect environmental health and protection more broadly, including but not limited to land use, community design, transportation, and agriculture. The review includes scientific merit, best practices for achieving compliance, and opinions of constituents. Through this process, EH System or program determines whether existing laws need updating.
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To accomplish this, the EH System or program Reviews and assesses the impact of existing laws, regulations and ordinances at least every five years.
Please answer the following question related to model standard 6.1:
6.1A Are state and local laws, regulations, and ordinances reviewed, at least once every five years, to assess their impact on the environmental health of the community and determine whether they need updating?
Model Standard 6.2: Involvement in Improvement of Laws, Regulations and Ordinances
The EH System or program identifies gaps in public health and environmental laws, regulations, ordinances, or policies for problems and issues that can only be addressed through these means. The EH System or program participates in the modification of existing laws, regulations, and/or the formulation of new laws, regulations, and ordinances designed to assure and improve the public’s health and the quality of the environment that may impact human health. Participation can include drafting proposed legislation, regulations, and ordinances, or providing technical assistance to others involved in policy review and development.
To accomplish this, the EH System or program Identifies public health and environmental issues that are not adequately addressed through existing laws, regulations and ordinances. Participates in the modification of existing laws, regulations and ordinances and policy development to address identified gaps.
Please answer the following questions related to model standard 6.2:
6.2A Are gaps identified in public health and environmental laws, regulations, or ordinances?
6.2B Does the EH System or program participate in the updating and/or modification of existing, or the formulation of new laws, regulations, and ordinances designed to assure and improve the public’s health and the quality of the environment that may impact human health?
Model Standard 6.3: Enforcement of Laws, Regulations, and Ordinances
The authority of the governmental organization within the EH System or program to enforce public health and environmental quality laws, regulations, and ordinances varies from state to state and between jurisdictions within states. In many communities, the local public health agency exercises
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regulatory enforcement that is delegated or contracted to it by federal, state, county, or municipal government entities. In other communities, enforcement authority may be retained by the state or delegated to one or more governmental agencies outside of the local public health agency. Some communities have local environmental health enforcement created through home rule authority. Regardless of which governmental entity or entities is vested with authority and responsibility, the EH System or program as a whole must ensure effective and equitable enforcement of laws, regulations and ordinances.
To accomplish this, the EH System or program Assures that all its enforcement activities are conducted in a timely manner in accordance with laws, regulations, and ordinances. Performs education, enforcement and compliance activities consistently and equitably within all geographic areas and segments of the community to ensure social and environmental equity. Informs and educates individuals, organizations, and regulated entities of the meaning and purpose of public health and environmental quality laws, regulations, and ordinances. Evaluates the compliance and responsiveness of regulated organizations and entities and makes appropriate adjustments.
Please answer the following questions related to model standard 6.3:
6.3A Does the EH System or program provide timely, consistent and equitable enforcement of environmental health protection laws, regulations, ordinances, and policies within all segments of the jurisdiction?
6.3B Does the EH System or program provide information about the meaning and purpose of public and environmental health laws, regulations and ordinances to the individuals and organizations that are required to comply with them?
6.3C Has the compliance and responsiveness of regulated organizations and entities been evaluated in the past five years?
Essential Service #7: Link People to Needed Environmental Public Health Services and Assure the Provision of Environmental Public Health Services When Otherwise Unavailable
This service includes Identifying populations with limited access or barriers to environmental public health services. Identifying environmental public health service needs of populations with limited access or barriers to a coordinated environmental health system.
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Assuring the linkage of people and the community to appropriate environmental public health services through coordination of services and development of interventions that address barriers to service (e.g., culturally and linguistically appropriate staff and materials).
Model Standard 7.1: Identification of Environmental Public Health Service Needs of the Population
There may be populations that have difficulty with obtaining services. The EH System or program has a responsibility to ensure all constituents have equal access to environmental health services by identifying populations with limited access to a coordinated environmental health system, anticipating some of their needs, and addressing the barriers to service (e.g., poverty, language or culture).
To accomplish this, the EH System or program Identifies populations in the community that may experience barriers to the receipt of environmental public health services. Defines environmental health service needs for the general population and for those who may experience barriers to obtaining these services.
Please answer the following question related to model standard 7.1:
7.1A Are populations with limited access or barriers to a coordinated environmental public health services identified?
Model Standard 7.2: Assuring the Linkage of People to Environmental Public Health Services
The EH System or program provides services to address identified needs by assuring a program delivery system that is timely and responsive to its constituents. In some instances, environmental health responsibilities have been fragmented and assigned to several different agencies. The EH System or program should take steps to ensure that all the agencies and entities within the environmental health system are linked through a referral network and that all constituents have equal access to all services; regardless of which governmental entity is assigned responsibility. The EH System or program supports and coordinates partnerships and referral mechanisms among the community’s environmental health and protection programs to optimize access for the entire population to needed environmental public health services. Additionally, the EH System or program seeks to create innovative partnerships with other organizations—such as professional associations, trade associations, and advocacy groups—that will help to enhance the effectiveness and accessibility of local environmental public health and environmental protection services.
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To accomplish this, the EH System or program Develops referral mechanisms among the community’s environmental public health and protection programs to link populations to needed services and to optimize access by populations that may experience barriers to needed environmental health services. Convenes periodic meetings among agencies responsible for environmental public health and protection to coordinate activities and agree on roles and responsibilities.
Please answer the following questions related to model standard 7.2:
7.2A Does the EH System or program have an active outreach and referral mechanism in place to link constituents to environmental public health and protection services?
7.2B Are there memorandums of understanding, or some other written agreements, among the entities with responsibility for aspects of environmental health protection within the EH System or program?
7.2C Does the EH System or program periodically convene the multiple agencies with responsibility in areas of environmental health in order to assure a program delivery system that is coordinated, timely and responsive to all constituents?
Essential Service #8: Assure a Competent Environmental Public Health Workforce
This service includes Assessment of the workforce (including agency and non-governmental workers such as private septic and water well contractors, food service managers, and others) to meet community needs for environmental public health services. Maintenance of environmental health workforce standards, including efficient processes for licensure/credentialing of professionals and incorporation into personnel systems of core competencies needed to provide the Essential Environmental Public Health Services. Adoption of continuous quality improvement and life-long learning programs for all members of the environmental health workforce, including opportunities for formal and informal public health and environmental health leadership development.
Model Standard 8.1: Workforce Assessment, Planning and Development
It is vital to have a well prepared environmental health workforce which has a fundamental understanding of environmental health and public health and which has the capacity to carry out the Essential Environmental Public Health Services. Workforce assessment is the process of determining the
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competencies, skills, and knowledge of workers and the training needed to achieve community environmental health goals. It is a community process that includes the identification of those available to contribute to the provision of the Essential Environmental Public Health Services and the particular strengths and assets that each brings. Workforce assessment includes the projection of optimal numbers and types of personnel and the formulation of plans to address identified workforce shortfalls or gaps. Particular attention needs to be paid to diversification of the workforce to reflect the diversity of the community it serves.
To accomplish this, the EH System or program Periodically determines the competencies, composition, demographics, and size of the environmental health workforce that provides the essential services. Identifies and addresses gaps in training and competence. Creates a workforce plan that includes documentation of findings from the workforce determination, a projection of optimal workforce numbers and the types of personnel required, and development of a plan to address environmental health needs. Distributes information from the workforce assessment to community organizations, including governing bodies, advisory groups, academic institutions, and public and private agencies, for use in strategic and operational plans.
Please answer the following questions related to Model Standard 8.1:
8.1A Are gaps within the workforce relative to the needs of the community identified?
8.1A Discussion Toolbox: In considering 8.1A, does the EH System or program have information on shortfall or gaps related to workforce? Composition? Size? Skills and/or experience? Recruitment and retention?
8.1B Is a workforce development plan in place to address gaps in workforce?
8.1.B Discussion Toolbox: In considering 8.1B, does the plan address workforce Composition? Recruitment? Competency requirements? Performance expectations? Retention incentives? Succession? Training?
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8.1C Has the EH System or program established requirements for licensure, registration and certification of the environmental health workforce for relevant areas of environmental public health services such as the requirement for the REHS or RS credential?
8.1D Does the plan encourage and/or give preference to graduates of accredited undergraduate and/or graduate programs of environmental health or public health and/or to candidates with RS or REHS credentials?
8.1E Are gaps within the workforce (including but not limited to workforce training and staffing needs) communicated to key stakeholders including governing bodies, advisory groups, academic institutions, and public and private agencies?
Model Standard 8.2: Environmental Health Workforce Standards
Clear standards are established for workforce performance and are incorporated into personnel systems. Environmental health workforce qualifications include certifications, licenses, and education required by law or established by local, state, or federal policy guidelines. Additional core and specific competencies that are needed to provide the Essential Environmental Public Health Services are incorporated in written position descriptions and regular performance evaluations.
To accomplish this, the EH System or program Establishes requirements for licensure, registration and certification of the environmental health workforce for relevant areas of environmental public health services, such as the requirement for the REHS or RS credential Develops, uses, and reviews job standards and position descriptions that incorporate specific competency and performance expectations for providing the Essential Environmental Public Health Services and performing the technical aspects of the position. Evaluates members of the environmental health workforce on their: demonstration of core competencies for performing their duties and responsibilities; understanding and applying the Essential Environmental Public Health Services; and understanding of the competencies specific to the principles of environmental health and public health. Develops plans to enhance individual skills and competencies through continuing education and training opportunities.
Please answer the following questions related to Model Standard 8.2:
8.2A Are environmental health workforce standards linked to job performance through clearly written position descriptions?
8.2B Is workforce performance routinely evaluated?
8.2B Discussion Toolbox: In considering 8.2B, does the evaluation assess workers’
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Knowledge and understanding of the Essential Environmental Public Health Services? Skills related to the Environmental Public Health Competencies? Technical competency related to job function?
8.2C Are specific plans made to enhance individual skills and competencies?
Model Standard 8.3: Life-Long Learning through Continuing Education, Training, and Mentoring
The EH System or program benefits from a workforce engaging in lifelong learning provided through continuing education, job-related training and mentoring. Continuing education may encompass distance learning, workshops, seminars, national and regional conferences, and other activities intended to strengthen the professional knowledge and skills of employees contributing to the provision of the Essential Environmental Public Health Services. Experienced mentors and coaches are available to less experienced staff to provide advice, assist with skill development, and offer other needed career resources. Opportunities are available for staff to work with academic and research institutions, particularly those connected with schools of public health, accredited undergraduate and graduate programs of environmental health science, and public administration. Through these academic linkages, the environmental health workforce, faculty, and students are provided opportunities for relevant interaction which enriches both settings.
To accomplish this, the EH System or program Identifies continuing education and training needs and encourages opportunities for environmental health workforce development. Provides incentives (e.g., improvements in pay scale, release time, tuition reimbursement) for the environmental health workforce to pursue education and training. Evaluates the impact of training on workforce skills and competencies, and modifies individual training plans accordingly.
Please answer the following questions related to Model Standard 8.3:
8.3A Are there continuing education opportunities available that address the specific needs of the environmental health workforce?
8.3B Are there incentives provided (e.g., improvements in pay scale, release time, tuition reimbursement) for the workforce to pursue education and training?
Model Standard 8.4: Environmental Health Leadership Development
Leadership for improvement in community environmental health may be provided by the governmental public health entity, state/local environmental quality and environmental protection agencies, and may
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emerge from the public and private sectors or the community, or may be shared by multiple stakeholders. The governmental environmental health entity encourages the development of leadership capacity that is inclusive, representative of community diversity, and respectful of the community’s perspective.
To accomplish this, the EH System or program Provides formal (e.g., educational programs, leadership institutes) and informal (e.g., coaching, mentoring) opportunities for leadership development for environmental health among potential emerging leaders at all organizational levels. Recognizes the importance of succession planning for critical leadership positions.
Please answer the following questions related to Model Standard 8.4:
8.4A Are there formal or informal opportunities for leadership development?
8.4B Does the EH System or program actively identify and invest in future environmental health leaders?
Essential Service #9: Evaluate Effectiveness, Accessibility, and Quality of Personal and Population-Based Environmental Public Health Services
This service includes Assessing the accessibility and quality of services delivered and the effectiveness and accomplishment of programs provided. Providing information necessary for allocating resources and reshaping programs and/or services.
Model Standard 9.1: Evaluation of Environmental Public Health Services
There is a process in place for continually improving environmental public health services. This process includes an evaluation of the effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of services as well as progress toward program goals. The EH System or program establishes its own benchmarks and criteria for performance (e.g., related to the EH System or program’s strategic and operational plans) and/or uses externally established performance criteria (e.g., Healthy People 2010 objectives) to evaluate local conditions against a set of specific indicators for environmental public health services. The evaluation of environmental public health services includes analysis of environmental health outcomes—including environmentally-related illness, environmental indicators, and environmental risk factors known to contribute to illness and injury— service utilization, and community satisfaction in order to assess program effectiveness, and to provide information to allocate resources and reshape programs.
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To accomplish this, the EH System or program Evaluates environmental public health services against established criteria for performance, including the extent to which program goals and objectives are achieved for these services with a focus on outcome and improvement (e.g., decreased rate of illness and injury, decrease in critical factors, decrease in exposure) in addition to the number of services/inspections provided. Routinely assesses or evaluates its activities to seek improvement in services and outcomes; this process includes determining the effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of services. Assesses community satisfaction with environmental public health services and programs through a broad-based process, which includes stakeholders and residents who are representative of the community and groups at increased risk of environmental exposures and negative health outcomes. Utilizes findings of the evaluation to modify plans and program activities to address identified deficiencies.
Please answer the following questions related to Model Standard 9.1:
9.1A Are environmental public health programs and services routinely evaluated with a focus on accomplishments and achievement of program goals?
9.1A Discussion Toolbox: In considering 9.1A, does the evaluation include a review of Health outcomes? Environmental quality? Environmental indicators? Frequency of violations (other than the number of inspections)? Targets for effectiveness? Goals for access to services? Quality standards for service (e.g., state licensure)?
9.1B Is an assessment completed that measures the satisfaction of stakeholders and residents with environmental public health services?
9.1B Discussion Toolbox: In considering 9.1B, does the assessment Gather input from broad cross-segment of the community? Determine if needs are being met, including the groups at increased risk? Determine satisfaction with responsiveness to complaints or concerns? Identify areas where services could be improved?
9.1C Is an action plan in place and implemented to address needed improvements to services and policies identified through evaluations?
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Model Standard 9.2: Evaluation of Local Environmental Health System
A range of public, private, and voluntary entities, as well as individuals and informal associations, contribute to the delivery of the Essential Environmental Public Health Services within an EH System or program. The EH System or program evaluates the performance of these entities in working together to address environmental health issues and outcomes. The governmental environmental health entity takes a lead role in convening a collaborative evaluation process.
To accomplish this, the EH System or program Identifies public and private entities that contribute to the delivery of the Essential Environmental Public Health Services. Assesses the effectiveness of communication, coordination and linkage among the various entities that contribute to the delivery of the Essential Environmental Public Health Services in an EH System or program.
Please answer the following question related to Model Standard 9.2:
9.2A Has the EH System or program evaluated the effectiveness of the multiple agencies with responsibility in areas of environmental health in terms of their coordinated and timely responses to all constituents?
9.2A Discussion Toolbox: In considering 9.2A, does the evaluation consider effectiveness of Communication and information exchange? Coordination of services? Linkage between programs and/or agencies? Use of resources?
Essential Service #10: Research for New Insights and Innovative Solutions to Environmental Public Health Problems
This service includes Identification of research needs and a continuum of innovative solutions to environmental health problems including practical field-based efforts to foster change in environmental public health practice and to develop best practices of environmental public health services. Establishing linkages with institutions of higher learning and research. Maintaining capacity to undertake timely policy analyses and systems research.
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Model Standard 10.1: Fostering Innovation
The EH System or program fosters innovation by adopting a philosophy of learning and encouraging employee involvement in research through awards and other forms of recognition.
To accomplish this, the EH System or program: Enables staff to identify research needs and new solutions to environmental health problems in the community by being given the time and resources to pilot test or measure the effectiveness of new or existing practices. Researches and monitors best practice information from other agencies and organizations at the local, state, and national level; applies information or best practices to program activities. Initiates and/or participates in research that contributes to improved environmental health system performance including best practices research.
Please answer the following questions related to model standard 10.1:
10.1A Are environmental health staff encouraged and supported to identify new or innovative solutions to environmental health problems?
10.1A Discussion Toolbox: In answering 10.1A, consider the following, does the EH System or program Provide time and resources for staff to pilot test or conduct studies to determine new solutions? Publish results of staff research? Recognize staff (e.g., in performance reviews or through awards)?
10.1B Is environmental health staff encouraged and supported in identifying areas needing additional research to improve services and conditions?
10.1C Are best practices for environmental public health services routinely identified and applied to program activities?
10.1D Does the EH System or program initiate and/or participate in research that contributes to improved environmental health system performance?
Model Standard 10.2: Linkage with Institutions of Higher Learning or Research
The EH System or program establishes a wide range of relationships with institutions of higher learning and research organizations. These relationships are mutually beneficial for research, continuing education, and practical training. Research relationships can occur with schools and programs of public health or with schools and programs of environmental health science as well as the public. Linkages are established with other research organizations, such as federal and state agencies, associations, research
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organizations, institutions of higher learning and research departments or divisions of business firms. Links are established with one or more institutions of higher learning and/or research organizations to cosponsor continuing education programs.
To accomplish this, the EH System or program Partners with institutions of higher learning or research organizations as well as the public to conduct research activities related to the Essential Environmental Public Health Services and to improvements to the practice of environmental health.
Please answer the following question related to model standard 10.2:
10.2A Does the EH System or program partner with institutions of higher learning or research organizations as well as the public to conduct research related to environmental health?
10.2A Discussion Toolbox: In considering 10.2A, does the research Relate to the Essential Environmental Public Health Services? Aim to improve the practice of environmental public health? Include the community in discussions about environmental health research?