Environmental risks impact human health and have important public health implications and consequences. These include exposure to contaminants in water people drink, food people eat, and air people breathe, as well as factors such as education, income, substance abuse, and genetic pre-disposition. The Environmental Health Epidemiology Bureau (EHEB), within the Epidemiology and Response Division (ERD) of the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) has been addressing these environmental risks, exposures, and potential health outcomes for over 20 years. EHEB has close partnerships with the New Mexico Environment Department’s (NMED) Drinking Water Quality Bureau and Groundwater Bureau on a variety of projects (Gold King Mine, PFAS, etc.) as well as the University of New Mexico, the Poison and Drug Information Center (NMPDIC) and local government agencies. These partnerships are essential to reduce (or prevent) the public’s exposure to environmental hazards and toxic exposures and therefore reduce or potentially prevent associated adverse health outcomes. While EHEB does not currently partner directly with daycare centers, we do partner with the NMDOH’s Family Health Bureau (FHB). FHB in turn partners with the Children Youth and Families Department (CYFD). The latter’s Child Care Services Bureau (CCSB) plans and coordinates quality child care services and works to build child care capacity statewide. Expanding our partnerships to include CCSB will be one of the first tasks the EHEB will complete with funding from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s (ATSDR’s) Partnership to Promote Local Efforts to Reduce Environmental Exposure (APPLETREE) funding. Therefore, EHEB is well suited to quickly implement Strategy A of APPLETREE component 1 and poised to develop capacity to implement Strategy B. The ATSDR’s Partnership to APPLETREE Program will enhance the existing capacity in EHEB to help educate communities, partners, and policy makers
about environmental health risks and protective measures. While EHEB already has the basic capacity required, enhanced collaboration with ATSDR and the hires of a risk assessor, project coordinator, health educator, and a toxicologist through the APPLETREE program can provide even more support to communities and increased capacity for the bureau.