Since 2009, the Kansas Environmental Public Health Tracking Program (Tracking) has used data to identify populations at risk, respond to disease cluster reports and emerging threats, helped identify, reduce, and prevent environmental hazards, publicly display data, and helped inform policy makers and communities about potential environmental health risks. The Tracking program is located within the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Division of Public Health, Bureau of Epidemiology and Public Health Informatics. The Tracking program is uniquely situated to bring together data and expertise from the state public health division, the state environmental regulatory division, the state health and environmental laboratory, and the state Medicaid division to collaboratively identify and address the impact of environmental hazards on the lives of Kansans. In the past several years, the Tracking program has provided the technical data skills and capacity in environmental health to support the Agency’s public health response efforts and initiative to modernize and integrate data systems. Funding from this cooperative agreement would be used to support the core strategies outlined in the NOFO for component A. The overall purpose of the Tracking program is to continue to build and sustain environmental health capacity and expertise to conduct environmental public health surveillance, which guides public health actions and policies to prevent or mitigate impacts of environmental hazards. This is accomplished by: 1) enhancing environmental public health data utility and integration of data, 2) improving data access and data sharing, 3) increasing Tracking network awareness and use for decision-making and policy development, 4) supporting infrastructure and processes for data platforms and modernization, and 5) conducting environmental public health surveillance and providing the technical expertise to accomplish the core strategies.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) consists of the Division of Public Health, Division of Environment, Division of Healthcare Finance, and the Kansas Health and Environmental Laboratory. This configuration has enabled programs to collaborate easily with each other and leverage valuable resources. Within the Division of Public Health is the Bureau of Epidemiology and Public Health Informatics (BEPHI) which consists of numerous programs, including the Kansas Environmental Public Health Tracking Program (KSEPHT) and the Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Response (IDER) section. The IDER section conducts infectious disease surveillance and outbreak investigations, and provides subject matter expertise to local health departments, physicians, veterinarians, and the public. The KSEPHT program works closely with the IDER section and every bureau within the Division of Environment, including the Bureau of Water (BOW) and the Bureau of Environmental Field Services (BEFS) to ensure that the public is protected from harmful algal blooms in recreational waters, lead in drinking water, and conducts non-infectious disease cluster investigations, environmental health surveillance, and other investigations of potential associations between environmental hazards and adverse health outcomes.