Of Oregon’s 4+ million residents, 65% live in urban areas, with the remainder living in rural or remote areas. Each community faces unique issues requiring different resources to address environmental exposures and health concerns. Environmental Public Health (EPH) surveillance improves the evidence base for developing, implementing and evaluating interventions that minimize exposure risk and promote health and wellbeing.
Since 2003, Oregon EPH Tracking (Oregon Tracking) has provided core EPH surveillance capacity to bring together demographic, built and natural environment, environmental exposure and health outcome data and present them publicly via an interactive portal. We leverage Tracking data, tools, technology and expertise into collaborative efforts to create public health action.
Oregon Tracking envisions becoming a nationally recognized model for EPH information science. We will provide stakeholders and communities reliable and relevant data to inform public health policies that improve health and equity for all Oregonians.
We will do this by:
* Creating and maintaining a data explorer that is informative, user-friendly, adaptable and flexible.
* Developing equity-centered environmental health evidence and resources.
* Providing technical expertise for the ongoing and emerging needs of our partners and stakeholders, including state and local public health.
* Working together and supporting each other to maintain a positive work environment and cohesive team.
Oregon Tracking is poised to achieve this vision with support from CDC’s EPH Tracking Program.
This funding opportunity supports core EPH surveillance capacity enabling Oregon Tracking and our partners to better understand the intersection between health and environment and improve decision making. This opportunity would enhance our capacity to add datasets, build and maintain visualizations for our modernized data portal, build the EPH workforce, and help our partners modernize critical Environmental Health Service (EHS) information systems and enhance their surveillance and outreach capacity. Conversion of EPH data to public health action supports efforts to help communities improve health outcomes.
We intend to accomplish the following outcomes during the project period.
Short term (1-2 years):
* Surveillance – Increase data monitoring of environmental health topics; improve completeness, timeliness and quality of EPH data; increase surveillance of environmental health disparities.
* Information technology – Improve information technology and tools to meet partner EPH information needs via Oregon Tracking’s Data Explorer; modernize the Oregon Radon Awareness Program information systems, a critical EHS system.
* Partnerships – Increase stakeholder inclusion in data sharing, communication and response; increase collaboration with stakeholders to reduce health disparities.
* Outreach/communication – Increase provision of EPH information using communication best practices to appropriate audiences.
* Program capacity – Increase knowledge and ability among Oregon Tracking workforce; increase capacity to provide technical assistance to advance EPH interventions.
* Program evaluation/performance measurement – Improve completeness, timeliness and quality of evaluation data.
Intermediate term (3-4 years): Increase use of EPH data among public health practitioners and environmental professionals to develop and deliver informed programs, prioritized interventions and policies to address EPH issues (for example, health outcomes related to wildfire smoke and extreme weather events and helping develop an Oregon environmental justice mapping tool to support natural resource policy development); improve identification, monitoring and addressing of health disparities.
Achievement of the short and intermediate term outcomes will address long-term goals of reduced environmental exposures and related health effects and reduced environmental health disparities.