As a participant of the National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network, the Louisiana Department of Health (DHH) is providing researchers, health experts, and the public access to data about how the environment affects public health through a new, online data network for Environmental Public Health Tracking.
This new resource is located at lepht.dhh.la.gov and is Louisiana's comprehensive source of environmental data related to public health. Louisiana was one of 25 states to receive competitive funding from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop such a network. In August, the CDC awarded LDH with continuation funding, equipping the Department to continue updating and enhancing the tool over the next three years. The site can be used to search for information and data on asthma, childhood lead poisoning, air quality, water quality and other environmental indicators for public health that have been identified by the CDC. LDH also elected to include information specific to Louisiana, such as fish advisories and occupational health indicators. Data can be viewed online in tables, graphs, maps and reports and is also available for download and to print.
"Time and time again, understanding how the environment affects public health has led our society to take action in order to keep us safe from previously unknown threats, such as removing lead from paint and gasoline, placing carbon monoxide detectors in homes and providing local air quality health alerts," said J.T. Lane, Assistant Secretary for Public Health. "The comprehensive tracking and cataloging of these data will help health researchers and professionals learn more about health conditions related to the environment and improve treatment plans or prevention measures. This is a win for not only Louisiana's health researchers, but also for our families and national research efforts."
Data from all members of the National Tracking Network are available on the CDC's website http://ephtracking.cdc.gov/. This information helps CDC and its partners to compare data, identify trends across the country, and conduct more in-depth studies and to encourage and promote public health actions. Health agencies can also use this data to identify environmental hazards and exposures that may lead to illness in order to improve local public health response.
In addition to making data available to the public and researchers, the CDC has also partnered with the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) to educate health professions on the benefits and uses of the program by creating the Environmental Public Health Tracking 101 webinar. This webinar is available to all health care providers at no cost, and nurses and health educators can receive continuing education credits for the training. Health care providers and other professionals who are interested in enrolling in Tracking 101 can visit www.neha.org/tracking.html and follow the instructions under "Environmental Public Health Tracking 101."
LDH has also developed an electronic mailing list to provide local health care providers with updates to both Louisiana's and the nation's tracking programs. For more information or to receive program updates, contact the LDH Tracking Team at 1-888-293-7020 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information is also available at lepht.dhh.la.gov.
The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's Twitter account and Facebook.