Performance Improvement 2001. Integrating Environmental Health and Public Health Services: The Changing Role of Local Health Departments


This paper examines the changing role of local health departments in environmental health protection and prevention, highlighting innovative programs in select health departments around the country. This paper is based on work performed under the study, Assessing Changes in Public Health Functions and Policy Issues. As part of this study, Mathematica Policy Research (MPR) conducted two rounds of site visits to 12 local health departments in communities throughout the country. Information was collected on the extent to which health departments were providing the 10 essential services of public health in various programmatic areas. In addition the environmental health director at each health department was interviewed to determine the extent to which each environmental health programs provides the 10 essential services. The results indicate the majority of the environmental health programs concentrate their resources in 2 of the 10 essential services: enforcement of environmental regulations and monitoring and surveillance. There are, however, three areas in which local health departments have been able to offer additional essential services by integrating traditional environmental services into a broader public health context. The first is through the expansion of community education and outreach and the second area is the community-based aspect of diagnosis and assessment of health hazards.

AGENCY SPONSOR: Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

FEDERAL CONTACT: Matthew Guidry, 202-401-7780

PIC ID: 6325.1

PERFORMER: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., Washington, DC