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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Developing computer mapping tools for public access to environmental health information

Kathleen Attfield, BS, Theresa Kennedy, BS, Allan Just, ScB, Sharon Gray, MA, MS, Ruthann Rudel, MS, and Julia Green Brody, PhD. Silent Spring Institute, 29 Crafts Street, Newton, MA 02458, 617-332-4288, attfield@silentspring.org

Maps are a powerful tool to identify spatial disparities in health and grasp relationships between disease and environmental characteristics. Often, community environmental health concerns are first expressed in maps. In a National Library of Medicine-supported demonstration project, Silent Spring Institute developed a web-based, interactive mapping tool, the Massachusetts Health and Environmental Information System (MassHEIS), that serves the dual goals of community access to health and environmental information and researcher access to underlying datasets developed in the Institute's Cape Cod Breast Cancer and Environment Study and by state, federal, and other nonprofit sources. Users can: (1) view pre-assembled maps for their area; (2) independently explore relationships among the factors; and (3) explore FAQs and links to outside contextual information for interpreting the maps. For example, a pre-assembled asthma map displays the geographic distributions of asthma hospitalizations, transportation corridors, and air quality measures and provides links to asthma studies from PubMed, ATSDR information on environmental triggers, and the Environmental Defense Scorecard ranking of the community's pollution levels. Technical users may download or interactively access the geographic information systems (GIS) data and metadata via ArcIMS web services. We will demonstrate MassHEIS and discuss the factors involved in developing a presentation format suitable for communicating complex data to many levels of user, providing appropriate context for interpretation of the data, protecting privacy, and incorporating the input of potential users in the development and assessment of the tool. MassHEIS is a model for other research teams and state and national health tracking efforts.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Environmental Health, Internet Tools

Related Web page: www.silentspring.org

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Tools for Tracking and Protecting Environmental Public Health

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA