201358 Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net): A basis for understanding environmental antecedents and contributing factors to outbreaks

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 10:30 AM

Carol Selman, MPH , Environmental Health Services Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Much has been done by food safety program managers to improve their hazard surveillance activities but they do not have the information on environmental antecedents and contributing factors from foodborne outbreak investigations necessary to continually improve hazard surveillance or to develop other food safety actions to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks. A national voluntary environmental assessment information system (NVEAIS) could provide food safety program managers with an information resource that could fill this gap.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net), through its experience in conducting environmental assessments in foodborne outbreaks and reporting the results to CDC as part of its Foodborne Outbreak Study, provides a model for such an information system. To begin a national dialogue on the establishment of a NVEAIS the Conference for Food Protection, in 2008, formed a committee to explore the establishment of such a system.

EHS-Net, organized in 2000, is a collaborative program that includes, nine states, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry representatives. The nine states include California, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, New York, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Tennessee. The network consists of environmental health professionals, epidemiologists and laboratorians who work to understand environmental causes of food and waterborne diseases and to improve environmental public health practice.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the gaps in information on environmental antecedents and contributing factors in our current system of foodborne outbreak reporting and how an NVEAIS could fill those gaps. 2. Describe the specifications of a NVEAIS. 3. Describe the attributes of a NVEAIS. 4. Identify an avenue for participation in the national dialogue regarding the establishment of an NVEAIS.

Keywords: Environmental Health, Disease Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the CDC EHS-Net program team leader and responsible for all EHS-Net activities. I also serve as author on a number of EHS-Net publications. I am the representative to the Conference for Food Protection regarding the issue discussed in this presentation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.