234995 Results of the 2010 state environmental health director survey

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 12:30 PM

Kerry Wyss, MEM , Environmental Health, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Arlington, VA
Lindsey Realmuto, MPH , Environmental Health, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Arlington, VA
This presentation summarizes the results of the 2010 State Environmental Health Director (SEHD) Survey. The survey was developed by environmental health staff at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) to gain a better understanding of each state's environmental health (EH) program and to enhance communication among SEHDs. Four states piloted the survey in early July 2010 and it was distributed to the entire SEHD group in mid-July 2010. The survey contained 52 questions ranging from responsibility for food protection activities to performing or building capacity for health impact assessments (HIA). A total of 47 states and one territory responded to the survey, covering all ten Health and Human Service regions. The results of the survey demonstrate wide variability in state EH programs. Seventy-five percent or more of responding state EH programs reported having responsibility for at least one activity in each of the following program areas: indoor air quality (92%), risk assessment (85%), public water supply (81%), environmental monitoring (77%), food protection (77%), and recreational water (75%). Eighty-two percent of state EH directors said their program had been involved in an emergency response event in the past twelve months. Funding decreases have caused two-thirds of state EH programs to lay off employees or decrease full-time employee responsibilities. Budget cuts also caused 29% of states to eliminate one or more entire programs within their environmental health program, while 63% reduced environmental health services. State EH programs also identified new activities that included, but were not limited to, climate change and public health adaptation planning, environmental public health tracking and methamphetamine response. The results of the 2010 SEHD survey can help state EH programs identify and contact other states who have similar program responsibilities, share best practices, and learn more about emerging EH issues in other states.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1) Describe the responsibilities of state environmental health programs across all 10 Health and Human Service Regions. 2) Identify emerging priority areas for state environmental health programs. 3) Evaluate the impact of budget cuts on the environmental public health workforce and environmental health services.

Keywords: Environmental Health, Survey

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I oversee the Environmental Health team at ASTHO and work with the State Environmental Health Directors group.
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.