4201.0 It's all local: Supporting local environmental health programs

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 12:30 PM
Although the public health workforce is tasked with the addressing core environmental public health functions, recent changes in the environment and advances in population health research have required this sector to adapt; often without the benefit of additional resources or training opportunities. Organizational surveys that assess workforce needs and qualifications are likely to become more frequent as they are recognized as a critical tool for public health program development and sustainment. This session will include an overview of the results from 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. The 52-question survey ranged from responsibility for food protection activities to performing or building capacity for health impact assessments. At least 75% of responding state EH programs reported having responsibility for at least one activity in each of the core environmental public health areas. However, funding decreases have caused two-thirds of state EH programs to lay off employees or decrease full-time employee responsibilities. As funding decreases impact core services, the development of EH programs that oversee emergency response/preparedness, environmental public health tracking and methamphetamine response remains difficult. Within the rural areas in the US, environmental risks continue to be understudied despite increasing recognition that rural populations are potentially exposed to these risks from agricultural, mining, industrial or other sources. Thus, the rural public health workforce must include appropriate environmental health specialists. A recent project using pre-existing data from the National Association County and City Health Officials analyzed the environmental workforce characteristics of the rural public health sector. The results of this survey as well as recommendations will be presented. This sessionís topic will then be summarized within the context of opportunities for EH workforce development while retaining the overall theme of the current, emerging, and future responsibilities of the EH workforce.
Session Objectives: 1) Evaluate the impact of budget cuts on the environmental public health workforce and environmental health services. 2) Discuss trends in the number and qualifications of environmental specialists employed in rural versus urban public health settings. Identify the emerging opportunities for environmental health public health to make a sustained contribution to new/revised policies governing land use, transportation, and air pollution.
Rosemarie G. Ramos, PhD, MPH

12:30 PM
12:50 PM
Environmental workforce characteristics in the rural public health sector
Johnna S. Beane, Cynthia Armstrong Persily, PhD and Mary Glenn Rice
1:30 PM
Public health impacts of state-level biomonitoring programs
Mary A. Fox, PhD, MPH, Megan Weil Latshaw, PhD, MHS and Thomas A. Burke, PhD, MPH

See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.

Organized by: Environment
Endorsed by: Socialist Caucus, American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Caucus

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH) , Masters Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES)

See more of: Environment