Online Program

Implementing and evaluating beach quality content in environmental public health tracking portals and products

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 12:30 p.m. - 12:50 p.m.

Mark Werner, PhD, Division of Public Health, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Madison, WI
As national and state-based environmental public health tracking (EPHT) portals develop and mature as public health surveillance tools and platforms, significant interest has been generated in the incorporation of new types of environmental health data into EPHT portals to attract new audiences and broaden their utility. To this end, the Wisconsin Division of Public Health has developed new EPHT content on Great Lakes beach quality to increase the relevance of data collected for beach quality surveillance purposes and improve the degree to which these data may inform public health decisions regarding beaches in Great Lakes communities. Based on early stakeholder feedback, content has focused on mean and range E. coli counts, number of beach closure events and number of beach closure days. Feedback on a prototype EPHT module has been obtained from beachgoers, policymakers, public health partners and others. In partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Geological Survey, the ability to provide real-time data to beachgoers and obtain evaluation data from them has been enhanced by the development and launch of a smartphone application that provides daily reports of Great Lakes beach quality data to interested users. Based on this work, a pathway has been constructed to the establishment of beach quality data as exciting new content for EPHT networks at the national, state and local levels. The significant challenge posed by need to include data on beach conditions that can vary widely from day to day has been fully engaged, and significant success has been achieved. It is hoped and anticipated that the range of potential users for EPHT products and platforms that may be gained by attracting users of beach quality data can aid in formulating an effective strategy for sustaining EPHT efforts into the future.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Environmental health sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the benefits and challenges of incorporating beach quality content in environmental public health tracking platforms and products

Keyword(s): Water Quality, Environmental Health Hazards

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have served in lead scientist capacities for both Wisconsin's Environmental Public Health Tracking program and Wisconsin's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Beach Quality Data Enhancement projects.
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.