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Press Release

October 8, 2002
Contact: CDC, Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

CDC Awards Funds for
Environmental Public Health Tracking

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has taken a significant step toward creating a national environmental public health tracking network by awarding $14.2 million in grants to 20 state and local health departments and three schools of public health.

The goal of CDC's Environmental Public Health Tracking Program is to develop a standards-based environmental public health tracking network that allows direct electronic data reporting and linkage of health effect, exposure and hazard data, which can operate with other public health systems. Health effects include birth defects, developmental disabilities, asthma and chronic respiratory disease, cancer, neurologic diseases, and acute effects such as lead poisoning, pesticide poisoning, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Environmental factors include the broad categories of chemicals, physical agents, biomechanical stressors and biologic toxins.

"This new program provides a strategic opportunity to address some of the most challenging public health problems," said Dr. Julie Gerberding, CDC's Director. "By linking environmental and health data on a national level, we will be better equipped to identify problems and effective solutions, thereby reducing the burden of environment-related diseases on the American people."

These grants will help public health officials to obtain quality data needed to quantify the link between the environment and health. The state and local health departments are being funded to (1) build environmental public health capacity; (2) increase collaboration between environmental and health agencies;(3) identify and evaluate existing data systems;(4) build partnerships with nongovernmental organizations and communities; and (5) develop model systems that link environmental and human health data and that can be applied to other states or localities. These agencies will use this information to develop public health activities aimed at preventing and controlling environmentally-related diseases. The schools of public health, in turn, will support the efforts of state and local health departments and will investigate possible links between health effects and the environment.

This issue was initially identified in a 2001 Pew Environmental Health Commission report called America's Environmental Health Gap: Why the Country Needs a Nationwide Health Tracking Network. In this report, the Commission stated that the existing environmental health system was inadequate and fragmented and recommended a "Nationwide Health Tracking Network for disease and exposures."

Surveys conducted by the Pew Commission in the 50 states and selected local jurisdictions found that many of their public health departments have little capacity for environmental public health tracking. As a result, fundamental information about community health status and environmental exposures often is not available for disease prevention, policy and scientific purposes. Congress responded by appropriating funding for CDC to begin developing and implementing a nationwide environmental public health tracking program and to develop environmental health capacity in state and local health departments. The focus of this effort is on chronic disease and other noninfectious health effects that may be related to environmental exposures.


CDC protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national and international organizations.

Editor's Note: Grantee awards are listed below:

State and Local Health Department Awards

Health Department Amount
California $ 791,578
City of Houston 298,230
Connecticut 565,270
District of Columbia 596,548
Illinois 617,956
Maine 562,624
Maryland 654,870
Massachusetts 681,586
Missouri 798,513
Montana 510,566
Nevada 518,567
New Hampshire 473,000
New Mexico 599,837
New York 762,071
New York City 587,394
Oregon 545,356
Pennsylvania 595,614
Utah 516,615
Washington 692,823
Wisconsin 684,548

Schools of Public Health

School Amount
University of California, Berkeley $ 741,037
Johns Hopkins University 699,033
Tulane University 708,225

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This page last updated October 9, 2002

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