Northwest/Plains States Regional Academic Environmental Public Health Center Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, University of Washington
The purpose of the Northwest/Plains States Regional Academic Environmental Health Center is to assist local, state, and tribal environmental health units develop their capacity to provide effective, state-of-the art environmental public health programs. The center aims to do this by conducting trainings, developing training modules, conducting workforce assessments, and providing technical assistance.
The center encourages environmental health personnel and organizations to
- incorporate the 10 Essential Services of Environmental Health;
- understand and address the six National Center for Environmental Health/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) environmental public health services revitalization goals; and
- strengthen their ability to practice the 14 core environmental health competencies.
The center has provided on-site or interactive Web-based training to all nine states in our region. Trainings have also been provided to U.S. Indian Health Service personnel at three locations.
Information about our center’s projects, activities, and services has been presented and distributed at national, regional, state, and local environmental and pubic health meetings.
The center has worked with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide information to national field representatives about the incorporation of the FDA food standards into the essential services.
Training Module Development
The center is developing training modules requested by the environmental health representatives from the region.
One of the center’s barriers was the lack of consensus about the definition of “capacity.”
What Is Next
Two training modules are being developed by the center to help nationwide environmental health units enhance their capacity through environmental health program evaluation and environmental health communication.
The evaluation module will use the CDC evaluation process and apply it to environmental health practice. The module will present the six-step process through scenarios depicting issues faced by environmental health professionals in their jobs.
The communication module will focus on the four environmental health core competencies relating to communication. It will be aimed at front-line staff. The case study will illustrate how the principles can be applied in practice. Both modules will be about 1 hour in length and will be Web based. They will be available for distribution later this year. We will also continue to offer trainings and technical assistance from our center.
The evaluation and communication modules will be available nationally through the center’s Web site: http://www.nwcphp.org/training/courses.
- Seventy-five U.S. Indian Health Service (IHS) environmental health officers and tribal representatives were trained on the essential services, PACE EH, and how to respond to emergency situations. IHS is now using the essential services to do their area consults and at least 10 tribes are now starting the PACE EH process.
- Partnership established with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on integrating the essential services with the FDA food standards. Activities include a national conference call with the FDA retail food committee and a presentation at a regional FDA conference in Boise to explain the integration.
- Partnership established with the Montana and Washington environmental public health tracking networks. This includes training six agencies in Montana on the use of PACE EH to develop indicators to measure performance and assess health and environmental status in their communities.
- Input gathered on the needs of environmental health practitioners representing nine states to enhance their organizational capacity. Issues identified by these representatives included training on program evaluation and communication. Training modules have been or are in the process of being developed as a result of these requests. At least 15 individuals (agencies) received online training on how to conduct environmental health program evaluations. Training on conducting environmental health evaluations at the Montana Public Health Summer Institute was conducted in June 2007.
- Twenty-five public health personnel in Montana were trained about the practice of environmental health, including the essential services, PACE EH, program planning and evaluation, and emergency response.
- Twenty-two undergraduate students were taught about the practice of environmental health (including essential services and PACE EH).
- Twenty environmental health and public health nursing practitioners from state and local health departments were trained on the connection of environmental health and public health nursing at the week-long Seattle (University of Washington) Public Health Institute.
- Initial training conducted for Multnomah Health Department staff about the Healthy Homes project in Portland, Oregon.
- Sixty fellows at the Environmental Public Health Leadership Institute were taught about the Essential Services of Environmental Health and Performance Standards. These fellows incorporated the essential services into their final projects.
- The Island County, Washington, Community Environmental Health Advisory Committee was trained on the essential services.
- Coordinated and developed community health assessments training with EPA (CARE) project.
- Distribution of Essential Services of Environmental Health CD-ROMs continues.