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2001–2004 Projects

Island County (Washington) Health Department

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: TIMOTHY LEO MCDONALD

Program Description
Island County is actively building capacity in environmental health through the Island County Environmental Health Initiative (ICEHI). ICEHI will increase capacity within the community by developing partnerships and improving public understanding of environmental health issues. ICEHI also builds capacity within the health department by focusing on data issues and workforce development.

Goals and Objectives
The ultimate goal of ICEHI is to involve the community in assessing and prioritizing environmental health needs based on data and to develop solutions to community concerns. Specific goals of ICEHI include the following:

  • increase capacity in the 10 essential Environmental Health Services in Island County,
  • implement a community-based environmental health assessment using the Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health (PACE EH),
  • measure a range of environmental health indicators,
  • increase data storage and retrieval capacity,
  • make policy recommendations based on data and community input,
  • develop new relationships with the public, and
  • educate staff and the community.

Products and Outcomes
Project outcomes included the following:

  • implemented a community-based PACE EH project in Island County;
  • completed a baseline mosquito surveillance study;
  • improved the environmental health department’s data storage and retrieval capacity;
  • developed plan and policy recommendations based on data, health indicators, and standards;
  • developed health information bulletins for various environmental health issues;
  • developed a training database; and
  • provided training to environmental health staff and community members.

Impact to the Community
As a result of this project, the community began thinking about environmental health issues from a science-based perspective. This project also helped build trust and good working relationships between the community and the Island County Health Department. The health department has mobilized a community-based Environmental Health Assessment Team (EHAT). All team members were appointed by the Island County Board of Health, reflecting the political support that this project has garnered. EHAT interacts regularly with the local board of health to ensure that elected officials have the opportunity to discuss environmental health issues and potential solutions. EHAT also helped to construct a policy development procedure between elected officials and citizens with regard to environmental health issues.

Feedback from Customers
“The Capacity Building grant is allowing the Island County Health Department to significantly improve data collection and management capacity. That enhanced ability is allowing our community to assess and prioritize environmental issues based on science rather than emotion.”—R.S. Case, MD, Island County Health Officer

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