New Mexico Department of Health, Epidemiology Unit
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: C. MACK SEWELL, DRPH, MS
The New Mexico Environmental Health Capacity Building (EHCB) Program has helped to synergize the environmental program in New Mexico by building a stronger relationship with the New Mexico Environmental Department. Ultimately, the delivery of environmental health services in the state was improved. The cooperative agreement also allowed staff to organize a series of statewide meetings and topical networking groups for community groups, citizens, and environmental health professionals, including American Indian environmental health professionals, to identify environmental health needs. The results of these meetings are a strengthened environmental health infrastructure, new collaborative relationships, and the delivery of the ten essential environmental health services.
The goals of the program are to
Products and Outcomes
Capacity-building funding provided support for the following services and products:
- Assessment Study: Corrales Air Quality and Four Corners Ozone/Asthma Assessment Study;
- minigrants and technical assistance to community, pueblo, and tribal health councils to include an environmental health component in their annual community health profiles;
- training materials for indoor air quality assessments; the Community Environmental Health Assessment Toolbox for New Mexico; cancer surveillance materials on CD-ROM and online; environmental health fact sheets specific to New Mexico; New Mexico Cancer Atlas; and a statewide environmental health newsletter;
- statewide planning for risk assessments and groundwater or residential wells;
- environmental health tracks established at annual public health and environmental health conferences;
- online New Mexico Environmental Health Resource Directory, environmental health indicators specific to New Mexico; and
- Environmental Health Coordinating Council consisting of environmental health agency leaders, advocacy groups, tribal environmental health professionals, associations, universities, and border health, to provide leadership for capacity building in environmental health.
Impact to the Community
The project increased the awareness and knowledge of environmental health issues in environmental public health professionals, strengthened the community environmental health assessment process, analyzed environmental health data, created stronger links with the New Mexico Environmental Department, prioritized environmental health issues, and improved response to environmental health inquiries. These improvements increased the availability of surveillance data for diagnosing and investigating environmental health problems and health hazards.
Feedback from Customers
“The EHCB Program has begun to raise awareness of the depth and complexity of EH [environmental health] issues in the state and the range of competencies that EH professionals must have. It has also furthered the link between EH and PH [public health] both at the community level and at the professional level.”—Kristine Suozzi, PhD, Director, Bernalillo County Environmental Health Office