University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health—Illinois Community of Excellence in Environmental Health
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: DANIEL HRYHORCZUK, MD, MPH
The Illinois Center of Excellence in Environmental Health (CEEH) is one of the Great Lakes Centers for Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health. The mission of the center is to lead and support the development of a community of excellence in environmental health in Illinois by building partnerships with local and state environmental health stakeholders, especially departments of public health. Health department partners include the Chicago Department of Health, Illinois Department of Public Health, and Oak Park Department of Health. Other CEEH partners include U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5, the Illinois Poison Center, and the Illinois Environmental Council.
Goals and Objectives
Specific goals of the program are to
- establish a Community of Excellence in Environmental Health Task Force;
- build partnerships with local and state health departments;
- build the capacity of CEEH health department partners to respond to environmental health challenges through training;
- build the capacity of the CEEH Health Hazard Evaluation program to respond to outbreaks of environmental illness;
- establish a pilot grants research program to promote public health department-initiated environmental health research; and
- assist public health agencies in improving environmental health through the Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health (PACE EH) process.
Products and Outcomes
CEEH online training includes the following:
- a seven-module basic environmental health practitioner course, and
- 16 Webcasts on selected environmental health topics.
Two hundred thirteen individuals have taken one or more of the online offerings. The program has conducted eight classroom courses, workshops, and conferences for over 350 participants.
Five health hazard evaluations were conducted: indoor air quality in a school, lead in children’s play area, bioaerosol contamination of a public building, assistance to CDC in an outbreak involving a fungal pathogen, and evaluation of potential asbestos contamination of a public beach. CEEH is in the process of awarding two pilot research grants: impact of a resident education program in prevention of West Nile virus infection (Oak Park) and impact of resident education of environmental issues in homes (Chicago). CEEH supports the PACE EH process at two local health departments: Oak Park and the Rogers Park Community in the City of Chicago.
Impact to the Community
The greatest impact of this program has been in involving the School of Public Health as an active partner in addressing the real environmental health concerns of Illinois citizens, primarily through our task force and health hazard evaluation program. CEEH has also helped build the capacity of local health departments through training, research training, and the PACE EH process.
Feedback from Customers
“The Illinois Center of Excellence in Environmental Health is a valuable resource to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Our two agencies have collaborated on many public health projects through an established program, the Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program. The HHE program provides valuable health benefits to the public, health professionals, and workers in the state by combining the expertise of nurses, toxicologists, industrial hygienists, epidemiologists, environmental health practitioners, and other health professionals employed by the two agencies.”—Mike Moomey, Director, Division of Environmental Health, Illinois Department of Public Health