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A National Strategy to Revitalize Environmental Public Health Services

This page provides information about the revitalization strategy developed in 2003 by CDC and external partners.

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In November 2000, the Department of Health and Human Services published objectives for improving the nation’s health, Healthy People 2010. It stated that:

“various reports and evaluations have described the continuing deterioration of the national public health system; health departments are closing, technology and information systems are outmoded, emerging and drug-resistant diseases threaten to overwhelm resources, and serious training inadequacies weaken the capacity of the public health workforce to address new threats and adapt to changes in the health care market,” and “all public health services depend on the presence of basic infrastructure.”

In response to the recognized need for A National Strategy to Revitalize Environmental Public Health Services (PDF [990 KB]), the Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services of the National Center for Environmental Health formed a steering committee that spearheaded a process and will be responsible for developing and implementing the final strategy.

The strategy was developed with the participation of a 31-member External Partners Working Group representing the environmental public health and protection practice community; special populations; academia; advocacy groups; and representatives of other CDC centers, institutes, and offices, as well as the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. The draft strategy was then reviewed by more than 100 additional environmental health and public health experts and advocacy organizations.

The strategy is a starting point for rejuvenating the environmental health system at the federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local levels in the United States. The implementation of the goals, objectives, and activities described in the strategy will enhance our ability to achieve CDC’s vision for the 21st Century: Healthy People in a Healthy World—Through Prevention. Many of the activities described in the strategy build on existing or developing efforts or are in the planning stages. All will require building and improving long-term strategic partnerships, commitments by all stakeholders, and additional resources.

The strategy’s goals are

  1. Build capacity
  2. Support research
  3. Foster leadership
  4. Communicate and market
  5. Develop the workforce
  6. Create strategic partnerships

A National Strategy to Revitalize Environmental Public Health Services (PDF [990 KB] or Webcast) is a working document that will be modified over time. The next step is to identify needed resources, organize and implement activities described in the strategic plan, and create a timeline for the accomplishment of objectives.

Suggested Reading Related to Revitalization of EH Services

Blake R. Revitalization: Are We There Yet? [PDF - 143 KB] J Environ Health. 2007;70(4):47-48.

Uniformed Services Environmental Public Health Careers Work Group. Career resource guide for uniformed services environmental health practitioners [PDF - 3 MB]. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2007. [CAPT Mike Herring, CAPT Charles S. Otto, III, CAPT Craig Shepherd, RS, MPH, Daneen Farrow-Collier, CAPT John Sarisky]

Buchanan S. Revisiting revitalization [PDF - 262 KB]. J Environ Health. 2006;68(6):69–70.

American Public Health Association. Partners advancing CDC strategy: revitalization of environmental public health services on agenda [PDF - 400 KB]. The Nation’s Health. 2004;8.

National Conference of State Legislatures. Revitalizing environmental health services [PDF - 240 KB]. Environ Health Ser. 2003;8:1–7.

Jukes G, Jackson RJ, Meehan P. Special Grand Rounds: Revitalizing the environmental health services system. 2002. [Web presentations]

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