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Partner Profiles: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)


Organizational Mission/Goals

The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to protect human health and the environment. Since 1970, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.

About EPA

In July of 1970, the White House and Congress worked together to establish the EPA in response to the growing public demand for cleaner water, air, and land. Prior to the establishment of the EPA, the federal government was not structured to make a coordinated attack on the pollutants that harm human health and degrade the environment. The EPA was assigned the daunting task of repairing the damage already done to the natural environment and to establish new criteria to guide Americans in making a cleaner environment a reality.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) serves to set forth the authorities, responsibilities, and procedures under which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will seek jointly to advance efforts to achieve mutual environmental public health goals and, in doing so, strengthen the bridge between the environmental and public health communities. In achieving that goal, an expected outcome will be a better understanding of the linkages between environmental hazards, ensuing human exposure, and potential health outcomes so as to better inform environmental and public health policies/decisions and improving the ability to assess the efficacy of such policies and decisions.

As a cornerstone of this collaborative commitment, EPA and HHS will take advantage of ongoing, cross-institutional initiatives to develop and link environmental health information sources, namely the EPA National Environmental Information Exchange Network (NEIEN) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network. The linkage of these two systems will utilize and enhance information technology tools to advance the analysis and dissemination of information obtained to various audiences. This joint effort between EPA and HHS also has the potential to increase environmental and health infrastructure and capacity at the local, state, and national level by coordinating and integrating electronic reporting of hazard, exposure, and health data. These collaborative efforts will also help define critical data gaps, accelerate research to develop, validate, and apply environmental and public health indicators to fill those gaps, and promote training and education opportunities, all of which will lead to further improvements in the linkage of networks.

EPA and states are developing the NEIEN to improve environmental decision-making, improve data quality and accuracy, ensure data security, reduce data redundancy, and reduce burden on those who provide and those who access information. Click here to learn more about the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Information Exchange Network: The Information Integration Initiative.

Partnership Activities with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

EPA and CDC have signed an MOU to achieve mutual environmental goals relative to environmental public health tracking. This MOU went into effect on September 30, 2002, and will remain in effect through June 30, 2007. EPA will work with CDC to strengthen the bridge between environmental and public health communities, and to achieve a better understanding of links between environmental hazards, ensuing human exposure, and potential health outcomes. It will also serve to create a framework for developing and improving HHS and EPA's cooperative working relationships by taking collaborative action in support of both CDC's National Tracking Network and EPA's NEIEN. Specific activities facilitated by this MOU include:

  • Work together and with other federal, state, and local entities in partnership for collecting, developing, and interpreting interagency environmental and public health data.
  • Collaborate on emerging e-commerce practices in an effort to share environmental and public health data between EPA’s NEIEN and CDC’s National Tracking Network.
  • Collaborate on the development and validation of additional environmental public health indicators to better reflect environmental hazard, human exposure, and health outcomes and the linkages between these indicators.
  • Work to share timely and reliable environmental and public health data from the networks to ensure informed decision-making and appropriate response to emergency situations.
  • Consult and inform each other about the dissemination of results obtained through work carried out under this MOU to interested and affected parties.

To read the MOU in its entirety, visit:
http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/tracking/epa_mou.htm.

Contact Information

William A. Sonntag, Jr.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Chief of Staff
Office of Environmental Information
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, MC 2810A
Washington, DC 20460
Phone: (202) 564-3871
sonntag.william@epa.gov

Hal Zenick, PhD
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Associate Director for Health
Office of the Associate Director for Health
National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory
MD B105-01
Research Triangle Park, NC 27711
Phone: (919) 541-2281
Fax: (919) 541-4201
zenick.hal@epa.gov

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