Environmental Health Data Modernization

At a glance

  • CDC’s Data Modernization Initiative (DMI) is part of a national effort.
  • The purpose of data modernization is to create modern, integrated, and real-time public health data and surveillance.
  • The Environmental Public Health Tracking Program works to enhance and expand DMI efforts across the country.
Streams of colored light representing data


The ultimate goal of CDC’s Data Modernization Initiative (DMI) is to get better, faster, actionable insights for decision making at all levels of public health.

DMI is relatively new to CDC. However, the Tracking Program has been working toward this goal since the program began in 2002.

Tracking's data modernization efforts bring together state, tribal, local, and territorial public health jurisdictions and private and public sector partners. The purpose is to improve the collection, integration, dissemination, and application of timely, local environmental health data.


The Tracking Program's key partner is the Water, Food, and Environmental Health Services Branch (WFEHSB). These programs work to enhance and expand environmental health data modernization efforts across the country.

In fiscal year 2021, these programs provided $2.25 million for data modernization projects. Eleven Tracking Program jurisdictions received funding. Their projects focused on modernizing the collection, integration, dissemination, and application of timely, local environmental health data.

Goals of the data modernization projects

Develop and maintain effective partnerships.

Make data sharing easier.

Develop sustainable and modernized IT infrastructure and processes related to Environmental Health Services (EHS) data.

Project Summaries


California updated their Traffic Tool with data 2019 and 2020 data from the California Department of Transportation. This traffic monitoring dataset is accessible to the public, researchers, and environmental health services for traffic-related decision making.


Connecticut found that it was difficult for food inspectors to keep certifications current. To help address this issue, they developed a system to automate certifications. This will enable inspectors to keep their food inspection certifications up-to-date easier and quicker than before.


Florida helped provide new mapping functionality to the state Bureau of Environmental Health’s (BEH) webpage for reports and data on environmental health services inspections. With the new functionality, BEH is able to display data for specific addresses. This allows users to easily view environmental health facilities data by location.


Kentucky assessed data priorities among regional and departmental epidemiologists. The purpose was to identify data to add to their state tracking program’s data portal, making it more accessible to public health professionals and the public. Most recently, they integrated state Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring Systems data—a dataset that was difficult to access. Now, anyone can easily view maternal child health statistics for 2017-2019.


Maryland identified two potential solutions to incorporate separate local health department data into one integrated data management system at the state level. The integrated system allows public and private partners access to statewide environmental health data in one place.


Michigan collaborated with the Maryland Tracking Program to establish a data use agreement to share private drinking water data between the jurisdictions. This partnership helped create opportunities for additional data sharing and integration between these two states.

New Mexico

New Mexico collaborated with the Maryland Tracking Program to understand how to integrate septic system data into their data systems. This partnership helped both states develop a new set of data standards for their septic data and provided more opportunities for data sharing across their jurisdictions.

New York City

New York City developed a content management system to make narrative content, such as data stories and annual reports, more accessible to non-technical users and users from diverse backgrounds. Increasing accessibility to these data creates a more well-informed public and increases the level of accountability between the city health department and its constituents.


Oregon built an IT framework to update their Domestic Well Safety Information System. This system connects water samples to their testing voucher laboratory invoice. The new streamlined process allows the public to acquire vouchers for well water testing sooner than they have before.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island is improving their geographic information system (GIS) capacity. As a first step, they presented the current state of their statewide GIS systems to key partners to get a better understanding of what functions these groups would like to gain as a part of this project.


Washington aligned their work with new legislation requiring the testing of drinking water for lead at all Washington state K–12 public schools. These test results will be used by schools to support future grant applications to address lead contamination in their water systems. They also will provide a stronger public health infrastructure by using data to inform new policies.