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EnvPHPS FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Environmental Public Health Performance Standards (EnvPHPS)?

The EnvPHPS are a set of optimal standards modeled after the National Public Health Performance Standards (NPHPS). The EnvPHPS are based on the 10 Essential Environmental Public Health Services that outline the necessary services in an EH System or program to effectively protect and improve environmental health.

Why Are the EnvPHPS Needed When We Already Have the NPHPS?

The EnvPHPS were developed in cooperation with the National Public Health Performance Standards (NPHPS) Program. The NPHPS have proven useful in evaluating the performance of the overall public health system. The EnvPHPS are modeled on the NPHPS and provide an opportunity for a more in-depth assessment of an EH System or program’s performance in providing the Essential Environmental Public Health Services.

Who Should Use the Standards?

Environmental health programs at local, state, territorial, tribal, or federal levels that want to pursue excellence through a performance improvement process. Programs can use the instrument to focus on a particular programmatic area of shared concern such as safe drinking water or vector control or conduct an assessment of their division, or entire EH system.

Additional users of the standards include the range of partners that would be involved if using the instrument to assess the environmental public health system beyond the agency or program level. The environmental public health system refers to the combination of public, private, and voluntary entities that contribute to, share responsibilities for, or impact the delivery of the Essential Environmental Public Health Services.

Environmental health programs are encouraged to consider an assessment process that recognizes that no program or agency works in isolation nor has full authority, responsibility, resources and capacity to effectively provide the essential services. Therefore, including individuals and community partners outside the program or agency can be useful. If a system assessment is conducted, additional partners should be included.

How Are the EnvPHPS Used?

The EnvPHPS can be used at multiple levels. For instance, you can use it to focus on a particular program such as food safety, drinking water, or vector control. You can use it to assess a specific environmental public health division or department, or to examine your entire environmental public health system. Many programs complete the self-assessment instrument only within their departments. However, assessing an environmental public health system as a whole can provide benefits as well, particularly if other organizations help to deliver services in a community.

How Can I Integrate the EnvPHPS with Other Performance Improvement Activities Going On In My Agency?

Integrating EH improvement tools such as EnvPHPS with broader performance improvement initiatives can result in a clearer understanding of how EH issues intersect with larger public health (PH) concerns and the importance of EH involvement in addressing them.

For example, the Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health (PACE EH) guides communities and local health officials in conducting community-based environmental health assessments to identify and address community environmental health issues. PACE EH can be used to prioritize and take action on weaknesses identified in the EnvPHPS assessment.

EH programs have also used the EnvPHPS to integrate EH into public health accreditation planning. Health departments seeking accreditation must submit a recent community health assessment, community health improvement plan (CHIP), and agency strategic plan before applying. The Environmental Public Health Program Self-assessment Instrument [PDF – 686 KB] can be used to identify service gaps, and the action plans to address these deficiencies can be rolled into the larger improvement plan required for accreditation. To further explore ways to improve and align your program with broader public health department initiatives, check out Improving Environmental Public Health Services Performance to Meet Community Needs. [PDF – 1 MB]

What Results Can We Expect from Using EnvPHPS?

EnvPHPS, users are able to

  • assess the capacity of an EH System or program to perform the Essential Environmental Public Health Services,
  • identify critical gaps in performance
  • create an action plan to address gaps and barriers to meet the EnvPHPS, and
  • educate staff and community partners about the role of environmental health in preventing disease and reducing hazards, and the infrastructure necessary to fulfill that role.

The information obtained from completing the instrument can be used to

  • track and measure accomplishment,
  • approach decision-makers with information regarding the steps necessary to improve the environmental health system or program, and
  • justify continued or expanded services, support for training, or additional staff.

What Resources Are Available to Our Agency to Support a Journey to Excellence?

CDC and NACCHO have developed an EnvPHPS Assessment Toolkit to help EH programs prepare for, conduct, and follow-up on their assessment. The toolkit is modeled after the NPHPS toolkit and includes tools such as a sample invitation letter, facilitator guide, voting cards, response analysis tool, report templates, and more.

Who Developed the EnvPHPS?

The EnvPHPS complement the National Public Health Performance Standards, while allowing for in-depth assessment of environmental public health programs and systems. An expert panel of environmental health managers developed the EnvPHPS with input from several organizations, including

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