EnvPHPS FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Cover image of the EnvPHPS volume 2.

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

EnvPHPS is a tool to help EH systems or programs assess how well they are providing the 10 Essential Environmental Public Health Services.

Why are these standards needed when we already have the NPHPS?

The National Public Health Performance Standards (NPHPS) have proven useful in evaluating the performance of the overall public health system. EnvPHPS complements NPHPS by allowing for in-depth assessment of issues specific to environmental public health programs and systems.

Who should use EnvPHPS?

EH programs that want to pursue excellence through a performance improvement process can use the instrument.

No program or agency works in isolation or has full authority, responsibility, resources, and capacity to effectively provide the essential services. EH programs are encouraged to include outside individuals and community partners in the assessment when appropriate.

How are the standards used?

EnvPHPS is flexible and can be used at multiple levels. For instance, the standards can be used to focus on a particular program such as food safety, drinking water, or vector control. Or they can be used to assess a specific environmental public health division or department or the entire system. Many programs complete the self-assessment instrument only within their departments. However, holistically assessing an environmental public health system can be beneficial, particularly if other organizations help to deliver services in a community.

How can I integrate EnvPHPS with other performance improvement activities going on in my agency?

The EnvPHPS Self Assessment Tool can help identify service gaps, and action plans to address these deficiencies. This knowledge can inform how EH issues intersect with larger public health 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 EnvPHPS to integrate EH into public health accreditation planning. Health departments seeking accreditation must submit a recent community health assessment, community health improvement plan, and agency strategic plan before applying. 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 helps users

  • 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 standards.
  • 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.

Information obtained from completing the instrument can be used to

  • Track and measure accomplishments.
  • Approach decision-makers with information about steps needed to improve the environmental health system or program.
  • 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 developed an EnvPHPS Assessment Toolkit to help EH programs prepare for, conduct, and follow up on their assessment. The toolkit includes tools such as a sample invitation letter, facilitator guide, voting cards, response analysis tool, report templates, and more.

Who developed EnvPHPS?

An expert panel of environmental health managers developed the standards with input from several organizations, including

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