CDC, the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), and Baylor University are working together on an initiative to assess workforce and practice needs of environmental health (EH) professionals in health departments. Understanding the Needs, Challenges, Opportunities, Vision, and Emerging Roles in Environmental Health (UNCOVER EH) includes both an online survey and in-person workshops with EH professionals to discuss the survey results.

Did You Know?

EH professionals are employed at

85% of local health departments
81% of state health departments
30% of tribal health departments

Describing the workforce helps us
identify gaps in staffing and training and
prepare to meet future challenges.

Why Are CDC and Its Partners Doing This?

We want to hear directly from EH professionals working at health departments about your practice, work, and challenges. This is especially important during a time when health departments are engaging with complex emerging issues and reporting budget cuts and reductions in services.

EH professionals are critical to protecting public health and the environment, yet their efforts often go unnoticed until problems occur (e.g., foodborne outbreaks, vector-borne diseases, contaminated water supplies, disasters). EH professionals help ensure healthy communities, and we need to understand and address the challenges they face.

What Are the Benefits of This Initiative?

We hope this initiative will benefit the EH profession by identifying and documenting current and future EH challenges and workforce issues. EH programs can use this information to shape how they deliver services and prepare the workforce. Leaders and decision makers outside the profession, such as those in nongovernmental organizations, private industry, and other sectors who influence EH practice, can also use the information.

What Does This Initiative Include?

Photo of a people at a circular table with a graph in the middle.

UNCOVER EH has two phases.

  1. Disseminating an online survey to EH professionals working at health departments to collect information about demographics, characteristics, practice areas, and challenges.
  2. Holding in-person workshops with up to 25 EH professionals each to discuss in detail the survey results, identified challenges, and emerging issues.

What Is the Status of UNCOVER EH?

UNCOVER EH results will be made available in 2018.

Want More Information?

Top of Page

Page last reviewed: November 1, 2018