Celebrating 20 Years of CDC’s Environmental Public Health Tracking

Man and woman looking over the shoulder of young woman using laptop computer outside with text "Environmental Public Health Tracking - Celebrating 20 Years"

Since 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Environmental Health, Division of Environmental Health Science and Practice, Environmental Public Health Tracking Program (Tracking Program) has provided the United States with accurate and timely standardized information from a nationwide network of environmental health data to help drive actions to improve the health of communities.

With 20 years of program successes, our understanding of the connections between public health and the environment is vastly improved. By collecting, integrating, analyzing, and disseminating non-infectious disease, environmental, and socio-economic data from a collective of national, state, and local partners, CDC’s Tracking Program has empowered public health practitioners, healthcare providers, community members, policy makers, and others to make information-driven decisions that affect their health.

Better Information for Better Health

The Tracking Program has worked to develop tools, create resources, and share expertise across a variety of data topics. As innovators in our field, the Tracking Program’s Data Explorer tool was one of the first online systems to allow users to view environment and health data side-by-side. Since then, we have become leaders in data modernization and developed other data tools such as topic-specific dashboards, our application program interface (API), and data visualization embedding (DVE) to continue to provide better information for better health.

Data to Action

CDC currently funds 33 state and local tracking programs as a part of the Tracking Network. Through our recipients and network of experts and partners who are committed to improving health outcomes, Tracking data and activities have informed numerous success stories and over 500 public health actions in communities across the country. And, as we move forward, the Tracking Network has the potential to empower more organizations to save lives and protect health.

Tracking milestones through the years

As we look back on the milestones and accomplishments of the Tracking Program over the past 20 years, we also look toward the future. We established a new strategic plan and a mission to provide information from a nationwide network of integrated health and environmental data that drives actions to improve health.  We look forward to our vision for a world where data-informed decisions create healthy communities.

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    Pew Commission publishes report: America’s Environmental Health Gap

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    CDC & the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) propose plan for environmental public health tracking network

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    CDC funding begins, followed by years of pilot projects and capacity building

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    Network implementation begins with 16 states and 1 city

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    Design changes to the user interface and animated maps

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    Info by Location debuts to provide visually-enhanced data by county or zip code

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    Data Explorer v2.0 upgraded to HTML5 and allows for side-by-side data displays; launch of the first-annual Tracking Awareness Week; API released

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    Tracking provides grant funding to 25 states and one city

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    Tracking’s first dashboard, the Heat & Health Tracker launches; Data Explorer v3.0 brings major data and features upgrades and paves the way for DVE

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    Release of Environmental Justice and Melanoma dashboards; COVID-19 community transmission data embedded on CDC’s COVID Tracker and other web sites has resulted in 11+ million queries

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    New grant awards funding to 33 recipients; publication of new strategic plan