Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, R13-OH-008565, 2010 Nov; :1-21
The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) Annual Conference is a national scientific meeting that brings together leaders of applied epidemiology from federal, state, territorial, and local public health agencies. Participants are provided the opportunity to weigh in on national policy discussions and decisions. The conference includes an occupational health (OH) track that provides epidemiologists working in states an opportunity for workforce development and is a mechanism for state OH programs to share their work. This conference also offers an important and unique opportunity for OH epidemiologists to network across disciplines such as environmental health, injury, and emergency preparedness and to promote the integration of OH into mainstream public health practice. Thus, the expected outcome is a better prepared, trained, and directed public health epidemiology workforce to address the most pressing morbidity and mortality issues facing occupational health practitioners. The overall goal of the CSTE annual conference is to provide an effective forum for sharing knowledge on the application of disease and injury prevention and health promotion through the use of effective public health surveillance and good epidemiologic practice. This knowledge is shared at the conference during pre-conference workshops, plenary discussions, breakout and poster sessions as well as roundtable discussions. This annual scientific conference is the major forum for discussing opportunities, challenges, and advances in practicing epidemiology in states, thereby facilitating improvements in state-based public health surveillance. The objectives of the State-Based Occupational Health Surveillance Meeting award were to: 1. To provide a resource dense forum and educational experience for occupational health epidemiologists to present and discuss findings and recommendations on specific occupational health topics during pre-conference workshops, plenary discussion, breakout and poster sessions, and roundtable discussions. 2. To provide an environment for networking with peers working in state, local, and federal health agencies to promote information sharing within the occupational health community and collaboration between occupational health and other public health disciplines. 3. To support policy discussions, for example, nationally notifiable diseases and conditions, electronic health records, electronic disease reporting, surveillance systems initiatives and CSTE Position Statements. Project objectives were met through the occupational health track at the annual conference, which includes a day-long Sunday pre-conference training workshop; seventeen breakout sessions, multiple poster sessions, and three roundtables where occupational epidemiologists working in the states present their work including successes, lessons learned, challenges and other surveillance findings. In the last five years, 240 occupational health epidemiologists have been awarded travel support to attend the CSTE annual conference. Every year, an average of 48 epidemiologists is awarded travel support to attend the conference as a result of this cooperative agreement award. In the occupational health track, there have been 46 poster presentations and 89 occupational health sessions, including oral presentations and roundtables. The information shared during the conference often initiates new endeavors and accelerates progress towards new surveillance collaborations. Every annual conference provides an opportunity for NIOSH surveillance program colleagues to engage occupational health state-based surveillance partners in discussions of occupational lung disease, adult blood lead epidemiology and surveillance, and pesticide poisoning surveillance and case coding exercises. As a result of the annual conference being a forum for information sharing, important collaborations and partnerships have been formed, including joint publications, working groups, integration with other CSTE committees, position statements specific to occupational health, indicators for surveillance, national meetings, and data demonstration projects. Occupational health participation in general surveillance and policy discussions at the annual conference have led to inclusion of non-infectious conditions of occupational health significance on the nationally notifiable conditions listing and have led to further involvement in the national discussion on electronic medical records.
C. Mack Sewell, State Epidemiologist, New Mexico Department of Health, 1190 St. Francis Drive, Room N-1350, Santa Fe, NM 87502