The Connecticut Environmental Public Health Tracking Consortium (Consortium) was established in 2002 as the first step in planning and developing the state’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Network. Members of the Consortium were experts who represented a diverse group of individuals from the health, environmental, business and community sectors. The goals of the Consortium were:
- To prioritize environmental and health concerns in CT
- To advise the state in its development of a statewide system for tracking and monitoring environmental toxins and disease
- To develop a plan for the implementation of this system
- To prioritize key tasks/projects in building this system
The Consortium’s work was done predominantly through two committees – the Assessment Committee and the Database Committee. The Assessment Committee was charged with assessing the major environmental and public health issues in Connecticut. The goals of the Database Committee were to provide advice and recommendations on the compilation of information about current relevant state and local public health surveillance and environmental systems, develop strategies to obtain information about data systems outside DPH and DEP, assist in the development
The recommendations of the two committees were incorporated into the final report of the Consortium, “A New Strategic Direction: A Plan to Implement Environmental Public Health Tracking in Connecticut”. The final report of the Consortium contained six recommendations (see below) that would guide CT in directing limited resources to the tasks most likely to result in long-term environment and health benefits for the residents of CT.
Continue the commitment to environmental public health tracking by convening a new Consortium to inform and advise the CT DEP and CT DPH on Environmental Public Health Tracking and to assist in the implementation of the following recommendations
Develop coordinated systems to systematically track chronic diseases and other adverse health outcomes and develop coordinated systems to systematically track environmental exposures.
Seek to explore emerging risks and links identified by public health and environmental science and concerns brought forth by the public.
Develop an equivalent to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in Connecticut, with affiliated biomonitoring, to allow tracking of both non-infectious diseases and exposure to environmental agents
Identify past, present, and future land use and development patterns use as an integral data and information base for the environmental public health tracking initiative
Initiate EPHT efforts in Connecticut through the development/enhancement of data systems and trial linkages for the following initial areas of prioritized health and environmental topics: asthma, lead, cardiovascular, cancer, pesticides, and water.
Mission: The EPHTPC Assessment Committee will assess the major environmental and public health issues in Connecticut.
Goal 1: Identify and review existing secondary assessments.
Objective 1: Inventory existing assessments of environmental and health outcome concerns of CT residents and assess for assumptions, impact, and utility.
Objective 2: Conduct a literature review regarding environmental and health concerns.
Goal 2: Identify important constituents/interests not currently represented or collected among secondary assessments.
Goal 3: Develop strategy to obtain primary data to fill those gaps.
Objective 1: Survey population on their health and environmental concerns.
Objective 2: Survey representative groups for additional input on key concerns.
Goal 4: Evaluate and synthesize all above information to develop a prioritized list of environmental and health concerns from this variety of sources.
Mission: The EPHTPC Database Committee will provide advice and guidance on developing a tool to create a database inventory. The Database Committee will evaluate the potential for data linkages between environmental factors and human health outcomes in Connecticut. The Database Committee will respond to the findings of the Assessment Committee to develop a joint environmental/health effect hypothesis for evaluation in the future.
Goal 1: Provide advice and recommendations on the compilation of information about current relevant state/local public health surveillance and environmental systems.
Objective 1: Establish/Develop an inventory template for use in surveying and describing individual systems.
Objective 2: Assist in developing a process/approach to prioritize data systems for inventorying.
Objective 3: Develop strategies to obtain information about data systems outside DEP and DPH.
Goal 2: Assist in the evaluations of the quality and condition of the inventoried databases.
Objective 1: Review the report on the agencies’ databases inventory to verify identified gaps and related strengths and weaknesses.
Objective 2: Differentiate the need for adjustment of data element collection within existing databases from the need for new sampling tools.
Goal 3: Assist in the development of a methodology to identify potential linkages between environmental and health effects databases.
Objective 1: Identify and validate common database characteristics of environmental and health databases that would allow linkage of data.
Objective 2: Provide the Assessment Committee with the agencies database inventory reports.
Objective 3: Respond to the findings of the Assessment Committee regarding particular identified health concerns within Connecticut, identifying applicable databases.
Goal 4: Develop recommendations relative to key issues and concerns in linking and integrating systems.
Objective 1: Identify issues and provide recommendations to be considered/addressed in integrating/linking databases including but not limited to: updating and maintaining databases, privacy, access, common standards, protocols and procedures for data collection, legislation, data and architectural standards, and training in both populating and interpreting databases.