Examining the front lines of local environmental public health practice: A Maryland case study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Local environmental public health (EPH) is the foundation of a nation's environmental protection infrastructure. With increasing pressure to demonstrate the ability of EPH activities to effectively protect health, the Johns Hopkins Center for Excellence in EPH Practice, as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) EPH capacity-building effort, developed the Profile of Maryland Environmental Public Health Practice. This profile offers an examination of front-line local EPH strengths, needs, challenges, and provides recommendations to strengthen the EPH infrastructure. METHODS: A multistep process was conducted, including site visits to all of Maryland's 24 local EPH agencies and a questionnaire addressing administrative structure, communication, funding, workforce, crisis management, technology, and legal authority, completed by local EPH directors. RESULTS: The Maryland Profile revealed a dedicated and responsive workforce limited by a neglected, fragmented, and underfunded EPH infrastructure. Recommendations regarding leadership, workforce, training, technology, communication, and legal authority are offered. CONCLUSIONS: This research has implications for the national EPH infrastructure. Recommendations offered are consistent with the CDC's findings in A National Strategy to Revitalize Environmental Public Health Services. These findings and recommendations offer opportunities to facilitate the advancement of an EPH system to better protect the nation's health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-50
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

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Keywords

  • Assessment
  • Capacity
  • Environmental health infrastructure
  • Maryland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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