Identifying priority health conditions, environmental data, and infrastructure needs: A synopsis of the Pew Environmental Health Tracking Project

Jill Litt, Nga Tran, Kristen Chossek Malecki, Roni Neff, Beth Resnick, Thomas Burke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


In this article we describe the methodologic approaches of the Pew Environmental Health Commission at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg. School of Public Health used to identify priority environmental health conditions and develop recommendations to establish a national environmental public health tracking network. We present the results of a survey of public health and environmental practitioners to uncover state and local health tracking needs and priorities. We describe the steps that combined the findings from the state and local health tracking survey and a review of the state of the science on environmental impacts on health to identify priority health end points. Through an examination of national health and health care databases, we then describe trends and public health effects of those diseases that may be linked to the environment. Based on this analysis, respiratory diseases and neurologic diseases are recommended as priorities for tracking. Specific end points recommended for tracking include asthma and chronic respiratory diseases, and chronic neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Based on trends in reported prevalence, consideration should also be given to developmental disabilities, reproductive disorders, and endocrine/metabolic disorders. Strengthening of current efforts to track cancer and birth defects should also be included as components of a nationwide health tracking network. Finally, we present the recommendations for environmental public health tracking. These recommendations provided the groundwork for the development of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Environmental Public Health Tracking Progam that now includes 21 states, three cities, and three academic centers throughout the nation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1414-1418
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Issue number14
StatePublished - Oct 2004


  • Biomonitoring
  • Disease surveillance
  • Environmental health indicators
  • Environmental public health tracking
  • Exposure
  • Health policy
  • Information systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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