Environmental Public Health Indicators - Washington Tracking Network (WTN)

What is an environmental public health indicator?

“Environmental public health indicators (EPHIs) can be used to assess our health status or risk as it relates to our environment. They may be used to assess baseline status and trends, track program goals and objectives, and build core surveillance capacity in state and local agencies. The best indicators are those that reliably predict the relationship between human health and the environment, are routinely collected, and have well-accepted definitions and data collection standards.” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

How are environmental public health indicators developed and used?

In Washington State, the Public Health Improvement Partnership's subcommittee on Public Health Indicators developed a set of local public health indicators. These indicators can be used for a variety of purposes—from directing public health decisions, to developing programs, to framing future policy. Adding indicators of environmental factors that affect the health status of populations can help provide a more complete picture of a community's overall health.

What are common sources of environmental public health indicators?

Indicators from federal, state and county sources can often be tailored to fit local circumstances. In addition, non-governmental organizations have designed lists of indicators and measures that address specific health and socioeconomic topics. See additional sources for examples of environmental public health indicator sets that Washington citizens and public health practitioners use.

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National Environmental Public Health Tracking Program