In 2002, the United States (US) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the National Environmental Public Health Tracking Program (Tracking Program) to address the challenges in environmental health surveillance described by the Pew Environmental Commission (1). The report cited gaps in our understanding of how the environment affects our health and attributed these gaps to a dearth of surveillance data for environmental hazards, human exposures, and health effects. The Tracking Program's mission is to provide information from a nationwide network of integrated health and environmental data that drives actions to improve the health of communities. Accomplishing this mission requires a range of expertise from environmental health scientists to programmers to communicators employing the best practices and latest technical advances of their disciplines. Critical to this mission, the Tracking Program must identify and prioritize what data are needed, address any gaps found, and integrate the data into the network for ongoing surveillance.
Objective: To increase the availability and accessibility of standardized environmental health data for public health surveillance and decision-making.