On this Page
What is the Tracking Network?
The National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network is a dynamic surveillance system that provides health and environmental data in one easy to find Web site. Tracking Network data come from a variety of national, state, and city sources. Users of the Tracking Network can explore information and view maps, tables, and charts about health and environment across the country.
How can it help me?
Nurses like you fulfill many duties beyond patient care. You are often an information gatekeeper for both co-workers and patients. Increased awareness and interest in environmental health is creating demand for information about the relationships between health and the environment. You may encounter questions that require research; the Tracking Network can help you find answers. The Network can also help you find quality data and information to meet the information needs of patients and peers.
Nurses can use the Tracking Network in many ways:
- Find answers to questions about how the environment can affect health
- Educate patients about behaviors that can protect health
- Identify patterns in communities' concerns about the environment's effects on health
- Use data to educate members of affected communities
- Find data for grant applications and research
- Use information for training colleagues or students
Nurses like you are putting the Tracking Network to use in their communities.
Analysis showed that the Bradford Area and Oley Valley school districts in Pennsylvania had the highest prevalence of reported asthma for the school years 1997 through 2003. School nurses tracked asthma cases at all 501 public school districts in Pennsylvania, and then tracked all students with asthma in the two districts with the highest prevalence of asthma cases.
Using information from this school-based asthma surveillance project, the Pennsylvania Tracking Program can now target prevention strategies. By providing prevention strategies and educational materials on asthma and asthma triggers to the affected schools and communities, they increased knowledge about asthma and helped reduce exposure to potential environmental triggers.
Public Health Nurses
Listen to this podcast about why the American Nurses Association supports the Tracking Network and how one local public health nurse used the Massachusetts Tracking Network to:
- Analyze data on water contaminants to investigate an increase in low birth weight babies, and
- Develop public health interventions, such as skin cancer screening days and public education about sun safe behaviors.
Content of Interest to Nurses
Additional Resources for Nurses
CDC offers an online course, Environmental Public Health Tracking 101, which provides an overview of the major components of environmental public health tracking. The course consists of 12 modules within three sections. Topics include how to use the National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (link to www.cdc.gov/ephtracking), surveillance and epidemiology, types of tracking data, and geographic information systems.
The online course is available at www.nehacert.org. The course can be accessed by entering "Tracking 101" in the search box. Continuing Nursing Education* contact hours are available at no charge.
*Sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a designated provider of continuing education contact hours (CECH) in health education by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. The CDC has been approved as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), 1760 Old Meadow Road, Suite 500, McLean, VA 22102.