Healthy Informed Communities


  • To provide information from a statewide network of integrated health and environmental data that drives actions to improve the health of Pennsylvania communities.
  • To improve accessibility to relevant information and tools needed to support the work of  environmental research and public health practitioner communities.
  • To better inform policy makers and the public.


  • Identify and obtain sources of data
  • Make available Nationally Consistent Data and Measures (NCDM) of chronic health effects associated with environmental hazards and exposures
  • Develop and integrate a sustainable statewide environmental public health tracking program
  • Develop partnerships with the public and private sectors as well as with academic institutions, environmental justice and health equity groups
  • Develop new methods and techniques to advance the practice of environmental public health tracking
  • Disseminate information to guide Policy, Practice and other actions to improve public health within the Commonwealth

Key Components of the Tracking Network 

The National Public Portal - This web-based interface is for the public, and other users to interact with the Tracking Network.
The National Secure Portal - This web-based secure interface is for researchers and others with appropriate security clearance to access certain minimally aggregated data.
The National Gateway - This acts as a hidden “traffic control officer” regulating the standards and protocols for date exchanges.  The National Gateway, along with other network interfaces, will interact with other parts of the Tracking Network, other grantee gateways, and other partners in an automated manner.
Nationally Consistent Data and Measures (NCDM) - NCDM are electronic records and statistics that are collected, organized, and displayed based on standards.
State Portals - The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will maintain both Public and Secure Portals containing the range of NCDMs in addition to functionality designed in collaboration with an extensive list of stakeholders.

What Will the Tracking Network Provide?

The tracking Network will provide a set of services to directly support environmental public health practitioners and enable the public and other stakeholders to access appropriate levels of tracking information. The key services will include: 

  • Online and downloadable interface for sharing and obtaining data
  • National repositories which house the Network’s key services
  • Metadata management and search functionality to find and access standardized data holdings
  • Data selection, access, and exchange services and tools
  • Tools for data management, analysis, and visualization

Tracking Network Content

The Tracking Network will include a set of nationally consistent data and measures of health, exposures and hazards; the areas touched by these indicators are:

  1. Ambient Air Quality Measures (Ozone, PM 2.5)
  2. Contaminants in Drinking Water (arsenic, nitrates, disinfectant-by-products, lead)
  3. Hospitalization for Asthma/Myocardial Infarction
  4. Birth Defects and related Premature Births
  5. Childhood Blood Lead
  6. Vital Statistics/Birth Outcomes
  7. Cancer

The areas touched by these are:

Health - focused on non-infectious health conditions such as poisoning by lead, asthma and other respiratory disease, cancers, acute myocardial infarctions and birth defects.
Exposures - observes the presence of an environmental agent or its metabolite in individuals or in their environment. Examples include lead in blood and arsenic in groundwater.
Hazards - includes chemical agents like pesticides, physical agents like dust particles, and biologic toxins like harmful algal blooms that may be found in air, water, soil, food, or other environmental media.

Public Health Messaging - The purpose of public health messaging is to provide information to an identified target audience seeking information on a topic of interest on the EPHT public or private portal. The messaging should provide information that answers such questions as:

  • What is being done in response to what has happened?
  • What are you advising people to do?
  • What can be expected next?
  • What are you doing now?
  • Why did this happen?
  • What is being done to address this issue?
The message should be clear and concise and be appropriate to the audience for which it is intended. The messaging should describe such things as differences in data which appear on the portal page, and value added points of information on the topic of interest.
Functionality - To bring together diverse groups of professionals and the general public via a security enabled web interface that would display and allow access to the above described data and tools based on login-password. Several layers of data security and confidentiality will be built into the system at the enterprise level to comply with state legislation and other legal requirements.

Access The Data

EPHT indicators and measures (NCDMs) are being made available to the  public thanks to the joint efforts of The Bureau of Health Statistics and Research (BHSR) and EPHT through the Epidemiologic Query and Mapping system (EPIQMS).  Choose data measures and indicators prefixed by 'EPHTN' for EPHT specific data and measures. Other Data and Measures provided by BHSR are also available for perusal for your convenience.


Tracking 101 - CDC Sponsored Course

CDC, in cooperation with NEHA CERT is pleased to provide a free course entitled, Tracking 101 as an introduction and overview of the major components involved in Environmental Public Health Tracking in 12 interactive modules. The course is available online on an ongoing basis and may be taken in all or in part at any time by anyone within the public health field, or by whomever is personally interested in this topic.

The goal of Tracking is to provide information that can be used to plan, apply, and evaluate actions to prevent and control environmentally related diseases. CDC is currently leading the initiative to build a National Environmental Public Health Network (EPHT), to integrate these three types of data into a standardized electronic network. To access EPHT 101, Please follow the link below:


Our Partners

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For More Information:

Environmental Public Health Tracking Program
Pennsylvania Department of Health
Division of Environmental Health Epidemiology
Room 933, Health and Welfare Building
7th and Forster Streets
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17102
Phone: 717-346-3285 or Fax: 717-346-3286
Email: ephtinfo@state.pa.us
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