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Minnesota Department of Health The Story of Environmental Health: Overview for Elected Officials.

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Presentation on theme: "Minnesota Department of Health The Story of Environmental Health: Overview for Elected Officials."— Presentation transcript:

1 Minnesota Department of Health The Story of Environmental Health: Overview for Elected Officials

2 Objectives After this presentation, participants should be able to… Describe the nature of Environmental Health (EH) within public health Describe environmental health and safety issues of concern to local officials Describe how EH services are delivered in Minnesota

3 Core Functions of Public Health Assessing the publics health Promoting sound policies Assuring effectiveness

4 Mission To protect, maintain and improve the health of Minnesotans

5 The Difference Between Health Care and Public Health Health Care = Individual Health Public Health = Population Health

6 Public Health = Longer Lives Lifespan almost doubles Leading causes of death: no longer due to lack of EH controls 25 of the 30 years of life gained in the 20 th century resulted from public health accomplishments -- CDC

7 Unique State/Local Partnership Minnesotas public health system = one of the best in the nation Built on strong partnerships between local public health and MDH

8 Six Principles Drive What Environmental Health Provides 1.Aggregate the Community/Population 2.Promote Healthy Behaviors 3.Epidemiology

9 Six Principles Drive What Environmental Health Provides (cont.) 4. Community Organization 5.Policy Development for the Greater Good 6.Leadership

10 What is Environmental Health (EH)? Public health programs designed to protect the public health from hazards which exist or could exist in the physical environment. --Minnesota SCHSAC Environmental Health Leadership Team, December, 2002 Diagram courtesy of Australias EnHealth.

11 Environmental Links to Health Concerns Drinking Water Food Land Built Environment Indoor Air Emergencies

12 … distress, short and long-term health effects (CDC) Emergencies: chemical and radiological releases … gastrointestinal disease (e.g., cholera) parasitic infections, eye and skin diseases Drinking Water/Food: Inadequate and unsafe water supply and unsanitary excreta disposal Potential Acute Health Effects (Source: WHO) Environmental Conditions … gastrointestinal and parasitic diseases (due to increased vector breading and feeding-- rats, mosquitoes) Land: Inadequate solid waste disposal, Poor drainage …increased risk of respiratory disease transmission (e.g., tuberculosis), stress and accidents Built Environment: Toxic materials (mold, asbestos, lead), crowded and structurally inadequate housing …respiratory distress or infections Air: Polluted air, Feedlot odors

13 When to Ask EH Professionals for Help If the concern involves human health exposure and risks from… –Drinking Water –Food –Land –Built Environment –Indoor Air –Chemical or Radiological Emergencies

14 What to Discuss With EH Professionals Need general answers or a specialist? Who and what is threatened? Possible acute or chronic health effects? What actions to take to protect the public? Further information - when, who, where to get assistance

15 Examples of EH Activities Prevent the Spread of Communicable Diseases Sanitarians check temperatures to assure that restaurants store and serve food safely. Licensed well-drillers prevent pollution in drinking water.

16 Examples of EH Activities Assure Normal Human Development X-rays in medical settings are the right strength. Safe Eating Guidelines are explained in the Minnesota Fish Advisory. Staff assess the risk of childhood lead exposure in older homes.

17 Examples of EH Activities Protect Against Environmental Hazards and Prepare to Respond to Disasters Ammonia spill spreads across Blair, Nebraska, 1970 (Source: Lawrence Livermore Lab) Volunteers serve safe food to affected people, inspected by sanitarians.

18 EH Services in Minnesota 91 Recipes * * Each of 87 Counties and 4 Cities decides how to Structure 10 Essential Services Essential Services are provided through … Assessment Policy Development Assurance

19 Summary of Services Every county is served with state and/or local city and county environmental health resources May or may not be in the local health department May be shared across boundaries

20 Environmental Health In summary, EH staff serve Minnesotans where we all live, work, and play.

21 For More Information, Contact Your Local Health Department or … Minnesota Department of Health, Environmental Health Division Metro Square, 121 East 7 th Place P.O. Box St. Paul, MN Phone: TTD:

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