Massachusetts Department of Public Health seal Massachusetts Environmental Public Health Tracking

Planning & Tools

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This section of the EPHT website is devoted to cross-cutting topics in environmental health which can assist the public, planners and decision makers in how to incorporate environmental health concerns into policy and planning activities, and to target public health projects, programs and initiatives to meet environmental health goals. Unlike topics in the Environment and Health sections, topics under Planning & Tools don't always have one data set associated with them. Instead, we often try to bring together many different kinds of information that might be helpful to consider.

Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education (CSPECE)

The website contains a suite of tools and resources for public health professionals to learn how they can protect children where they learn and play. These include fact sheets, checklists, and a comprehensive guidance manual. This manual describes the health implications of siting child care and early learning facilities, explains the elements of ensuring sites are safe, and offers tips and tools for health departments interested in building a child care safe siting program.

Community Profiles

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health EPHT program has assembled profiles to provide a snapshot of environmental health for Massachusetts communities. Data for several health and environmental topics are presented in each profile, as well as population information. The community profiles can be used by anyone who would like to know about environmental public health in Massachusetts communities. Profiles can be used to gather data, guide public health actions, identify high-risk groups, shape policy decisions, or simply inform the curious.

Health Impact Assessment

Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a tool to identify potential health impacts and benefits of a proposed project, program, or policy decision and recommend strategies that best protect and promote health. This section walks through the guiding principles of the HIA framework, steps in conducting an HIA, how EPHT data can be used for HIA, examples of successfully completed HIAs, and how HIAs are done at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Emergency Preparedness Populations Planning Tool

Emergencies can happen at any time. They can be widespread or localized. They can take the form of a naturally-occurring event such as a hurricane, flood, or tornado, or a man-made incident like a terrorist attack. Regardless of the type of emergency, there is a very real possibility that people, as well as community resources and infrastructure will be impacted by these events. Preparedness is a key to minimizing these impacts and implementing effective emergency response.

Within individual communities, there are residents with varied access and functional needs which may affect their ability to respond appropriately to an emergency, including physical and intellectual disabilities, limited access to transportation, special medical needs, and language other than English spoken at home. For some communities, access and functional needs also extends to people who may have communication or supervisory needs (e.g. language barriers, children) or other status (e.g. pregnant). These populations may require additional assistance during and after an emergency, especially in the response and recovery phase of disaster management. This tool is designed to help emergency planners obtain a more detailed snapshot of these populations within their respective communities and regions to ensure that community-level preparedness plans account for and incorporate residents’ varied needs.

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