About Massachusetts EPHT
Who are we?
Massachusetts Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) is a program within the Massachusetts Department of Public Health/Bureau of Environmental Health (MDPH/BEH). Our Bureau is comprised of nine programs which contribute to a vibrant Tracking team that supports EPHT's purpose to:
"Provide access to up-to-date health and environmental data and visualization tools for the communication and evaluation of environmental public health trends, and for the implementation of successful environmental public health actions."
What do we do?
The MA EPHT website provides an opportunity to look at possible links between environmental exposure and chronic diseases statewide and locally.
Our program is constantly working behind the scenes on many projects that help advance the mission of EPHT. We are always looking for partnerships and new datasets to make available to support the work of our varied stakeholders, which include local health agents, regional, state and local decision makers, community and health planners, advocacy organizations, and academic institutions.
We also collaborate nationally with other EPHT states to develop new data indicators, communicate data and trends, work on regional projects, and support public health actions.
Why are we doing this work?
Chronic diseases - such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes - are among the most prevalent, costly, and preventable of all health problems. More than 1.7 million people die of a chronic disease each year in the United States. Massachusetts has one of the highest rates of chronic illness, costing the state $34 billion a year. Environmental factors can play a role in the development of these types of chronic diseases. With the help of EPHT we can reduce the burden of these diseases by using data to:
- Inform decision makers
- Develop stronger, evidence-based programs, targeted interventions, and policies
- Evaluate programs and progress
How can EPHT meet public health goals?
This website provides access to reports of environmental and health data in your community including tables and charts that can be downloaded and printed. We provide useful tools that pull multiple datasets together to interpret the information in meaningful ways. Links to resources on a wide range of environmentally-related topics are also provided.
History of EPHT
In 2000, the Pew Environmental Health Commission identified the lack of basic information needed to link environmental hazards and chronic diseases. In response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded a pilot program for state and local health departments to integrate existing health and environmental information systems and build state-based tracking networks.
The MA EPHT website was launched in 2008 and includes a national set of environmental and health measures as well as additional health and environmental data specific to Massachusetts.
Privacy and Security
Data are only presented to the public if the confidentiality rules of MDPH and the data steward are met. These are rules requiring data aggregation and suppression to protect privacy.