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The Secure Data Gateway

The Secure Data Gateway is a secure portal that provides access to resources for environmental and public health practitioners and researchers. Its primary function is to provide a secure, online resource center for registered users to access confidential data. Confidential data contain individually-identifiable health information and must be protected under federal and state laws.

Any proposed research that involves access to confidential MDPH information must be reviewed by the Department of Public Health's Institutional Review Board (IRB). In addition, all research must be approved by the Commissioner of Public Health in accordance with M.G.L. c. 111, 24A. This protects the confidentiality of all information collected or created as part of an approved research study and imposes restrictions on use and disclosure of research data.

To gain access to the Secure Data Gateway, you must become a registered user. The registration process ensures that individuals requesting access have an appropriate professional need to utilize the data and resources within the Secure Data Gateway. For research applications that require access to confidential data, once approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) IRB and data stewards, registered users will receive a username and password from Massachusetts Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) program to access the Secure Data Gateway.

Application Procedure

The Privacy and Data Access Office (PDAO) is responsible for facilitating, coordinating and tracking confidential data access within MDPH and from outside the agency, and provides support to all DPH programs for compliance with privacy procedures and laws. To request access to confidential MDPH data for research, a principal investigator must submit a completed Application for Authorization for Public Health Research and Institutional Review Board Approval. In addition, the applicant must complete and submit the dataset-specific appendix for each dataset requested. The application requires detailed information about the study protocol, justification for all variables requested, measures to ensure the confidentiality and security of the data, and documentation of application to the principal investigators' sponsoring or affiliated IRB.

Currently the Secure Data Gateway is only accessible from within the Commonwealth's computer network.

For more information on becoming a registered user, please go to: http://www.mass.gov/dph/privacy

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