Document Type

Master's Culminating Experience

Publication Date



Environmental health professionals are concerned about bites. Animal bites, mosquito bites, and tick bites to name a few. But what about bytes of data? Environmental health information systems (EHIS) are often the "silent partners" in an environmental health (EH) department's daily protection of public health. By Webster's dictionary definition, a silent partner is a cohort that does not have the right to participate in an organization's management process. The purpose of this study was to encourage public health officials to make EHIS full partners in their EH departments. Through the use of five surveys, this study was designed to increase awareness and report on the status of EHIS in southwest Ohio health departments. Additionally, this study was intended and to encourage leaders of state and local health departments to communicate when implementing environmental health information systems.

Ohio's environmental health information systems lack direction and leadership. Without clear leadership, environmental health departments continue to develop information systems that simply plug the latest hole in a leaking system without having a true long-term goal in mind. Current EHIS should be critically evaluated to determine if they meet the needs of Ohio's environmental health practice. However, before we can examine a system, baseline data must be established by which to measure such systems. EHIS should be constructed and maintained to meet the needs of environmental health in an efficient, accountable, and integrated manner as well as protect and promote the health of the entire population.