Tuesday, July 13, 2021

LDH’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Program teams up with its partners to create tools to improve the health of Louisiana’s communities

The Louisiana Department of Health’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, or Tracking, is committed to providing all Louisianans with better health data. For the past 10 years, the Tracking team has collaborated with LDH’s Bureau of Health Informatics and other partners to develop, launch and enhance the Department’s Health Data Portal (Data Explorer). The Data Explorer is a web-based tool that makes environmental, health outcomes, population and exposure data and information accessible to municipalities, college students and researchers, community-based organizations, policy makers and other end users. Data and information from the online data and mapping tool can be used to support funding, policies, programs and other public health actions to improve the communities’ health.

Funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made the Tracking Program possible. Since the program’s inception in 2009, the staff have worked with their federal, state and local partners to collect and evaluate data on important environmental health issues affecting Louisiana’s communities. Within the past six years, over 25 organizations have requested data and information from LDH Tracking’s team to inform local and state decision-makers and community members, to identify and address local public health issues, and to support funding to understand the connections between the environment and health.

Recently, LDH Tracking and its partners upgraded the Department’s Data Explorer, which included many datasets and updates, a major accomplishment following the agency response to COVID-19 2020-21. Now the tool includes childhood blood lead data, sub-parish cancer data and more current occupational health data. Because climate change is a concern in Louisiana, the team has also added new temperature, drought and rainfall data to the Data Explorer. Stay tuned — more updates and site enhancements are on the way!

This summer, LDH’s Tracking team will be collaborating with the CDC and its partners to celebrate Tracking Awareness Week. The theme of this year’s event, which will be observed from July 12-16, is “Powered by Tracking.” Because Tracking is more than a data warehouse, the staff will be highlighting the program’s successes that go beyond data hosted on the Data Explorer on the Department’s Facebook and Twitter channels.

The program would like to wish everyone a Happy Tracking Awareness Week. LDH Tracking has been successful because of its hard-working and dedicated staff and loyal partners. The Tracking team wants to engage additional partners in the program. Email LDH Tracking at tracking@la.gov to learn more the program and to discuss collaborating with the team.

To subscribe to updates to the LDH Blog, click here.