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Health Policy and Management

Maryland's Environmental Health Infrastructure Needs Repair

Maryland's local environmental public health professionals are essential for responding and managing public health risks from Hurricane Isabel to the post-September 11 anthrax attack to the drought of 2002.

However, the state's environmental public health infrastructure is fragile, neglected, fragmented and under-funded, according to the findings of a report by Thomas Burke , PhD, and colleagues from the Center for Excellence in Community Environmental Health Practice at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health . The report, Profile of Maryland Environmental Health Practice , provides the first comprehensive county-by county review of environmental public health practices throughout Maryland. The report offers recommendations for improving workforce development, funding, technology and legal responsibility in order to strengthen Maryland's environmental public health infrastructure and protect the health and wellbeing of its citizens from environmental threats.

“Maryland's environmental public health workforce is dedicated, hardworking and concerned about the future. These environmental health professionals not only ensure that our food and water are safe, but they also protect us from disease outbreaks and guide us during disasters or terrorist attacks,” said Burke, who is director of the Center for Excellence in Community Environmental Health Practice and a professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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