In 2004, Hennepin County Public Health Protection along with the Minneapolis Departments of Health and Family Support and Environmental Health, and the St. Paul-Ramsey County Department of Public Health received a grant from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). The three urban health departments are considered to be an “Advanced Practice Center” (APC) by NACCHO and are called the Twin Cities Metro APC.
The purpose of the grant was to strengthen local environmental health (EH) capacity to respond to a public health emergency. Among the objectives was the development of training materials that address EH emergency preparedness.
Identifying the roles and responsibilities of environmental health professionals (EHP) during a deliberate or natural disaster is complicated by the broad-based, interdisciplinary nature of the EH field. EH is grounded in food safety/protection, shelter, water, air quality, vectors, hazardous materials, and waste management issues. These and other EH issues take center stage when normal life is disrupted.