Introduction to the Mission Section - What's ATSDR and the Public Assessment Process About?

ATSDR specializes in evaluating public health issues related to releases of toxic chemicals into the environment. To conduct a thorough evaluation of public health issues, ATSDR developed the public health assessment process. This online training program provides an overview of the information used in training ATSDR health assessors.

This introductory section discusses the following topics about ATSDR, the assessment process, and this online learning program:

  • Topic 1.1 The role of ATSDR
  • Topic 1.2 Brief description of the public health assessment process
  • Topic 1.3 Introduction to Oak Estates

Learning about ATSDR and the assessment process can help you and your neighbors better understand how public health concerns are evaluated in your community and how you can help in the evaluation.

Community members play a key role in the public health assessment process. An important part of the process is for the assessor to learn about the health concerns that people in the community have about the site.

To do this, the health assessor meets with people who live or work in the community and with others who have an interest in the site (stakeholders), such as public officials, civic leaders, local and state health professionals, and officials from state and federal environmental agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Meetings held during the public health assessment process provide an opportunity for all parties to exchange information and discuss decisions that will affect the community.

The community involvement section of this online learning program stresses the importance of two-way communication with stakeholders and discusses ways that health assessors can facilitate community involvement. Community involvement activities occur throughout the public health assessment process and not as a separate step in the process. Therefore, to get a clearer picture of the process, we suggest that you review the community involvement section.

Page last reviewed: May 31, 2016