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Topic 1.2 Overview of the Public Health Assessment Process

The Process in Brief

The basic process for conducting a public health assessment is the same for all sites. The methods of evaluating site data and conditions are the same, even though the results of the evaluation may be presented in different types of written reports.

The process includes:

  • Identifying actual human contact (also called exposure) with chemicals in the environment.
  • Identifying the types of illnesses that might be related to contact with chemicals from the site.
  • Recommending health-based follow-up actions, such as an exposure investigation.
  • Recommending ways to reduce or prevent exposures.

The process does not include:

  • Performing medical examinations of individuals in the community.
  • Determining whether illnesses found in a community are actually associated with exposure to site-related chemicals.
  • Establishing site clean-up levels.

General outline for a public health assessment document

  1. Summary
  2. *Purpose and Statement of Health Issues
  3. Background
  4. Discussion
  5. Community Health Concerns
  6. Conclusions
  7. Recommendations
  8. Public Health Action Plan
  9. Preparers of the Report
  10. References
  11. Appendices (as required)

* A separate discussion on child health considerationsis required in all PHAs.

This topic is covered in more detail in the companion course: “Public Health Assessment Overview 3- Evaluating Health Effects Data and Determining Conclusions and Recommendations.”

General outline for a health consultation document

  1. *Summary
  2. Background and Statement of Health Issues
  3. Discussion
  4. Conclusions
  5. Recommendations
  6. Public Health Action Plan, if applicable
  7. Response to Public Comments, if applicable
  8. References
  9. Appendices (as required)

* A summary is optional in a PHC, but recommended when it is lengthy or technically complex.

This topic is covered in more detail in the companion course: “Public Health Assessment Overview 3- Evaluating Health Effects Data and Determining Conclusions and Recommendations.”

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