New Jersey Environmental Public Health Tracking Program

Select textsizemediumlargelarger

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Environmental Public Health Tracking?

Environmental public health tracking (sometimes known as EPHT or Tracking) is the ongoing collection, integration, analysis, and interpretation of data about environmental hazards, exposure to environmental hazards, and adverse health outcomes potentially related to exposure to environmental hazards. The goal of environmental public health tracking is to protect the health of communities by providing information to citizens, and federal, state, and local agencies for use in planning and evaluating public health and environmental actions.

Return to top of page

What is an indicator?

An indicator is a fact or trend that indicates the level, or condition of something. Well known indicators include: the gross national product, the unemployment rate, and the presidential approval rating. When an indicator has several parts that combine to indicate the status of the concept being measured, the individual items are called "measures".

Return to top of page

What types of data and information are available on this web site?

The NJ EPHT Network has data available in two different formats: indicators and datasets. Indicators are designed to answer the question "how are we doing?" for a selected health outcome or environmental exposure, and include both data and information in a report format to help users understand the topic. Queryable datasets are made available for users who want to work directly with a particular dataset.

Return to top of page

How are indicator data organized?

Indicator data on the EPHT portal are organized into three categories: health outcomes, human exposure, and environmental quality. These categories can be seen in the menu box on the left side of the NJ EPHT main page. By clicking on the '+' symbol next to each category, an expanded list will reveal specific topic areas related to that category

Return to top of page

Can I do a search to find out if you have the information I'm looking for?

To determine if the information you are looking for is in the EPHT Network, metadata records have been created to describe each available dataset in terms of content, years of coverage, resolution, limitations of use, and contact information.. To access the metadata search page, click on the 'Metadata Search' button located on the left side of the main page. Once on the metadata page, type a search term, either a county place name or a topic term, into the search box. A list of metadata records containing the term will be displayed. Click on any of the records to read more about the related dataset.

Return to top of page

Can I go directly to the data?

You can go directly to datasets from the main page by selecting one of several items: 'Public Health Data', 'Data and Summary Statistics', 'Custom queries of birth and mortality data', or 'Custom queries of cancer data'

Return to top of page

What data can I access through the 'Public Health Data' button?

Selecting this link will take you to a categorized index of EPHT-specific data. These indicators are part of the National EPHT Network and are most are standardized to make them comparable across states and time. Indicators can be viewed on-screen and data tables can be copied and pasted into a spreadsheet or exported as a standard XML file.

Return to top of page

What data can I access through the 'Data and summary statistics' link?

Selecting this link will take you to a categorized list of all data available on New Jersey's State Health Assessment Data (SHAD) system. This site provides access to all available public health datasets and information on the health status of New Jersey residents.

Return to top of page

What are custom queries of birth and mortality data?

Selecting the link for custom queries will take you to an interactive query system that allows users to query public health datasets directly and produce graphs and tables of the desired data. Query data can be viewed on-screen and data tables can be copied and pasted into a spreadsheet or exported as a standard XML file.

Return to top of page

What are custom cancer queries?

Selecting the link for custom queries will take you to an interactive query system that allows users to query cancer incidence and mortality data. Cancer rates and counts for New Jersey are available as tables, graphs, and maps.

Return to top of page

Why are some data only presented on a county versus municipal level?

When the number of cases of a health condition is small and the total number of people from which the case(s) come is small, those particular data cannot be made public since it could be possible to trace the data back to individuals. Since the risk for a breach of confidentiality is higher when reporting small numbers, some health data are "suppressed" or "restricted".

Return to top of page

What if I can't find the data I need?

If you have an interest in particular data, please contact us though the 'Contact Us' button located on the main NJ EPHT page or by emailing us directly at nj.epht@doh.state.nj.us. We continue to add information, and keep records of requests which will inform data and indicator priorities for the future.

Return to top of page

How do I request access to more data than are available through this web site?

Requests for secure (non-public) data sets can be made to the NJ EPHT Program at the New Jersey Department of Health. These requests will be forwarded to the appropriate data steward who is responsible for the original data and its distribution. The data steward has the ultimate authority over the data and will make a determination if the person or organization requesting additional data meets statutory or departmental criteria for obtaining non-public data.

Return to top of page

Is there a glossary of terms available?

A glossary of terms used in describing data, indicators, calculations, government agencies, chemicals, environmental factors and more is available. To access this glossary, select the 'Glossary of commonly-used terms' link in the 'Note to Users' box located at the bottom of the main NJ EPHT page.

Return to top of page

Are other states participating in the EPHT Network?

More than 20 states, in addition to New Jersey, are participating in this CDC-funded Tracking network. For a map of project grantees, select the 'National Grantees' link from the 'National EPHT Program Overview' box located on the right side of the main NJ EPHT page.

Return to top of page

How do I access data available in other states?

EPHT-related data from other states can be accessed from their individual portals or from the National network. All current state tracking portals can be accessed from one page by selecting the 'State Tracking Portals' link from the 'Quick Links' box at the bottom of the main NJ EPHT page.

Return to top of page

How do I access data available on the National network?

National tracking data can be accessed through the link located in the 'National EPHT Program Overview' box located on the right side of the main NJ EPHT page.

Return to top of page

How do data on New Jersey's web site differ from CDC's National site?

Both the New Jersey Tracking portal and the National portal allow you to access and visualize data sets. The National portal presents data sets that have been processed according to standardized guidelines. The New Jersey portal contains data sets that were contributed to the National portal, as well as additional data sets specific to New Jersey's environmental and public health needs.

Return to top of page