and can readily provide additional resources upon one’s request. The agencies are listed in alphabetical order with federal organizations first, followed by state agencies.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) was created by Superfund legislation in 1980 as a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ATSDR’s mission is to prevent or mitigate adverse human health effects and diminished quality of life resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. In order to carry out its mission and to serve the needs of the American people, ATSDR conducts activities in public health assessments, health investigations, exposure and disease registry, emergency response, toxicological profiles, health education, and applied research.
ATSDR’s Division of Health Education is mandated to assemble, develop, and distribute to the states, medical colleges, physicians, and other health professionals, educational materials on medical surveillance, screening, and methods of diagnosis and treatment of injury or disease related to exposure to hazardous substances. The Division also provides training and education for primary care physicians to diagnose and treat illness caused by hazardous substances and supports curriculum development and applied research in the area of environmental health.
The Division has developed a self-study series called Case Studies in Environmental Medicine which uses case studies to guide physicians through the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses related to hazardous substances exposure.
Several projects have also been developed and implemented to advance these goals. Some of the programs are described below:
State Cooperative Agreements offer funding and assistance to state health departments for developing educational materials and activities in environmental medicine for health care professionals;
National Association of County Health Officials Environmental Health Project is a cooperative agreement with ATSDR to conduct instructional sessions and develop supporting materials for local health officials and the medical community concerning the communication of health risks from exposure to hazardous substances;
Project EPOCH-Envi is co-sponsored by ATSDR and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Through the cooperative agreement, a consortium of medical schools works towards introducing curricula in occupational and environmental medicine in primary care residency programs;
The National Medical Association (NMA) is the largest organization of African-American physicians in the United States. ATSDR co-sponsors sessions and lectures on environmental health through the NMA’s Regional Environmental Workshops. NMA has recognized the seriousness of environmental contamination in minority communities and is now working with ATSDR to provide training in environmental health for its members.