Environmental Health
Knowledge Management Project (EHKMP) 2005 - 2010

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Environmental Health Knowledge Management Project (EHKMP)?

The EHKMP is an initiative to improve the collection and sharing of environmental health information on a statewide basis.

How was the EHKMP Steering Committee formed?

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Environmental Health Division (EHD) solicited volunteers to serve on the Steering Committee. We received responses from several well-qualified volunteers. The Environmental Health Division Director made the final selections based on representation, programmatic diversity, and stakeholder interest and experience.

In what ways will the EHKMP benefit local public health departments in Minnesota?

Though we are just taking the initial steps toward developing and implementing action plans for improving the sharing of environmental health data on a statewide basis, we believe that that this collaborative effort will ultimately benefit our public health system in several ways, including increasing our ability to:

  • detect trends over time that may lead to opportunities for improving public health practices;
  • provide meaningful and consistent information to the public, policy leaders, regulated parties and the media about environmental health issues;
  • make decisions by having access to greater amounts of relevant and commonly defined environmental health data;
  • assess and communicate environmental health risks;
  • establish protocols for immediate investigations of environmental health threats or to respond to emergencies; and,
  • improve and modernize the use and sharing of public health data, and in doing so, further the advancement of Minnesota‚Äôs e-Health Initiative.

What gives the Minnesota Department of Health the authority to collect data?

The general authority for the Commissioner of Health to collect data is found in Minnesota Statutes 144.05.

The general data practices act, which limits our ability to collect and share data, is found in Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13.

The administrative procedures act is found in Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 14 and defines the process agencies use to apply statutory authority to their programs.

Each programmatic area has it's own specific statutory and rulemaking authority that includes the ability to collect data.

A list of administrative rules promulgated by the Minnesota Department of Health is available. The corresponding statutory authority to create these rules is identified and linked at the end of each rule part.

Additional information about Constitutional and other legal questions that impact health data collection and use can be found in Lawrence O. Gostin’s Public Health Law: Power, Duty, Restraint (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000).

Is the MDH EHD planning on purchasing a new comprehensive environmental health information system(s)?

The MDH EHD has not made any decisions regarding the purchase of any new comprehensive environmental health information systems.

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Updated Friday, September 13, 2013 at 10:08AM