Annual Report Annual Report 2015 : Page 14

I N FO R MA TI C S / E NVI R O N M E NT AL H EAL TH APHL IS INFORMATICS APHL began its Informatics Program a decade ago, with a project to deliver standardized, electronic inuenza laboratory surveillance data to CDC. Today, APHL is a recognized leader in the field. And the possibilities are endless... The APHL Informatics Messaging Services (AIMS) Platform transmits vital medical and public health data in the “cloud,” but its servers are based here on earth. In 2014, the platform migrated to the Amazon Web Services’ (AWS’s) server farm making it more powerful and reliable, with built-in back-up systems and redundancies. In 2015, the AIMS platform got even better with: • Electronic controls to allow for automatic expansion and contraction of processing and computing power, based on client demand. • Links to AWS server farms in other locations provide a second line of security for users even during a catastrophic event. The improved AIMS Platform is the platform of choice for data transmission among public health laboratories and agencies. And it is quickly becoming the gateway to public health for other users. For example, it serves as the technology backbone for: • The Public Health Immunization Data Exchange — a project sponsored by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to ensure reliable reporting of immunization data to state immunization registries. • Initial Case Reports of Reportable Conditions — A project to scan electronic health records for diagnoses of reportable conditions and transmit the data to state or local jurisdictions and to medical providers. Since less than a third of reportable conditions are believed to be reported to health authorities, the project promises to dramatically improve public health surveillance and community disease control. APHL is collaborating with the CDC and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists on this project. • CDC’s Advanced Molecular Detection (AMD) Program — an ambitious effort to track pathogenic microbes and solve infectious disease outbreaks by examin-ing microbes’ DNA or RNA code (which can discriminate among different strains of the same bug and yield information on microbial virulence, drug-resistance and transmissibility). Yet the program has faced a bottleneck: transmitting whole genome sequencing data for a single pathogen (a 15 gigabyte file on average) is the electronic equivalent of transmitting the novel War and Peace . Now imagine 50 state health agencies trying to send data to CDC during an outbreak. Fortunately, the AIMS Platform and associated tools have cut the transmission time from eight hours to one , simplifying the process and negating the need for costly information technology upgrades in state health agencies and laboratories. And the same technology and logic sets used for AIMS Platform projects can be repurposed for exchange of other public health data such as childhood obesity, cancer incidence and hospital readmissions. “ The faster we can identify a vaccine-preventable disease (VPD) outbreak, the faster we can contain it. That’s why we are grateful to APHL’s informatics team for simplifying the complex process of implementing real-time VPD reporting to CDC.” Mary Wedig, data management and ELR coordinator, Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene 14 2015 APHL ANNUAL REPORT 14 2015 APHL ANNUAL REPORT

Curbing Chemicals’ Harmful Consequences

Nancy Maddox

Curbing Chemicals’ Harmful Consequences

Henderson, Nevada

36.0292° N, 115.0253° W

Henderson, NV, was an inauspicious setting for a discussion of a topic of growing importance to the world — biomonitoring. The name isn’t sexy, but biomonitoring — the measurement of environmental toxicants in people — is an urgent need.

Potential toxicants are ubiquitous in modern life. In fact, EPA’s list of US-made or US processed industrial chemicals is over 85,000 substances long.

In 2014, APHL wrapped up a five-year plan to establish a network of laboratories with biomonitoring capabilities. This year APHL embarked on a second five-year plan to formalize the network, with standardized quality measures, test methods and data reports, and a multidisciplinary oversight committee.

In Nevada, APHL’s environmental health director spoke at the annual meeting of the International Society for Exposure Science and met with experts to discuss international biomonitoring efforts.

Silverton, Colorado

37.8125° N, 107.6631° W

An environmental disaster in August 2015 made clear the need for biomonitoring: more than 3,000,000 gallons of arsenic-laced waste spilled from the tailing pond for the defunct Gold King Mine near Silverton, CO, turning the beautiful Animas River orange. The poisonous release ultimately contaminated waterways in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. In response, APHL convened a call with local and federal health authorities, urging rapid implementation of biomonitoring to gauge health impacts. At least one state, Utah, has already begun.

New York City, New York

40.7127° N, 74.0059° W

Kinshasa, Democratic
Republic of the Congo

4.3250° S, 15.3222° E

One vital APHL service is connecting stakeholders with laboratories that can meet specific public health needs, including environmental testing. Last year, the association:

Provided EPA with a list of laboratories able to test for Legionella,
during a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in the South Bronx.
Connected the Coca-Cola Foundation’s Replenish Africa Initiative with
the Office Congolais de Contrôle — a public institution with
water-testing capability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The
foundation aims to provide clean water access to 200 million people
in Africa.

Read the full article at

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