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Our Story

New Mexico Environmental Public Health Tracking

At New Mexico Environmental Public Health Tracking, we strive to elevate the important role environmental public health plays in our lives. Our program, also called NM EPHT and NM Tracking, is a source of environmental health communication, both epidemiological and educational. The primary mode of communication is this website which provides the data, information, and tools needed to help you learn and understand how the environment impacts human health.

Environmental public health tracking is the public health method that investigates possible associations between environmental exposure and resulting health effects. This helps us better understand how the environment affects human health. NM Tracking is a resource for prevention or health protection initiatives, interventions, and response situations.

Due to the variety and amount of information available on NM Tracking, our program and products often serve as an initial source of data and information for those working on environmental public health related activities or educating themselves about an environmental health topic. Our audiences include those from individual, family, community, school, government and scholarly domains.

Meet Our Team

Srikanth Paladugu

Both our Principal Investigator for NM Tracking and the Environmental Health Epidemiology Bureau Chief, Srikanth Paladugu has experience in epidemiology, environmental health, health education and clinical management. He holds a Master of Public Health Environmental Health Emphasis, Master of Business Administration, and MBBS (MD equivalent).

Stephanie Moraga-McHaley

As Program Manager, Stephanie Moraga-McHaley leads this environmental health program that encompasses epidemiology, health promotion, informatics, and communications. Moraga-McHaley oversees our environmental public health communications platform. Moraga-McHaley has extensive experience in environmental health, occupational health, clinical services, and program management. She earned a Master of Science and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health and has a background in applied science health information technology.

Renee Volker-Rector

Renee Volker-Rector is the Program Coordinator and Evaluator. As such, she leads projects relating to community health and digital media. Volker-Rector is the newest member of the team and has experience in cancer prevention, health education, and workgroup collaboration. She holds a degree in Psychology.

Chelsea Eastman Langer

As an Advanced Epidemiologist, Chelsea Langer supports database development and maintenance for tracking core environmental health measures on the state and national Tracking networks. She conducts sub-county level and other epidemiologic and exploratory analyses of datasets. Her publications include research on the respiratory health of dairy workers, heat-related illness in agricultural workers, and potential associations between brain tumor risk and electromagnetic fields. She holds a PhD in Epidemiology and Master of Public Health.

Brian Woods

Brian Woods is one of our Advanced Epidemiologists leading many of our large technical, ecological and epidemiological projects. His areas of specialty include: developing and programming interactive health and environmental data queries on NMTracking.org; developing and maintaining data sets (notably, the Emergency Department data playing many roles over 15 years); data linkages (probabilistic personal linkages across data sets like traumatic Brain Injuries and motor vehicle crashes, Medicaid paid Births, geospatial-temporal like heat related illness morbidity and temperatures; producing epidemiological analyses data products like forecasting HRI morbidity into 2030 given climate changes; and advanced data analyses for policy evaluation analyses (time-series, survival analyses, multivariate models). His EPHT related published works include research in the area of evaluation of heat vulnerability index, outcomes associated with smoke exposure, and heat related morbidity in New Mexico. Brian Woods was the first President of Students to Save Our Environment in Los Alamos High School in 1970.Woods has an interdisciplinary degree in Cultural Ecology - BAS in Anthropology and Ecology from UNM.

Rose Galbraith

As NM Tracking's Environmental Health Capacity program partner, Rose Galbraith is the Program Manager for EHC and oversees private wells, community water systems, and emerging water contaminants.

Our Plan: Mission, Goals and Objectives

Mission

The mission of NM Tracking is to improve and expand the environmental public health surveillance capacity for the State of New Mexico and increase access to data and health education. Our goal and objectives are:

Goal

Our overarching goal is to help communities improve health outcomes by reducing their exposure to environmental hazards.

Objectives

  • Health and environmental data are accessed and used by internal and external audiences.
  • Development of state-specific program activities based on generated evidence.
  • Work towards supporting health equity for all New Mexicans.
  • Efficient, accessible, and higher quality display of data.
  • Increased awareness of the Tracking Network and environmental health issues.
  • Engaged partners and users.
  • Skilled workforce able to collect and interpret data and translate information for action.

Projects

In line with these objectives, NM Tracking focuses on these areas:
  • Data collection, analysis, and dissemination
  • Environmental health epidemiology and response
  • Data portal quality, tools, and user experience
  • Health communications, environmental health education, and audience engagement
  • Environmental health partnerships, community engagement, and environmental public health workforce capacity
  • Program operations and sustainability
  • Program monitoring and evaluation
  • Climate and health adaptation and preparedness

Epidemiology and Response

Beyond our NM Tracking roles, each team member supports the larger Epidemiology and Response Services of the Environmental Health Epidemiology Bureau and Epidemiology and Response Division.

We contribute to multiple public health responses and epidemiology projects and services such as:

  • Epidemiological investigations
  • Data gathering
  • Field methods
  • Delivering health and risk communication
  • Implementing health promotion methods for on-going topics of concern and urgent matters

Many of these occur through our bureau on-call service; our partnerships with agencies such as the New Mexico Tumor Registry and the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center; acute environmental exposures scenarios such as mercury spills or mass carbon monoxide poisonings; and vaping-related lung disease.

Work Groups and Environmental Health Collaborative Projects

Our work is collaborative and we serve on several workgroups, statewide and nationally.

New Mexico Workgroups

  • Cancer Concerns Work Group: Stephanie Moraga-McHaley, Srikanth Paladugu, Renee Volker-Rector, Chelsea Eastman Langer
  • Climate and Health Adaptation Work Group (CHAWG): Stephanie Moraga-McHaley, Chair, Srikanth Paladugu, Renee Volker-Rector, Rose Galbraith, Brian Woods, Chelsea Eastman Langer
  • Council on Asthma: Stephanie Moraga-McHaley, Renee Volker-Rector
  • Governor's Climate Change Taskforce: Stephanie Moraga-McHaley, co-chair of the Emergency Management, Health and Resilience Climate Action Team
  • Health Equity Work Group: Stephanie Moraga-McHaley, Chelsea Eastman Langer
  • Interagency Smoke Response: Stephanie Moraga-McHaley, Srikanth Paladugu, Renee Volker-Rector, Brian Woods
  • Private Wells Collaborative: Stephanie Moraga-McHaley, Rose Galbraith, Renee Volker-Rector
  • Tableau Work Group: Stephanie Moraga-McHaley, Chelsea Eastman Langer

National CDC Tracking Work Groups

  • Content Work Group All-Hands: Srikanth Paladugu, Stephanie Moraga-McHaley, Renee Volker-Rector, Brian Woods, Chelsea Eastman Langer
  • Data Modernization Work Group: Srikanth Paladugu, Stephanie Moraga-McHaley, Rose Galbraith, Brian Woods
  • Environmental Health Equity Work Group: Stephanie Moraga-McHaley, Chelsea Eastman Langer
  • ESSENCE Heat-Related Illness and Asthma Subteam: Chelsea Eastman Langer, Brian Woods
  • Evaluation: Stephanie Moraga-McHaley, Renee Volker-Rector
  • Principal Investigator and Program Manager (PI/PM): Srikanth Paladugu and Stephanie Moraga-McHaley
  • Program Marketing and Outreach: Renee Volker-Rector
  • Standards and Network Development (SND): Stephanie Moraga-McHaley
  • Water: Brian Woods, Rose Galbraith
  • Western States Program Marketing and Outreach: Renee Volker-Rector

How We Operate

New Mexico has a centralized health department system operated under the State of New Mexico. The New Mexico Department of Health has several divisions including the Epidemiology and Response Division, under which the NM EPHT program operates within the Environmental Health Epidemiology Bureau (EHEB).

Our work is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH). New Mexico is among 26 CDC Grantees in the EPHT Network.