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
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).
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 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 is one of our Advanced Epidemiologists leading many of our large technical, ecological, and epidemiological projects. His areas of specialty include but are not limited to: developing and programming interactive health and environmental data queries on the NMTracking web portal; developing and maintaining data sets (notably, the Emergency Department data playing many roles over 25 years); data linkages (ecological and 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. He has a unique interdisciplinary degree in Cultural Ecology - BAS in Anthropology and Ecology from UNM. He was the first President of Students to Save Our Environment in Los Alamos High School in 1970.
Our Plan: Mission, Goals and Objectives
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:
Our overarching goal is to help communities improve health outcomes by reducing their exposure to environmental hazards.
- 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.
ProjectsIn 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 Langer
- Climate and Health Adaptation Work Group (CHAWG): Stephanie Moraga-McHaley (Chair), Srikanth Paladugu, Renee Volker-Rector, Brian Woods, Chelsea 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)
- Interagency Smoke Response: Stephanie Moraga-McHaley, Srikanth Paladugu, Renee Volker-Rector, Chelsea Langer
- Private Wells Collaborative: Stephanie Moraga-McHaley, Renee Volker-Rector
National CDC Tracking Work Groups
- Principal Investigator and Program Manager (PI/PM): Srikanth Paladugu and Stephanie Moraga-McHaley
- Content Work Group All-Hands: Srikanth Paladugu, Stephanie Moraga-McHaley, Renee Volker-Rector, Brian Woods, Chelsea Langer
- Data Modernization: Srikanth Paladugu, Stephanie Moraga-McHaley, Brian Woods
- Data Visualization: Stephanie Moraga-McHaley, Chelsea Langer, Renee Volker-Rector
- Evaluation: Stephanie Moraga-McHaley, Renee Volker-Rector
- Program Marketing and Outreach: Renee Volker-Rector
- Western States Program Marketing and Outreach: Renee Volker-Rector
- Standards and Network Development (SND): Stephanie Moraga-McHaley, Chelsea Langer
- Air Quality, Climate, and Weather: Chelsea Langer, Renee Volker-Rector, Brian Woods
- Census Transition: Brian Woods
- Drinking Water: Brian Woods
- Race and Ethnicity in Health Data: Chelsea Langer
- Syndromic Surveillance: Chelsea Langer (co-lead), Stephanie Moraga-McHaley, Brian Woods
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 33 CDC Grantees in the EPHT Network.