This example uses one health outcome, cancer, to illustrate what might data might be collected in a more comprehensive environmental health data inventory and needs assessment.
· For this outcome, are any subsets (e.g., specific types of cancer) particularly pertinent to the topic of environmental health?
· For the following questions regarding data quality and availability, note whether anything differs for data on this subset vs. the overall dataset.
· What is/are the name of the dataset(s)? (If more than one dataset, questions below apply to each.)
· How long/frequently have you worked with the dataset(s)?
· In what format is it available? (e.g., queryable online database, static reports, data tables)
· For what years, frequency and geographic coverage area, and level of aggregation is it available for each of the above formats?
· Who collects it?
· Where can someone go to get these data, either via internet, phone, or mail?
· How do you obtain it, and has this process proven difficult for you in any way?
· If any special status (e.g., university researchers only) or process is needed to get the data, what is it?
· Any costs associated?
· What kind of time lag is there between collection and reporting/availability?
· What is the most current year available right now?
· If it’s processed at the state level, is there a way to get it at the local or regional level sooner?
· What are major strengths/weaknesses associated with the dataset? (This could involve collection methodologies such as sample size or frequency of collection, certain populations being represented/excluded, accuracy of data entry, etc.)
· What improvements would you like to see take place in collection of this type of data? (Ask them to prioritize 2 or 3.)
· Are there any other datasets for the same outcome (existing or in development) that help to address some of these gaps?
· In a few sentences, what are the key reasons, in your opinion, that this dataset is vital to individuals interested in environmental public health in our region?
· Do you have any key statistics (i.e., using actual data) that we could use to illustrate why this dataset is important from an environmental health perspective?
· Are there any other experts in the area you’d recommend?