At the intersection of the environment and people is environmental health (EH), the branch of public health that focuses on the interrelationships between people and their environment, promoting human health and well-being, and fostering healthy and safe communities.
The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) is a member-based, nonprofit organization in Denver, Colorado, that represents and supports professionals advancing policies and programs that support healthy environments and protect people from adverse environmental exposures in air, water, soil, and food.
In 2016, NEHA launched the Innovating for Environmental Health initiative to inspire innovation in EH and bring a tech-focused dimension to the field. We wanted to introduce the developer community to EH and invite them to create data-driven solutions to EH issues.
During the 2017 Innovating for Environmental Health initiative, NEHA participated in AngelHack’s 2017 Global Hackathon Series, attending weekend-long, in-person hackathon events in Los Angeles and Detroit to inspire and guide teams creating apps that specifically address water quality issues.
From the two hackathons came two water-related apps that stood out above the rest:
AquaData: This app enables users to report location-based data such as water leakages from pipes and spills. Data entered into the app are translated into a reporting format and sent directly to relevant agencies, which enables agencies to respond in a faster manner to the issues. The app empowers users to contribute to their community with a more efficient and engaging reporting system, as well as connects community members and regulators.
TapCheck: This app utilizes publicly-available U.S. Environmental Protection Agency water system data to instantly provide drinking water quality information that is based on geographic location and the corresponding municipal water system.
Bridging innovation and EH is extremely exciting and inspiring to local EH and public health professionals. We plan to continue to engage the developer community to create new, forward-thinking solutions in EH and to elevate and improve the health of our communities.