The jurisdictional boundaries of the Central Utah Public Health Department (CUPHD) stretch more than 17,000 square miles throughout the center of Utah. It is the second largest geographical health department in the state and the only health department to cover 6 counties. With boundaries this big, logistical challenges come with the territory and Environmental Health (EH) is no exception. With regulatory inspectors spread across thousands of square miles, sharing information and providing managerial oversight is a challenge. The implementation of the "Technological Expansion Across Central Utah Program" (TEACUP) will resolve known shortfalls through the use of technology by linking 8 satellite offices across the 6 counties served. A recent self-assessment conducted by the CUPHD- EH Division, in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards, illustrated significant disadvantages to the CUPHD caused by the lack of available information, reporting abilities, and managerial review of completed work. This news troubles EH staff in the evolving world of Public Health. To achieve the goals of the CUPHD, EH will purchase, execute, and maintain information management software capable of meeting the demands of the CUPHD. This software will allow the CUPHD the opportunity to utilize current technology to store, report, and analyze information specific to food establishments and possible related food borne illnesses. The tools offered through most database systems are non-existent in the current operations of CUPHD. The ability to actively search permits, provide "on-demand" reporting for food borne illness outbreaks, and track and compile information regarding complaints is nearly impossible for CUPHD staff due to the logistics of searching files that are kept in specific offices with no means of electronic storage. It is believed the implementation of such a system will not only improve the abilities of CUPHD-EHD, but also improve the working relationship with the Utah Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration in the fight to protect the health of rural Utah. The use of this information will initiate the movement towards a risk based inspection program as recommended by the FDA Regulatory Standards. Additionally, inspectors will be able to identify trends in demerits among the food service community, allowing them to pinpoint common mistakes and work to educate establishments. The benefits of TEACUP will be seen immediately and will continue long after the successful completion of the grant period. The implementation of the program will build upon existing programs and link the CUPHD to the integrated national food safety program sponsored by the FDA for the coming future.

Public Health Relevance

The Central Utah Public Health Department (CUPHD) offers the Technological Expansion Across Central Utah Program (TEACUP) in response to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) federal grant opportunity entitled Innovative Food Defense Program (R18). The implementation of TEACUP will facilitate necessary improvements to electronic information retention, reporting capabilities, and managerial oversight for food regulatory officials. The implementation of a functional database will link 8 satellite offices across 17,000 square miles and provide the mechanisms necessary to align CUPHD food regulatory officials with the integrated national food safety program sponsored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Research Demonstration and Dissemination Projects (R18)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZFD1-SRC (99))
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Central Utah Public Health Department
United States
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