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Division of Regional Operations

What is DRO?

The Division of Regional Operations fulfills the Agency's directives at the regional level by staffing an ATSDR Regional Office within each of the 10 EPA Regional Offices. The ATSDR regional representatives provide the Agency a unique expertise that combines special technical and field experience from their assigned regions.

The regional representatives are essential liaisons with all NCEH/ATSDR divisions and offices, and facilitate the implementation of their specific programs in the regions. Through the working relationships they have established with EPA, other federal and state agencies, individual citizens, and community groups, regional representatives are able to maintain current and historic knowledge of the sites and issues in their regions. This information enables ATSDR to address regional issues with appropriate sensitivity and make informed decisions.

Because of their proximity to the communities, regional staff are often the first contacts on petitions for public health assessments. They are responsible for ensuring that appropriate information is disseminated to individuals and for maintaining contact with the petitioners throughout the process.

Regional Operations staff are involved in the preparation of virtually all health consultations issued by ATSDR, either through writing the consultation or providing technical assistance to the staff in the Emergency Response and Consultation Branch. Most consultations originate with a request to the Regional Offices, and regional representatives perform the initial data review. They often must obtain additional environmental data or demographic and site-specific information for more extensive health consultations.

Regional Operations staff attend public meetings and visit significant sites of interest to ATSDR to maintain up-to-date information on the concerns of the communities and the status of the sites. The regional representatives participate in the Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) meetings to provide vital and timely site-specific information and recommendations to the panel.

Regional Operations staff work closely with the Division of Health Studies (DHS) to support numerous health studies the Division conducts or funds. Regional representatives coordinate with DHS project officers, EPA staff, state and local health departments, other government agencies, and the public to facilitate the collection and dissemination of information.

The Division of Regional Operations actively participates in many programs of the Division of Health Education & Promotion (DHEP). Regional representatives distribute the Case Studies in Environmental Medicine to physicians and other primary health care professionals to assist them in the diagnosis, treatment, and surveillance of illness in persons exposed to hazardous substances. The regional representatives are often asked to participate in and critique formal presentations at professional meetings, workshops, and community forums supported by DHEP.