The Tennessee Department of Health, in cooperation with the Nashville/Davidson County Metropolitan Health Department and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, is committed to working closely with Environmental Health Specialist Network (EHS-Net) partners to address the shared goals of improved food and water safety in our communities. <P> The epidemiology, food safety and water safety programs in Tennessee are committed to better understanding antecedents of foodborne and waterborne diseases, contributing factors in restaurant- and institution-associated outbreaks, foodhandling and water-system related practices which are associated with increased risk or disease prevention, and developing effective and practical preventive interventions. These are the fundamental issues which EHS-Net was created to address. <P> The missions of our participating agencies closely mirror those of CDC and other EHS- Net partners, and at the core, are mutually dedicated to using all available resources to improve the health of the public we serve. As our record of participation in EHS-Net, the Emerging Infections Program and other multi-site consortia demonstrates, we are determined to be an active leader in EHS-Net and all associated studies. <P> We are committed to using state, local and other outside resources to leverage those of EHS-Net and ensure that the studies performed through this cooperative program are successful, and are of maximal benefit not only to Tennesseans but also lead to results which are useful nationally. In this respect, we will continue to support EHS-Net policies to ensure scientific rigor, timeliness, generalizability, and direct public health applicability of all projects within the program.<P> The tremendous growth of the restaurant industry, the complexity of the food- and water-supply systems in the U.S., and a recently renewed appreciation of potential food- and water-associated terrorism risks all highlight the critical importance of improving the capacity of public health agencies to respond to foodborne and waterborne disease issues rigorously and quickly. <P> The EHS-Net program is a critical demonstration of multiple agencies working together on a coordinated response to this public health need, and we look forward to contributing to it.