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Member Spotlight: Chantal McBride, CPHI(C)

May 2023

The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) is shining a spotlight on the people within our membership through this new feature in the Journal and on our website.

This month we are pleased to introduce you to Chantal McBride, a public health inspector with the Saskatchewan Health Authority for 4 years. She works in a rural area and is a generalist who works on various environmental and public health issues including food safety, water quality, personal services, wastewater disposal, plumbing, tobacco, communicable disease, adult care facilities and childcare, outbreak management, and subdivision reviews. McBride attended the Concordia University of Edmonton and has been in the environmental health profession for 6 years.

Why did you join NEHA and what aspects of membership have you found most valuable to your career?

I am interested in forming connections with other environmental health officers and public health inspectors in the field. I would love to obtain a job somewhere in the US. I like to stay up-to-date on which states or health authorities are hiring and who would recognize my Canadian credentials and experience. Also, I find sharing knowledge and experiences with NEHA members and other environmental health officers very valuable.

Why did you choose the environmental health field?

I love how diverse my job is. I am never doing the same thing each day and never know what the next day will bring. I love being able to help people in the capacity that I do. My job is flexible, challenging, and rewarding all at the same time.

If you weren't an environmental health professional, what other profession would you like to work in?

Prior to receiving my bachelor of science in public health, I was taking courses to earn a bachelor of nursing degree at the Lethbridge College in Lethbridge, Alberta. I completed 2 years in nursing studies and it was not until I completed a practicum at the hospital that I realized I was in the wrong profession. Thankfully, I was able to transfer my 2 years of course work over to the University of Lethbridge where I completed my degree in public health in 2014.

I did not know at first that I wanted to be a health inspector. I actually stumbled on environmental public health while doing an infection control practicum with the Office of the Medical Officer of Health in Lethbridge. I got to observe and go out with the field health inspectors, which sparked my interest in the field. I am so glad that I made the switch. Often times, people go through school and find out later that they do not like their field of work. I got lucky. Our profession is small but I have met some of the most talented people doing what we do.

Please describe any hobbies, activities, or causes you are passionate about.

I love traveling, hiking, reading, watching movies, and most importantly, spending time with my family. I recently had a baby boy named Kingston who is 6 months old.

What is your favorite vacation spot and why?

The Dominican Republic. It was one of the first places I visited with my husband. I have so many great memories. We went to an all-inclusive resort and got spoiled while we were there. The weather and people were wonderful. I cannot wait to go back again. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, was very nice as well.

What is one thing that most people do not know about you that you would be willing to share?

I have an interest in anything infection control.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

I am proud of my sons Kingston and Phoenix. Also, I am proud of becoming a certified public health inspector.

Who do you look up to and why?

My grandfather. My father was not around much when I was growing up and my grandfather really stepped up helping me in life. He has passed since and I miss him every day.

Is there a resource that you use frequently for your work  that you would recommend for other environmental health professionals?

That would have to be the Public Health Act and any applicable regulations, standards, and codes.

What was the best professional advice given to you?

Our profession can be extremely hard and sometimes it is not for everyone. I have learned to be more patient. The best advice given to me has been to take every experience—good or bad—and learn something from it.

Is there anything else that we did not ask that you would like to share?

I am on LinkedIn and would love to connect with others. Feel free to add me.