Welcome Address, Keynote Address and Grand Session Kickoff Speakers Announced
Welcome Address: Monday, June 25
Ben Carson, MD, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Dr. Carson will deliver the Welcome Address, “Unlocking the Potential of America’s Children: Check Your Home—Protect Your Family. For nearly 30 years, he served as director of pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, a position he assumed when he was 33 years old, becoming the youngest major division director in the hospital’s history. In 1987, he successfully performed the first separation of craniopagus twins conjoined at the back of the head. He also performed the first successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins in 1997 in South Africa.
Dr. Carson has received dozens of honors and awards in recognition of his achievements, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. He is also a recipient of the Spingarn Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Keynote Address: Monday, June 25
Frank Yiannas, Walmart Vice President of Food Safety and Health
As environmental health professionals, getting others to comply with what you’re asking is critical, but it’s not always easy. When it comes to food safety, people’s attitudes, choices, and behaviors are some of the most important factors influencing the overall safety of our food supply. If you’re trying to improve the food safety performance of an organization, industry, or region, what you’re really trying to do is change people’s behaviors.
In this innovative presentation, “Food Safety = Behavior,” Frank Yiannas, Walmart Vice President of Food Safety and Health, will provide fascinating insight into proven behavioral science principles with suggested applications on how they might be used to advance food safety and environmental health.
Grand Session Kickoff: Tuesday, June 26
RADM Stephen Redd, MD, Director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Getting his start at CDC nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Redd is no stranger to the demands of leading national efforts to combat a public health emergency. During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, he served as incident manager and was responsible for leading CDC’s efforts to keep Americans healthy and safe by protecting them from the flu. “As a runner and a swimmer, I like to compare a public health response to a race,” says Dr. Redd. “Like a race, an emergency response requires preparation and endurance. You must be able to hold a steady pace that will get you to the finish line, but there are also times when you are required to sprint, to learn on your feet, and to respond to challenges and changes as they are thrown at you. The key to entering the race is being mentally and physically prepared to take on the challenge and commit to getting to the finish line.”
Dr. Redd will be speaking about disaster relief efforts and the importance of environmental health.
Opening Session: Monday, June 25
National Identity: Building Relationships and Communication Between States and Federal Agencies to Address Vital Environmental Health Issues
The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials’ (ASTHO) State Environmental Health Directors (SEHD) peer group includes environmental health leadership from U.S. state and territorial health agencies. The SEHDs strive to develop a national identity for state environmental health, enhance relationships and communication between states and partners, and provide a forum for discussing key and emerging environmental health issues.
For the first time, NEHA and ASTHO are co-locating the SEHD Annual Meeting and the AEC to bring together the diverse membership of environmental public health professionals. This one-hour opening session panel will highlight new and emerging environmental health issues as seen from the SEHD perspective. Topics for discussion will include the panelist’s specific roles and responsibilities in their states, current and emerging environmental health issues of importance, threats to adequate funding of environmental health programs and services, and the importance of national collaborative efforts to address environmental health issues. The panelists will also describe their experiences working with ASTHO and NEHA, as well as ways the two organizations can better support environmental health professionals to address the issues they face.
Closing Session: Thursday, June 28
Opening the Big Black Box: Partnering with Public Health Laboratories to Address Community Environmental Health Problems
Public health laboratories ensure critical environmental health testing needs are met for communities. The high-quality, defensible data they produce are essential for the environmental health system to make sound decisions. It is imperative though that environmental health professionals and laboratories have strong working relationships to ensure that resources are being used as efficiently as possible. How does a laboratory create this high-quality defensible data? What are its possibilities and limitations in conducting analyses that will lead to data to help answer community environmental health questions? And how can environmental health professionals and public health laboratories best work together to ensure the right questions are being asked, data is interpreted correctly, and effective actions are taken?
This session will answer these questions from the perspective of three state public health laboratories working to help address community environmental health issues. New Hampshire will highlight their community partnerships to develop a well water testing program in a state where over 40% of the population is served by private wells. Minnesota will discuss the use of whole genome sequencing and culture-independent diagnostic tests and the different roles that environmental health professionals, laboratories and epidemiologists play when investigating food-borne outbreaks. California will describe their testing and partnership efforts to better understand community exposure to per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).