NEHA Articles of Incorporation (AOI) & Bylaws Changes
This past year, your Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve a vote by membership surrounding changes to the language pertaining to the Annual Affiliate Presidents’ Council. The proposed revision aims to create more flexibility with planning the Affiliate Presidents’ Council recognizing it may not always be possible to coincide the Council Meeting with an in-person AEC. The proposed revisions would also change the format of reports from oral presentations during the meeting to written reports distributed prior to the meeting to allow for more discussion during the Affiliate Presidents’ Council.
The Board of Directors unanimously endorsed the revision and voted in favor of sending it to you, NEHA’s members, for a vote. I encourage you to vote in favor of this update of NEHA’s governing documents.
CDR Anna Khan, MA, REHS/RS
NEHA has worked tirelessly to educate environmental health practitioners and ensure that they have the guidance, recommendations, and resources needed to perform their work. I am running for Second Vice President of NEHA because I want to lift up the great work that NEHA does while helping NEHA reach their future goals and elevate the role of EH practitioners because they are the true heroes, especially during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Also, I want to emphasize the importance of environmental health including climate change and environmental justice, areas that can no longer be ignored. Furthermore, I want to put us on the map as an organization that our counterparts in other countries can look to for the most up-to-date information, guidance, and recommendations.
I grew up in Maryville, TN and attended Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) for undergraduate education in environmental health science and received my graduate education through Tulane University and the American Military University in Emergency and Disaster Management. During my time at EKU, I had the opportunity to intern at the local health department in Somerset, KY and a Public Health Service CO-STEP with the Indian Health Service (IHS) in Arizona and saw some of the challenges that health departments and environmental health practitioners struggle with including operating with very tight budgets. I received my NEHA REHS/RS certification in 2007, a gold standard for environmental health practitioners, and I rely upon NEHA for the latest information and insight. NEHA is an integral part of environmental health. Through NEHA’s support, guidance, and recommendations, environmental health practitioners are prepared with the latest evidence-based guidance and recommendations. This year, we have encountered many challenges in environmental health. The COVID-19 Pandemic has emphasized the critical mission of environmental health from food safety, worker safety, air, and water quality. We have also confronted 30 hurricanes costing the U.S. more than $38 billion dollars and 340 fatalities; and over 100 wildfires that cost the U.S. $2.7 Billion, destroyed more than 13,800 buildings, and caused 46 fatalities. Environmental health plays a key role in protecting the public’s health and the need for environmental health practitioners continues to grow. Without environmental health practitioners’ guidance and their willingness to step up and do their jobs in some of the most difficult times, many of our businesses as well as public health would have been adversely impacted this year. We need to acknowledge the current changes happening in our communities and the impact of the issues as our world becomes even more connected.
I have been a USPHS officer for 14 years, currently serving as a Commander. I have worked for FDA and CDC. I am the Associate Director for Communication at the Division of Environmental Health Science and Practice (DEHSP), a division of ~300 environmental health professionals, in the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) at CDC. My strategic efforts established partnerships, leveraged various communication platforms and crosscutting CDC channels, and amplified our outreach to tackle some of our most difficult environmental health messaging and combatting misinformation during COVID-19 Pandemic.
I have also worked on the global stage on emergency management, environmental health, health communication, and situational awareness. I was instrumental in the success of CDC’s Public Health Emergency Management Fellowship, a gold standard for training global public health emergency management leaders. I increased annual training capacity from 8 to 32 fellows. As a WHO Infodemic Management Ambassador, I am rostered for senior leadership positions in global health emergency preparedness and response and will represent CDC, PHS, and environmental health with professionalism and poise.
I have actively served on PHS Applied Public Health Team for 10 years, awarded the Field Medical Readiness Badge, and the National Emergency Preparedness Award. I completed a master’s degree in Emergency and Disaster Management to further my expertise and represented CDC and PHS admirably during emergency responses (Ebola, Zika, Polio, Unaccompanied Children, etc.) in multiple roles (operations chief, environmental health analyst, LNO, etc.) Most recently, I led the implementation of the COVID-19 Environmental Health Task Force’s communication activities including managing and fielding 2,400 public inquiries and 300 media requests.
I think my contributions to the success of the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) at CDC and the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) including leadership, dedication to environmental health, program management, and emergency management experience will complement the great work being done at NEHA. I am a dedicated PHS officer in a prominent and high impact position at CDC and my recognition by leadership, and my dedication to constantly lead by example, innovation, and a devotion to protecting and promoting the Nation’s health makes me a good candidate for the Second Vice President position at NEHA.
Rachel Stradling, JD, BSc (Hons), CP-FS, REHS, MCIEH
If I am fortunate enough to be elected as the National Environmental Health Association’s Second Vice President, I will work diligently to promote NEHA and the vital work that our profession does every day to keep our communities safe. I will help to be the voice of Environmental Health, using my varied background to help tell our story. I will pledge to help mentor new students and work with the NEHA board to create new opportunities and programs that help promote our profession.
I have had a hugely varied and exciting career in Environmental Health, which has spanned over twenty years and two different countries. I started my career as a trainee Environmental Health professional, spending four years learning the theory and practice of our profession with some of the most amazing mentors, that helped shape the professional I am today. Those mentors not only taught me environmental health, but they showed me the real difference we can make to a family, to a community and to our profession.
After four years of intense training and a First Class Honors Degree in Environmental Health, I moved into a corporate environment as a risk management and legal compliance manager for the fifth largest UK food retailer. The role was challenging, offering me my first experience of managing staff, and learning hard lessons in the need to delegate. I quickly learned the art of negotiation and perfected my communication skills to achieve corporate legal compliance during a period of scarce resourcing and ever increasing media attention. After the corporate world, I formed my own consulting company, helping to train food safety professionals, giving advice to new startup businesses and providing my services to some of the busiest boroughs in central London. Owning your own business is an amazing but terrifying experience - the buck definitely stops with you!
In 2011, my family made the biggest move of all, to the United States where I met my next generation of mentors, who helped me navigate a new culture and fulfil my career potential. I have worked with the Virginia Department of Health for 8 years, having started as an Environmental Health Specialists and working my way back up the career ladder to manage my own team of professionals, running a small but mighty team in Alexandria, Virginia.
I believe that my varied background, spanning private and public sector work makes me uniquely qualified for this elected position. I hope that being able to reflect on my own struggles to restart a career in a new country, will help guide others that are perhaps turning to Environmental Health as a second career, or those just starting out for the first time. I passionately believe in the concept of mentorship, and believe strongly that when we work together that everyone benefits from our combined success.
Environmental Health is an exciting but often unknown profession. Many of us stumble into it accidently, but we do truly inspiring work that should be shouted from the roof tops. We’re often the backbone of public health, preventing disease and ensuring wellbeing, but our work goes un-noticed.
I know that my background makes me think about situations a little differently. When other environmental health departments were discussing regulating COVID-19 requirements and enforcement, I was looking at ways to help businesses stay open, but safely. I firmly believe that working together to solve a problem comes up with the best solutions. My team worked with businesses, economic development groups and the tourism industry to find a way to reopen safely, and in the process created an award winning program that asked businesses to go above and beyond mandated requirements and pledge a promise to the safety of their customers and staff. This program was only possible with open and honest dialogue. I know I don’t have all the answers, but my biggest strength is an ability to bring the best minds around the table, and find solutions.
I care passionately about our profession, and more importantly the next generation of Environmental Professionals. I strongly believe in the values and goals of the National Environmental Health Association. The pandemic has caused many of us and our teams to face new challenges, and I hope that if elected I’m able to use some of that experience to work with the NEHA membership to create support networks and mentorship opportunities across the country.
Michele DiMaggio, REHS (Region 2 Vice President)
My name is Michele R. DiMaggio and I was recently appointed as the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) Regional 2 Vice President in December 2019.
Over the past 25 years, I have gained experience as an Agricultural Biologist, Public Health Biologist, and as a Vector Control Technician. Since 2001, I have been a Registered Environmental Health Specialist working for Contra Costa County, Environmental Health Services. I am currently a Supervising Environmental Health Specialist managing the following programs: Retail Food, Temporary Food Facilities, Certified Farmer’s Markets, New Employee Training and Standardization, and Schools. I also co-manage my division’s Outbreak Response and Recall Team. Additionally, I participate as the Environmental Health liaison to the Health Services Department Emergency Management Team (EMT) where I serve on the EMT’s Emergency Operations Response Plan Committee and act as Chair to the Training and Recruitment Committee. During the COVID-19 epidemic, I am now humbly serving as a Disaster Service Worker for the department’s Public Health Branch.
For the past 11 years, I have been a NEHA member, functioning as a Food Safety Subject Matter Expert, Food and Emergencies Technical Adviser, and a Temporary Food Establishments and Epi-Ready Course Instructor. I diligently represent NEHA on CDC’s Board of Scientific Counselors, Food Safety Modernization Act Surveillance Working Group. Recently, I had the honor and privilege of being part of NEHA’s team to the U.S. Virgin Islands, training their newly hired Environmental Health Inspectors on Food Safety and Food Safety Inspections.
I am also an active member of the Partnership for Food Protection (PFP) Training & Certification Workgroup and PFP Surveillance, Response and Post-Response Workgroup. I participate as a FDA Food Safety Subject Matter Expert collaborating on the Integrated Food Safety System National Curriculum Standard Retail Framework. I contributed to the Council to Improve Food-borne Outbreak Response 3rd Edition Guidelines Chapter 3 and 7 workgroups. Locally, I am an active member of the California Retail Food Safety Coalition.
I consider myself a Food Safety Geek, I dabble in Emergency Response, but I will always be a Vector Control Nerd!
I look forward to meeting you virtually or in-person in the upcoming years.
NEHA Region 2 Vice President
Michele R. DiMaggio, R.E.H.S.
Rachelle Blackham, MPH, REHS (Region 3 Vice-President)
Rachelle Blackham is a trailblazer that has a passion for public health. She is regularly asked by others for her insightful input on mentorship, goal making and environmental health fieldwork. Rachelle is a proven leader that is able to think “outside the box” and isn’t afraid to work hard. Currently working as the Director for the Davis County Environmental Health Services Division in Clearfield, Utah, Rachelle has established a new way of tackling issues and set a standard of excellence. Attending graduate school on the weekends and at night, she graduated as the valedictorian of the Public Health program. She is a team player that has successfully worked on a number of large projects and programs throughout the environmental health field. Rachelle firmly believes that environmental health can make a real difference in the lives of people and she would be honored to be reelected as the NEHA Regional 3 Vice President.
LCDR James Speckhart, MS, USPHS, REHS (Region 8 Vice-President)
LCDR James Speckhart (REHS) is a U.S. Public Health Service – Environmental Health Officer since 2008. He is currently assigned since 2014 as an Occupational Health and Safety Officer with the FDA - Center for Medical Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) supporting the BSL-2 research labs in Silver Spring, MD.
His previous USPHS assignments included the U.S. Dept. Agriculture – Food Safety Inspection Service [FSIS] in PA and the U.S. Coast Guard in AK and VA.
LCDR Speckhart was honored to serve in a mission critical function during a 4-month period March to July 2020 with the FDA COVID-19 Emergency Call Center as the only environmental health officer on a 25-member officer team directly answering 1,000+ calls of a 20,000 call volume total which was received from all 50 states and numerous international calls with questions regarding emergency use authorization for diagnostic test kits, PPE, hand sanitizer, automated ventilators, PPE decontamination methods and various aerosol sterilization or sanitation methods. He answered many basic telemedicine questions and had numerous opportunities to utilize his bi-lingual speaking skills to answer similar telehealth inquiries.
He has been a NEHA member since 2004 the same year he earned the NEHA AAS graduate student scholarship.
He has been grateful to serve on the NEHA board of directors since 2012 to present as an elected Region 8 Vice President encompassing the mid-Atlantic States (Wash DC, WV, VA, MD, DE, PA, and all the uniformed services).
He is an alumnus with Old Dominion University Environmental Health program and active with the ODU College of Health Sciences Advisory Board since 2018. He is an active mentor to students and young professionals.
LCDR Speckhart currently chairs a NEHA Ad Hoc committee focused on Research and Innovation. He recently co-authored a NEHA policy paper on Research and Innovation that Enhance EH Science and practice published in October 2020. He is coordinating outreach with NEHA staff to develop strategic goals to foster the association’s capacity to promote and appropriately support research, development, and entrepreneurship for current field employees and aspiring student professionals.