NEHA 2019 AEC
July 9–12, 2019
Local Voices. Universal Language.
The 83rd Annual Educational Conference (AEC) & Exhibition continued the National Environmental Health Association’s (NEHA) excellent track record of hosting a highly successful and innovative event. The 2019 AEC took place July 9–12 in the beautiful city of Nashville, Tennessee, affectionately referred to as the Music City because of its robust live music scene. Over 1,100 environmental health practitioners from all corners of the globe gathered together to meet, interact, and build their professional networks. Attendees learned how the perspectives of local agencies, industries, and levels of government fit into the universal language of environmental health and how their unique voices advance the profession to ensure the safety of the public and environment.
A highly informative and inspirational keynote address was delivered by Dr. Robert Kadlec, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Speaking to a capacity crowd, Dr. Kadlec discussed the urgency to protect our nation and its people during increasingly complex and dangerous environments. Kadlec highlighted opportunities for environmental health professionals to provide their expertise and engage in a shared disaster preparedness mission. He presented key initiatives and priorities of his office, stressing the importance of innovation, recovery after a disaster, and how to restore communities so that every person feels safe and secure upon returning home.
Following Dr. Kadlec’s address was Anne Godfrey, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. Godfrey led a thought-provoking discussion about the history of the environmental health profession, its workforce, and how both have evolved over time. She shared many interesting facts, one being that environmental health practitioners in the United Kingdom were referred to as “Inspectors of Nuisance” back in the 1840s. Food safety, healthy homes, and other topics were covered, with Godfrey providing one of the great quotes of the day: “Size matters when it comes to advocacy but small organizations still have a voice with the expertise of professionals.”
The 2019 AEC hosted 205 educational sessions, workshops, and learning labs covering a wide range of prominent and emerging environmental health issues such as emergency response and preparedness, disaster relief and recovery, infectious and vectorborne diseases, climate and health, food safety, and retail food standards, as well as other environmental health topic. Over 250 speakers from around the world shared the latest information, trends, research, tools, and resources to packed rooms. The Exhibit Hall was filled with over 70 exhibitors from various industries showcasing innovative products and services that improve the job functions and performance of environmental health professionals.
Social events are a fun-filled and popular component of the AEC and this year provided attendees with some of the most exciting events to date! Over 700 people relaxed and socialized with their fellow peers aboard the General Jackson Showboat, enjoying scenic views as they cruised down the beautiful Cumberland River. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) hosted another successful UL Event at the historic Grand Ole Opry House. Once again, a packed venue of over 700 attendees enjoyed fabulous food, fun, and live music courtesy of the Jay Bragg Band. Tours were given backstage where many famous musical icons prepared before appearing on the world-renowned main stage.
NEHA thanks our attendees, members, staff, technical advisors, presenters, exhibitors, and sponsors who participated and contributed to the success of the 2019 AEC. The conference could not be possible without you!