Water Webinar Series

This four-webinar series highlights recreational water illness, the changes to the Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC), and implementation of the new MAHC.

Recreational Water Illnesses

April 27, 2023

Over the last 20–30 years, CDC has led efforts to detect, investigate, report, and prevent recreational water–associated illness and injury across U.S. jurisdictions — i.e., has launched and honed national surveillance systems to collect standardized data, used those data to characterize recreational water–associated illness and injury epidemiology, and developed evidence-based prevention policy. This webinar covers what the latest national surveillance data tell us about the state of design, construction, operation, and management of U.S. public aquatic venues open to the public and underscore the need for the Model Aquatic Health Code.      

Presenter Michele Hlavsa, RN, MPH, is chief of CDC's Healthy Swimming Program. Her areas of expertise include recreational water–associated illness, particularly when caused by Cryptosporidium. She has worked on a number of investigations of outbreaks of recreational water–associated illness and collaborates with U.S. and international public health authorities and the aquatics sector to develop science-based prevention and control measures. She has a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the College of New Jersey and a master’s in public health/epidemiology from Emory University. Michele was an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer at CDC prior to joining the Healthy Swimming Program.      

Presenter Dr. Tessa Clemens is a Health Scientist focused on drowning prevention in the Division of Injury Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  She identifies effective strategies for preventing drowning through investigating data sources and methods to improve drowning surveillance. Her work focuses on supporting health equity, which includes understanding and addressing racial and ethnic disparities in drowning rates and supporting the implementation of effective interventions among underserved populations with the highest rates of drowning. Prior to this role, Dr. Clemens led drowning data collection projects in sub-Saharan Africa with the CDC Foundation. She has a PhD in injury epidemiology from York University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Global Child Health at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada.      

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What to Know, New Version Model Aquatic Health Code

May 11, 2023

This webinar discusses the recently released 2023 MAHC (4th edition) updates. CDC’s CDR Joe Laco gives a brief background and shared tools for using the MAHC. Dewey Case, Technical Director for the Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code, provides an overview of the 2023 MAHC and changes to expect for the next update cycle.      

Presenter Commander Joe Laco, MSEH, REHS/RS, CPO, is an active-duty service-member of the US Public Health Service (USPHS) and is stationed at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. CDR Laco is an Environmental Health Scientist in the National Center for Environmental Health’s Water, Food, and Environmental Health Services Branch. He provides Environmental Health technical support and expertise to State and Local Health Departments, US Territories, and Tribes. CDR Laco works closely with the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, the Center for Preparedness and Response, the Center for Global Health, and the CDC Emergency Operations Center. His work focuses largely on Recreational Water, Emergency and Outbreak Response, Food Safety, Drinking Water, Wastewater, Vector Control, Safety and PPE, and Hazardous Materials. He was the 2017 USPHS Environmental Health Officer Responder Of the Year and the recipient of the 2019 Edward Moran Award. CDR Laco has over 27 years of experience working in: Federal government, State government, clinical and research Laboratories, and private industry.  He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Ohio University in 1995, and a Master’s of Science Degree in Environmental Health from East Tennessee State University in 2001. He is a Registered Sanitarian and Registered Environmental Health Specialist through the National Environmental Health Association.      

Presenter Dewey Case serves as the Technical Director for the Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code. He holds multiple Instructor Trainer certifications from the American Red Cross, as well as instructor credentials with the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance.      

He has served in various roles with the YMCA of the USA, the local and state chapters of the American Red Cross, on the Lifeguarding and Bather Supervision Technical Committee for the MAHC 1st Edition, and on the Technical Review Committee for the MAHC 3rd Edition, as well as managing various aquatics facilities over a 24-year span. In addition to his role with CMAHC, Dewey is the Commercial Sales Manager for Adcock Pool and Spa in Hattiesburg, MS.   

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Strategies, Tactics, and Implementation of the MAHC

May 25, 2023

Colorado is working to update their state recreational aquatic regulations and have adopted the Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) as their framework. This presentation focuses on the journey and lessons learned as they implement the new regulations.

Presenter Mitchell Brown is an Environmental Health Services Supervisor with Jefferson County Public Health, Lakewood, Colorado, where he manages the water quality program. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Health from Colorado State University and a Master degree in Public Health from the University of Florida. He has experience working for various agencies and companies, such as Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, the URS Corporation, Clear Creek County Public and Environmental Health, and Jefferson County Public Health, Colorado.

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Cyanobacteria Harmful Algae: What you need to know

June 8, 2023

Reports of freshwater, cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms increase during the summer months. Increasingly, human illnesses and animal illnesses and deaths are associated with exposure to these blooms. This seminar describes our current understanding of the public health consequences associated with exposure to freshwater, cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms and provides an overview of some emerging issues.

Presenter Dr. Elizabeth Hilborn is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she earned a BS in Biology, she earned her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University. She completed her Master of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and served as a Fellow in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Epidemic Intelligence Service.  She is Board Certified in the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine. For over 25 years, Dr. Hilborn has worked as an environmental health scientist and epidemiologist at the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development where her research focuses on emerging infections and the health effects of environmental and waterborne contaminants such as harmful cyanobacteria.

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