Tania M. Busch Isaksen, PhD, MPH - Washington
EHAC Council General Chair and Academician
I am an Associate Teaching Professor and the Undergraduate Program Coordinator for University of Washington's Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. Additionally, I am co-Director of the Collaborative on Extreme Event Resilience (uwCEER.org) - a network of environmental public health researchers and practitioners working together to build climate and disaster-resilient communities through evidence-based public health policy and practice; as well as the Director of Education and Training for the Center of Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE.) In addition to my teaching and administrative responsibilities, I maintain an active, practice-based research portfolio focused on characterizing public health outcomes associated with climate exacerbated hazards such as extreme heat and wildfire smoke; evaluating efficacy of adaptation-related interventions; and translation of findings into audience-appropriate risk communication tools. I have approaching 30 years of environmental public health experience working in local public, private, and academic settings, and since joining academia I have made it my goal to bridge the worlds of practice, training, and research. I earned my PhD from the UW in Environmental and Occupational Hygiene, my MPH from the University of Washington’s eMPH Program, and my BS in Environmental Health from Colorado State University. Lasty, I have demonstrated substantial commitment to EHAC and its mission serving in multiple board positions, participating in 5 rounds of UG/G requirement/guideline revisions, and conducting numerous self-study reviews and site visits. I look forward to continuing to make progress with such an important institution.
Mari Eggers, PhD - Montana
EHAC Council Academic
Margaret Eggers, is a Research Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the Environmental Health (EH) Program at Montana State University Bozeman (MSU). She teaches EH, advises the ~20 EH majors, mentors students in community-engaged EH research, helps them secure career-relevant internship placements, and serves on graduate committees. She and Dr. Seth Walk earned accreditation for MSU’s Program in 2019. Since 2005 Eggers has been working with Crow colleagues and others on community-engaged research and intervention to reduce environmental health disparities, improve safe drinking water security, understand the impacts of climate change on community health, increase community EH capacity – and co-publish on these issues (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/1LIzgflcdN7kx/bibliography/public/). She’s the PI on two MSU grants to support STEM transfer students from two-year colleges, and serves on several campus DEI (diversity-equity-inclusion) initiatives. Eggers has served on the local Board of Health since 2017, gaining experience in pandemic management and septic system variances. She previously administered a congregate food program for seniors in rural Alaskan communities (two years), and worked as a restaurant cook. Eggers has a BA and MA (Stanford), an MS in Ecology and a PhD in environmental health (MSU). Nominated for the EHAC Council by Dr. David Gilkey, she would love to work with EHAC and other related programs. Eggers is also interested in increasing access to four-year EH degrees for students starting at two-year colleges; incorporating skills for building community resilience to extreme weather events into EH students’ curriculum; and exploring the potential for EH minors (for future collaborators of EH professionals).
LCDR Kai Elgethun, PhD, MPH - Idaho
EHAC Council Vice Chair Graduate Programs and Practitioner
Kai is an Environmental Health Officer (EHO), USPHS, serving as the ATSDR Region 8 Director and supporting scientist to Regions 9 and 10. He is the pesticide science SME for ATSDR. Kai manages four staff, provides support to health departments in 7 states and several Tribes, and advises the work of four ATSDR cooperative grant states (CO, MT, UT, and ID). Kai serves as interagency liaison to 8 Federal agencies, 14 state agencies, and dozens of other groups. Kai and staff serve in rotation as on-call emergency responders one week a month and deploy to disasters. He also serves on the NEHA National Preparedness Committee.
Kai worked in academia, state government, and industry prior to entering Federal service in 2013. He was faculty at Texas A&;M University (2003-2006) and adjunct assistant professor at Boise State University (2006-2013). He served on the EHAC Re-accreditation Committee for Boise State University in 2010-2011. He currently serves as the USPHS EHO Adopt-a-School liaison to the University of Colorado and University of Washington Schools of Public Health, providing USPHS outreach to academic program managers and recruitment advising to interested students; and serves on the Environmental Health Officer Training Workgroup.
Positive experiences with the EHAC re-accreditation process and continued interest in promoting solid education in the field are primary reasons for wanting to serve on the Accreditation Council. While now a practitioner, Kai’s background in EH academia and enthusiasm for helping students and advancing the field make him a strong candidate for this nomination.
DeBrena Hilton, MPHA - Oklahoma
EHAC Council Practitioner
DeBrena Hilton began her career at Tulsa City-County Health Department (THD) in 1997 as a Sanitarian (Food Inspector) whose primary job responsibilities were to inspect retail food, lodging, and barber establishments in Tulsa, Oklahoma. DeBrena earned her Bachelor of Science Degree from Langston University in Biology with a minor in Chemistry and later obtained a Masters of Public Health Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma. She has served on Conference for Food Protection Councils and Committees and is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
DeBrena was promoted to Food Protection Services Program Manager in 2018 and has enjoyed working as a community resource, educator, and retail food safety partner.
The mission of THD is to improve the health and well-being of all Tulsa County residents and the Food Protection Service (FPS) Program’s goal is to prevent foodborne illnesses by promoting food safety-related behaviors and practices. DeBrena looks forward to supporting the EHAC councils work to ensure that those interested in pursing environmental health careers are taking courses that will be recognized for professions of interest.
Swatantra Kethireddy, PhD - Mississippi
EHAC Council Academician
Swat Kethireddy is an Environmental health scientist and educator, currently serves at California State University-San Bernardino, CA as an Assistant professor of Environmental Health Sciences in the Department of Health Science and Human Ecology. Between 2015-2022, he was an assistant professor and coordinator for Environmental Health programs and received tenure at Mississippi Valley State University, Itta Bena, MS. He conducts research on public health and environmental monitoring and mapping applying Geographical Information Systems and Statistical tools. His current research focuses on water resources exploration and public health aspects for Southern California and received an internal grant from CSUSB. He enjoys teaching courses for graduate and undergraduate students in Master of Public Health, Health Sciences, Environmental health, Nutrition, Biology and Chemistry. Swat believes that education is a powerful tool to create the change that cultivates future societies. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Environmental Science from Jackson State University, received a Master of Science degree in Environmental biotechnology in 2008 and a Bachelor of Science in microbiology, biochemistry, and chemistry in 2006 from India. He serves for various scientific journals and educational communities as a reviewer. He is passionate about helping his students and followers to succeed in their life. He strongly believes in taking challenges to improve and succeed in life, without which one can not develop the career. He would like to see himself as a leader in the environmental politics and public health policy.
CDR Jason Lewis, MPH, REHS - Oregon
EHAC Co-Vice Chair for Undergraduate Programs and Practitioner
Lewis' twenty-eight-year career as an Environmental Health professional began while serving as a firefighter in the USAF. The prospect of continuing HAZMAT Emergency Response, upon separating from service, led him to East Tennessee State University. After graduating with a BS in Environmental Health (May 2000) and becoming an RS through the North Carolina Board of Sanitarian Examiners, Lewis gained experience in all programs at the county level. In 2005, as the Environmental Health Director for the Rutherford Polk McDowell Health District, he enrolled as a graduate student at UNC Chapel Hill completing a certificate in Field Epidemiology before obtaining a master’s degree in Public Health Leadership.
In 2008 Lewis accepted the position of Public Health County Director with the Tennessee Department of Health in the South-Central Rural Region. Operating as the Emergency Response Coordinator for a shelter during Hurricane Gustav and coordinating the delivery of H1N1 vaccine for their population were among the most memorable experiences during his time with TDOH. In 2011 he received a commission with the USPHS as an Environmental Health Officer, serving multiple agencies (USCG, IHS, & EPA) over the last thirteen years including his current assignment providing Safety, Health, and Environmental Management support to the Pacific Ecological Systems Division of the US Environmental Protection Agency in Corvallis and Newport, Oregon.
Lewis is a Registered Environmental Health Specialist and a Certified Industrial Hygienist with expertise in public health emergency preparedness and response as well as program planning and administration.
Sandra Long REHS/RS - Texas
Environmental Health Manager
Sandra M. Long is the Environmental Health Manager for the Town of Addison, Texas. Prior to hiring with the Town of Addison she was Environmental Health Supervisor for the City of Plano Environmental Health & Sustainability Department, and Director of Environmental Health for the City of The Colony, Texas.
Ms. Long is a graduate of Texas Woman’s University She is a Professional Sanitarian in the State of Texas and holds Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian and Certified Professional – Food Safety credentials with the National Environmental Health Association. She is a Certified Foodservice Manager Instructor & Proctor and a Food Code Standardization Trainer through the Texas Department of State Health Services. In addition to over 30 years of experience in food safety and inspections, other experience includes emergency preparedness, water and wastewater monitoring and testing, epidemiology, plan review, code enforcement and animal services.
Sandra is an active member of the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) and is a Past President of NEHA. She has served as a practitioner on the National Environmental Health Science & Protection Accreditation Council and has served on the Sanitarian Advisory Committee to the State of Texas as Presiding Officer.
Sandra has been an active member of Texas Environmental Health Association (TEHA), served on the TEHA state governing council and is a Past President of TEHA.
COL (Ret.) Wendell Moore, US Army, RS/REHS, DAAS, EdD – Maryland
EHAC Council Practitioner
COL Moore had a distinguished military career as an Environmental Science and Engineering Officer and currently serves as Executive Health Analyst with Veterans Health Administration, engaged with health policy issues that affect veterans on healthcare and social health determinants which increases the recognition of the importance of public health. His career experiences encompassed a broad spectrum of technical and applied environmental health sciences across organizational levels. He served in various staff and leadership positions in the areas of environmental/public/occupational health and safety including Commander/Director, Division Chief, Senior Advisor, and Project Manager; career culminating at the Pentagon, Secretary of the Army, Office of Environment, Safety and Occupational Health.
A visionary and mentor, he traveled and lived throughout the world, promoting and facilitating all aspects of environmental and public health; previously leading efforts on behalf of the US government with the World Health Organization to facilitate emergency assistance, environmental/public health and humanitarian restoration programs in Central America, Europe, and Middle East.
He is longtime member of the National Environmental Health Association, Uniform Services Environmental Health Association, and Past Chair/Diplomate of the American Academy of Sanitarians. His professional credentials include: Registered Sanitarian & Environmental Health Specialist, Registered Environmental Sanitarian, and Environmental Professional.
A staunch advocate for environmental health education, while on active duty he mentored young officers on career/professional development through formal civilian graduate education. He continues those same efforts by participating in NEHA/AAS/EH forums to advise and mentor EH students and young professionals.
Michele Morrone, PhD, REHS/RS - Ohio
EHAC Council Academician
Dr. Morrone is a professor and coordinator of the nationally-accredited Environmental Health Science program at Ohio University. She earned a Ph.D. in environmental planning from The Ohio State University, a M.S. in forest resources from the University of New Hampshire, and a B.S. in natural resources from The Ohio State University. She has published 6 books including: Ailing in Place: Environmental Inequities and Health Disparities in Appalachia; Food Safety: A Reference Handbook, 3rd Edition; Mountains of Injustice: Social and Environmental Equity in Appalachia; and Poisons on Our Plates: The Real Food Safety Problem in the U.S.. She is also the author of numerous papers and book chapters on environmental health topics including the community impacts of hydraulic fracturing, environmental health disparities in Appalachia, access to health care in rural areas, and environmental justice. During her tenure at Ohio University, Dr. Morrone has served as the Chair of the Department of Social and Public Health, the Director of the Appalachian Rural Health Institute, the Director of Environmental Studies, and the Associate Director of Academic Affairs for the Voinovich School. Her service outside of the university includes being a founding member of the Ohio Rural Health Association, conducting community health assessments for small rural counties in Ohio, writing the Ohio Rural Health Development Plan, serving as the President of the Appalachian Studies Association, and serving as a peer reviewer for the Fulbright US Scholar Program and the National Institutes of Health Special Emphasis Panel on Excellence in Environmental Health Research.
Timothy Murphy, PhD, REHS, DAAS - Ohio
EHAC Council Co-Vice Chair Undergraduate Programs and Academician
Dr. Murphy is an Associate Professor and Department Chair, in the Environmental Safety and Occupational Health Programs, and instructs in the EHAC accredited M.Sc. program as well as the EHAC and ABET accredited B.Sc. program. He is the 2009 College of Science Faculty Chair at The University of Findlay, and served at the President of the University Faculty Senate for the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 academic years. He has more than 28 years experience in local environmental public health, environmental remediation and environmental, safety and occupational health education. Under Dr. Murphy’s leadership, enrollment in the ESOH undergraduate program has grown from freshmen class sizes of 10 to incoming classes of 20 - 25 in the last 3 years.
Dr. Murphy is a past recipient of an Environmental Public Health Leadership Institute (EPHLI) Fellowship and was a mentor in the EPHLI program for 4 years. Dr. Murphy’s primary research interests include public health leadership and workforce development issues, including credentialing of environmental public health officers and the educational competencies of the credentialed professional. His research interests also include emergency preparedness and emergency response, along with solid and hazardous waste management issues.
Dr. Murphy’s interest in serving on the EHAC council is his desire to ensure that the knowledge, skills and abilities of future environmental health professionals remain at the highest level of competency. One way to help achieve this goal is by continued improvement in environmental health curriculum, raising the awareness of the field of environmental health as a career choice amongst high school students, and adding more EHAC accredited academic programs across the nation.
Lee A. Newman, PhD - New York
EHAC Council Director-At-Large and Academician
Dr. Lee Newman has experience both as an environmental health practitioner as the former president of a remediation/consulting firm, and as an academic who has done research in the area of environmental remediation and toxicity for over 20 years. As Coordinator for SUNY-ESF’s new Environmental Health program, she understands the work that goes into preparing a program for accreditation, of navigating the paperwork, and is deeply grateful to all those in EHAC who helped her along the path to accreditation. She hopes to be able to help other new programs to gain their accreditation as she herself was helped by other EHAC members. Her background includes being an Associate Professor of Biotechnology at SUNY ESF, the Founding President of the International Phytotechnology Society, and the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Phytoremediation. She has previously held faculty positions at the University of Washington and the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina and was a Research Biochemist at the DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory. Dr. Newman has extensive experience in organizing conferences, and also in obtaining funding for student involvement, and looks forward to being able to help increase student involvement in these programs and opportunities.
Priscilla Oliver, PhD - Georgia
EHAC Council Practitioner
Priscilla Oliver, PhD is the Immediate Past President of the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA). She has served as NEHAPAC Treasurer. It has been an honor to serve in environmental health at various levels. She served as a Student Fellow in the U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Health and Environment Subcommittee, as a Scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and is a Faculty Member for the Morehouse School of Medicine, Master of Public Health Program teaching Environmental Health. Dr. Oliver served on the Technical Editorial Advisory Board, CoChair of the Hazardous Materials and Toxic Substances Section, and the Board of Directors of NEHA over the past twenty years. She is a strong advocate for education, funding, policy, and legislation for environmental health.
Dr. Oliver's experiences include inspecting, teaching, writing, and advocacy. She was an EPA Greater Leaderships Opportunities Fellow. She wrote environmental impact statements, reviewed, managed grants and contracts to colleges, city, state, and community organizations. Dr. Oliver is a member of the National Council on Diversity in Environmental (NCODE) Health. She is the National Sanitation Foundation 2014 Walter F. Snyder Award Recipient in Environmental Health.
Dr. Oliver is a graduate of the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa with a B.S. Degree in Biology. She has Master and PhD. Degrees in Public, Educational, and Health Administration from Georgia State University Atlanta. Recruiting minority, diverse program, faculty, and students, improving relationships between organizations, faculty, students, and maintaining and advancing NEHAPAC are her environmental health interest areas.
Clint Pinion, DrPH, MA, RS, CIT - Kentucky
EHAC Council Academician
Dr. Clint Pinion currently serves as the Associate Dean of Applied Practice and Continuing Education for the College of Health Sciences and Public Policy at Walden University. Prior to Walden, he served as the Dean of Health Technologies at Southwest Virginia Community College (SWCC) in Cedar Bluff, Virginia, and as the Director of the Master of Public Health Program and Associate Professor of Environmental Health Science at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU). He has experience as a Health, Safety, and Environmental professional in the oil and gas industry, serving as the Global Health, Safety, and Environmental (HSE) Education and Training Manger for a global EPFC company.
Dr. Pinion earned his Doctor of Public Health degree (Environmental and Occupational Health Science) from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), School of Public Health. He also earned a Doctor of Education degree (Educational Leadership and Policy Studies), Master of Public Health degree (Environmental Health Science), and a Master of Arts degree (Student Personnel Services in Higher Education) from EKU. He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Biology from Berea College.
Dr. Pinion currently serves as a technical advisor for the National Environmental Health Association. He is a Past-President of the Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs, the Kentucky Environmental Health Association, and the American Industrial Hygiene Association-Kentuckiana Section. Dr. Pinion is a Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and a Certified Instructional Trainer through the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.
Lok Pokhrel, MSc, MS, PhD - North Carolina
EHAC Council Academician
Dr. Pokhrel is an Assistant Professor of Toxicology in the Environmental Health program (EHAC accredited) within the Department of Health Education and Promotion and holds a joint appointment with the Department of Public Health, at East Carolina University (ECU). He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Zoology, a second master’s in Biology, and obtained his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Environmental Health, East Tennessee State University (ETSU), where I currently serve as a full-time faculty. Trained as an environmental health specialist, toxicologist and risk assessor, Dr. Pokhrel brings a rich academic experience of 27 years in teaching and 14 years of research and service. He serves on the review panel for the national (USEPA-SBIR; ASPPH-CDC Public Health Fellowship) and international (Research Science Center of Poland, Research Grants Council of Hong Kong) granting agencies, as an expert reviewer for over two dozen peer-reviewed journals, as an editorial board member for two journals, and serves as an advisor for BHORE, Nepal.
At ECU, Dr. Pokhrel teaches at undergraduate (BSEH/BSPH), master’s (MSEH) and doctoral (DrPH Environmental and Occupational Health) programs, and directs Nanotechnology and Health Lab. He is very passionate about student learning and success, promotes hands-on training, robust curriculum development. Pokhrel's long and rich academic experience in teaching environmental health and related courses contributes to EHAC’s mission to promote education and training in environmental health.
CAPT Mike Quinn is a senior Environmental Health Officer (EHO) in the US Public Health Service (USPHS). He currently serves as the Chief of Safety & Health Operations for the US Department of the Interior (DOI) where he oversees occupational safety and health (OSH) activities for ten federal agencies. CDR Quinn is past-chair of the Environmental Health Officer Professional Advisory Committee (EHOPAC) and a current member of NEHA’s Student & Young Professional Advisory Committee. As an EHOPAC member, he led initial development of the Adopt-a-School Program. He has previously worked with the EHAC regarding EHO appointment standards and internship programs.
CAPT Quinn has over 25 years of experience as a practicing safety professional, industrial hygienist, and environmental health specialist working for seven federal agencies. He is the first USPHS officer to ever serve as a national-level OSH program director for a DOI agency (i.e. the National Park Service). Prior to joining the USPHS, he worked as a consultant for the Idaho OSHA Consultation Program. He began his career as an enlisted preventive medicine specialist in the US Navy. CDR Quinn holds BS degrees in EH and Biology from Boise State University, an MPH in Public Health Practice from the University of South Florida (USF), and a MS in Safety Sciences from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is currently pursuing a DrPH degree also at USF.
CAPT Quinn is interested in supporting the next generation of EH practitioners through professional development and by ensuring that high-quality training programs are available to support the long-term viability/success of the profession.
COL (Ret.) Welford Roberts, PhD, DLAAS, RS/REHS - Virginia
EHAC Council Practitioner
Dr. Welford Clayton Roberts has a Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Environmental Health Sciences (focus, occupational health/industrial toxicology), from the Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina. He has Master (M.S.) and Bachelor (B.A.) degrees in biology from Hampton University, VA, and a Diploma from Philadelphia’s Central High School. He earned U.S. Army diplomas from the Command and General Staff College and the Academy of Health Sciences. Dr. Roberts served in the U.S. Army for 23 years and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. Initially a Transportation Marine Terminal Operations Officer, he served with a transportation battalion for 2 years, and subsequently became a Medical Service Corps Environmental Science Officer. During his active- and post-military careers, he gained experience in toxicology, hospital safety & sanitation, radiation protection, occupational health, risk assessment, industrial hygiene, institutional sanitation, food sanitation, disease control, epidemiology, and more. He has been a professor in undergraduate, graduate, and medical degree programs, a consultant, and research principal investigator. Dr. Roberts authored 98 professional publications, including two munitions drinking water health advisory books. He is a past President of the National Environmental Health Association and is a Registered Sanitarian and Registered Environmental Health Specialist. He also is a Diplomate Laureate of the American Academy of Sanitarians. Dr. Roberts is currently retired but continues to voluntarily serve several environmental health and sanitation professional organizations to include the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), the NEHA Past Presidents Association, the American Academy of Sanitarians, and the Uniformed Services Environmental Health Association.
Dr. Rania Sabty is a Registered Environmental Health Specialist and an Industrial hygienist. She currently holds a position at the UCLA Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program (UCLA-LOSH). Her role is Program Manager/ Educator for the Western Region Universities Consortium (WRUC), a four-university partnership, led by UCLA-LOSH, federally funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and, focused on mitigating exposure to occupational and environmental hazards, in U.S. EPA regions 9 and 10. Overall goals of the WRUC program are to protect workers and communities from exposure to hazardous materials and hazardous wastes; to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies/disasters; and to create pathways to careers, among underserved populations, in green jobs.
Her current role at UCLA-LOSH includes working closely with NIEHS, university partners, student researchers, worker and community-based organizations, environmental and public health departments, worker health departments, occupational safety and health professionals and, state and local government representatives. She is interested in pursuing initiatives that address climate resilience, adaptation and action.
She has 20+ years of experience in academia. Prior to her current position at UCLA- LOSH, she was Assistant Professor in Environmental and Occupational Health at California State University Northridge (CSUN) for four years, and previously, Lecturer at CSUN for seven years. She has over 20 years of experience designing, developing and instructing Environmental Health curricula for universities. She has held prior academic positions at California State University Los Angeles and Trident University International.
She has experience in program accreditation processes. At CSUN, she was lead author on the EOH department self-study reports for EHAC accreditation (BS and MS programs), which resulted in a full 6-year re-accreditation for both the BS and MS programs, in 2020. At Trident University, she played a key role in the accreditation of the B.S. in Health Science program which became the first program to reach WASC accreditation status at the university.
Her research experience is based in workplace, laboratory and community settings. Her most recent research was funded by NIOSH and focused on evaluating the exposure of outdoor day laborers to heat stress and other workplace hazards. She has conducted research that addressed reducing children’s exposure to near-roadway air pollutants, utilizing a community-participatory approach to assess needs, set priorities, identify solutions, implement an intervention and evaluate the effectiveness of air filtration systems on indoor air quality inside classrooms. She also led a study to assess the exposure of children to environmental hazards in a largely Latino low-income public housing community, using community-based participatory methods. Additional past research experiences include assessment of aerosol particle size distribution and worker exposure to chromate-containing paint in the aerospace industry.
She is passionate about environmental justice as well as, occupational health and safety in underserved and underrepresented worker groups. She is currently member of the Community Advisory Group for the Exide project where she provides technical expertise for protecting under-represented and underserved communities and workers during lead clean-up activities. She has participated in policy making initiatives, including setting the Process Safety Management standard for petroleum refineries in California and, the Indoor Heat Illness standard in California.
Outside of academia, she has held employments as environmental health specialist at the UCLA Labor Occupational Safety and Health program and, at Johnson and Johnson industries. In addition, she provided consulting services for environmental litigation and for assessing health and safety in Maquiladora industries located along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Rania has served EHAC since 2018 and is currently Treasurer of the council.
Christopher Sparks, MPH, MPA, RS - Texas
EHAC Council Practitioner
Christopher Sparks is the Bureau Chief for Consumer Health Services with the Houston Health Department (HHD). He manages the City of Houston’s Special Waste/Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG), EMS, Consumer Health Vehicles Inspections, Aquatic Facilities/Swimming Pool, Retail Food Safety Inspections, and Data Analytics Programs. Mr. Sparks is in his 23rd year of progressively responsible experience in government, public health, and environmental health programs.
His career in public service and public health began as a Public Health Sanitarian with the Cleveland (Ohio) Department of Public Health from 2000–2010. Prior to joining HHD in 2016, He served as a Health Physicist in the Radiation Control Program from 2010–2013, the State Program Manager for Public Sanitation and Retail Food Safety from 2013–2016, both with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), and as Chief Sanitarian for HHD from 2016-2022. In addition to his extensive background in field inspections, his expertise includes evaluating, planning, organizing, managing, and implementing Environmental Health programs.
Mr. Sparks has a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from the University of Akron, a Master of Public Administration (MPA) and Graduate Certification in Local and Urban Management from Cleveland State University, and a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Environmental Health from Texas A&M University.
Laura Suppes, PhD, MPH, REHS
EHAC Council Secretary and Academician
Laura M. Suppes, PhD, MPH, REHS, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. She received her BSEPH from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire in Environmental Public Health, her MPH in Public Health Administration and Policy from the University of Minnesota, and her PhD in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of Arizona. Her research interests
are chemical and biological hazard identification and remediation in recreational water, exposure assessment, and Quantitative Microbiological Risk Assessment. Dr. Suppes became interested in recreational water safety while working as a Registered Environmental Health Specialist for a local health department in Minnesota. Dr. Suppes has served on the Model Aquatic Health Code Technical Review Committee, Pool and Hot Tub Alliance Education Cadre, and is a Pool and Hot Tub Alliance instructor of the Certified Pool Operator course. She has consulted for the National Environmental Health Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, assisting health departments compare state and local pool codes to the Model Aquatic Health Code. Her most recent research focuses on assessing the impact of cyanuric acid on gastrointestinal illness risk among swimmers and exploring float tank facility operating practices. Dr. Suppes has served on the EHAC Council and Board. She is passionate about environmental health and helping students in her EHAC accredited program. Serving on the EHAC Council has been one way Dr. Suppes can contribute to other EHAC accredited programs and their students.
Cindy Weckwerth, REHS, MS - Minnesota
EHAC Council Treasurer and Practitioner
Cindy Weckwerth, MS, REHS, has been an Environmental Health professional for 25 years. She currently serves as the Director of Environmental Health for the City of Minneapolis Health Department (MN) and works in policy and program development; planning; and implementation. Her team consults with and inspects food businesses, hotels, public pools, body art and piercing businesses, farmers markets, food trucks and special event food vendors. In the past year, her team has also served in many roles in response to the COVID pandemic, including CICT, PPE distribution, assisting businesses in instituting COVID safe practices, and serving at COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinics. Prior to her appointment as Director, Ms. Weckwerth served as a supervisor in Minneapolis for the 6 years.
Before joining the City of Minneapolis, Cindy served as a program manager in Washington County, MN for 8 years. Her programs included food, lodging and pools; groundwater; septic systems; indoor air/radon; and recreational and youth camps. Cindy has also worked in environmental health for Anoka County (MN), Minnesota Department of Health, and the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District (MN).
Ms. Weckwerth has been a frequent presenter at NEHA and Regional NEHA conferences. She is also a Merit Award recipient from the Minnesota Environmental Health Assoc. Additionally, the Minneapolis Health Department was recently awarded the Samuel J. Crumbine Award for Excellence in Food Protection. Ms. Weckwerth earned her Masters Degree in Environmental Health from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and her Bachelors Degree in Biology from Wartburg College.
Anne Marie Zimeri, PhD - Georgia
EHAC Council Academic
Dr. Zimeri has been the Program Director of the University of Georgia Bachelor's of Science degree in Environmental Health (BSEH) from 2008-present, and she is the main lecturer for the program. Dr. Zimeri has been the lead on two EHAC accreditation cycles for the program. She also served as the president of the Association for Environmental Health Academic Programs (AEHAP). During her time as an active member in AEHAP and member of NEHA, Dr. Zimeri published one research article and four columns in the NEHA journal: Journal of Environmental Health.
Dr. Zimeri is the instructor of record for the BSEH Degree program’s Introductory course, Solid and Hazardous Waste Management, Bioremediation, and Genetic Applications in Environmental Health courses. She also researches the scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education. Her interests in pedagogy are focused on inspiring behavioral changes and environmentalism through coursework and training students for careers in public health. Dr. Zimeri has published five pedagogical papers specific to environmental health in higher education.
Dr. Zimeri’s training is in genetics, which she has used in research directed toward the manipulation of small metal binding molecules important to human health, and toward eliminating mycotoxins from the environment and the food supply. Her most current research, funded by the FDA, was focused on food safety in the USDA Certified Organic System with the specific aim of characterizing the microbiome of soil amended with biological soil amendments of animal origin. She has published her research in eight different peer-reviewed journals.