Environmental Health Division
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Dr. Paul Anderson, Fellow at Mayo Clinic
Dr. Anderson spent the month of August with the Health Impact Assessment (HIA) and MN Climate & Health Program learning about MDH’s progressive work in these areas. Dr. Anderson worked with staff on ways to incorporate health into the environmental review process and will be presenting a brownbag on his extensive HIA experience reviewing large natural resource development projects in Alaska. Dr. Anderson’s presentation will be on September 22nd at 12 PM in Freeman, B145.
Food Inspections at the State Fair
With thermometers in hand, EH staff conducted over 275 food inspections at the State Fair. Emphasis was put on food safety education. Supervisors worked closely with the State Fair Board to verify licensing for vendors and conduct plan reviews prior to the event. In addition to inspecting food stands, MDH licensed and inspected the camping areas and the youth camps on the fairgrounds. The FPLS inspectors behind the scenes ensure safe food at the State Fair.
State Fair EcoExperience
The Environmental Health (EH) Division once again participated in the water resource display at the State Fair EcoExperience, bringing back last years’ new drinking water display and posters from this year’s H20 for Life contest. This is a collaboration with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the EH Sections of Drinking Water Protection, Well Management, and Environmental Surveillance and Assessment. Thirty-eight volunteers from MDH took part in this, providing lots of information to Fairgoers that included some very popular new information pieces developed by the sections. The EH Division Team that pulled all this together includes Norm Mofjeld, Leslie Winter, Katie Nyquist, Sue Lang, and Nancy Laplante. Thanks to the Team and all the volunteers for all their efforts!
Sherrie Flaherty, New Chair-elect for the OAS Board
Radioactive Materials Supervisor, Sherrie Flaherty was elected to a three-year term to service on the Organization of Agreement States (OAS) Board as the chair-elect. The OAS provides a mechanism for Agreement States and The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to work together on regulatory issues associated with radiation safety across the nation.
American Institute of Architects Annual Conference
Kristin Raab, ESA, presented a half-day training on Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) on June 25 at the American Institute of Architects annual conference. She co-taught the class with staff from the Health Impact Project, a partnership between the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation forwarding the use of HIA in the US. Over 30 architects, landscape architects and city planners attended the training. Kristin was also recently elected by her national peers in HIA to serve on the Steering Committee for the Society of Practitioners of Health Impact Assessment (SOPHIA), the national association for HIA practitioners. Congratulations Kristin!
MDH to Participate in Manganese Issues in Minnesota
Sarah Johnson from the Health Risk Assessment Unit is a selected participant of a white paper working group on manganese issues in Minnesota. The group is sponsored by the Minnesota Groundwater Association (MGWA) with representatives of government, academia, and industry. The goal of the white paper is to increase awareness among consumers and water supply professionals about the potential health risks posed by manganese in drinking water, to describe the occurrence of manganese in Minnesota groundwater, and to discuss ways that exposure to manganese can be reduced. The white paper is expected to be completed in June 2015.
MDH Attended Veteran’s Career Fair
Mark Sloan from Drinking Water Protection attended the Veteran’s Career Fair, sponsored by DEED and the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, on July 9, 2014. More than 140 Minnesota employers with job openings participated. He, along with representatives from St. Cloud Technical College (SCTC) and Vermilion Community College (VCC), spoke to veterans about working in the water sector. Both SCTC and VCC offer programs to train students and adults to be water supply system and wastewater treatment facility operators. With his experience as an operator and his experience at MDH certifying water operators, Mark was able to provide valuable information to Vets that attended the fair.
Waterville Community Flood Clean-Up Efforts
Dan Tranter in the Indoor Air Unit completed a presentation on flood cleanup and mold to the Waterville community on July 10. About 100 people from the town and neighboring areas attended the city council meeting. Dan will also be training MDH staff working at Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC). Indoor Air staff are planning to work some of these DRCs.
Co-Chair for Demonstration of Knowledge Committee
April Bogard has been selected to co-chair the Demonstration of Knowledge committee for the Conference for Food Protection (CFP). The committee will work to identify the pros/cons of the current FDA language regarding demonstration of knowledge for the person in charge of food establishments; identify other methods that might be used to demonstrate knowledge; and identify the pros/cons of each alternate method. The Committee will meet over the next two years and will report back to the 2016 CFP Conference.
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