Environmental Health Division

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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.

Colleen Paulus Has Retired

After a distinguished 35 year career in public service, Colleen Paulus retired from MDH on July 15.  She arrived 14 years ago at the Minnesota Department of Health as the Manager of the Food Pools and Lodging Services Section in Environmental Health. Prior to that she had 21 years managing and working in Environmental Health programs in local government for the cities of Brooklyn Park and Edina. Her leadership has been a valued asset to Environmental Health and the MDH food safety program.

New Section Manager for IER

Mary Navara has been selected to be the next Indoor Environments & Radiation (IER) Section Manager in the Environmental Health Division. Mary’s background and experience in public health, occupational nursing and business management will be valuable as she takes on the role of section manager. Her experience includes work at the local public health level – most recently she was the supervisor of the X-ray Program within the IER Section. Her skills and abilities will be an asset to the division and agency as well.  Join us in congratulating Mary in her new role.

Poster Contest/Winners Selected

H2O for Life, the Minnesota Department of Health, Dow Water and Process Solutions, Elkay, and the Minnesota Section of the American Water Works Association sponsored a poster contest for Minnesota youth, K-12 encouraging people to choose tap water over bottled water.  We received over 900 poster submissions from elementary, middle, and high school students from around the state of Minnesota.  The winning entries came from Garden of Hope Montessori School in White Bear Lake, Centennial Middle School in Lino Lakes, and Centennial High School in Circle Pines .  Winners received a $50 award and will have a bottle filling station from Elkay installed at their school. 

Radiation Control Staff Attended CRCPD in Atlanta

This year’s national Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors (CRCPD) conference was held in May.  Sherrie Flaherty, Mary Navara, and Craig Verke attended the conference with Dale Dorschner attending as Minnesota’s Director. This conference was a valuable opportunity for X-ray and RAM to network, share ideas, and partner with other states as the industry continues to grow and change at an accelerated rate.  Noted highlights include:

  • Sherrie Flaherty and the RAM Unit were given the nod for program excellence by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • The X-ray Program is completely in sync with the rest of the country in identifying issues and trends in Fluoroscopy. Craig and Mary took advantage of a pre-conference educational session on this modality, as the applied use of fluoroscopy is challenging the boundaries of X-ray practice in Minnesota. Updates to X-ray Rule 4732 will address the health and safety issues related to this technology.

The CRCPD is a professional organization dedicated to radiation protection. Its mission is to promote consistency in addressing and resolving radiation protection issues, to promote quality in radiation protection programs, and provide education.

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Updated Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 02:58PM