NEHA December 2022 Journal of Environmental Health

60 Volume 85 • Number 5 NEHA NEWS YOUR ASSOCIATION NEHA Advocates for Environmental Health in Washington, DC The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) President Dr. D. Gary Brown, Region 7 Vice-President Tim Hatch, and Director of Government Aairs Doug Farquhar visited the U.S. Senate during the NEHA Board of Directors meeting in Washington, DC, on October 13, 2022, to advocate for the environmental health workforce. Our representatives first met with the o’ce of Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate minority leader, to discuss environmental health and the importance of federal support of state and local food safety, vector control, and epidemiology programs, among other environmental health needs. Dr. Brown emphasized that the environmental health workforce relies on federal support from the Food and Drug Administration and the National Center for Environmental Health within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Photo 1. National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) representatives Doug Farquhar (left) and Dr. D. Gary Brown (right) visit the oce of Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL). Photo courtesy of NEHA. We next met with sta from the o’ce of Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee (Photo 1). Hatch spoke about Alabama’s environmental health activities and the value of federal funds to support environmental health. The sta from Shelby’s o’ce knew of environmental health, referencing the $5 million in federal support being provided for septic systems in Lowndes County. Hatch also spoke on emergency management and other concerns facing the state. He noted the value of the training provided through the Public Health Infrastructure Act, but added that environmental health is often overlooked. Our representatives also met with o’ce sta of Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL; Photo 2). Finally, we were fortunate to hold a meeting in the Senate hallways with Dr. Pat Breysse, director, and Pam Berman, associate director of policy, from the National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry within CDC. They were in Washington, DC, to testify before the Senate on climate change. If you have questions about this visit or would like to support future government aairs activities, please email NEHA Recommends Improvements to Food and Drug Administration Human Foods Program In October, NEHA provided comment on the operations of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Human Foods Program to the Reagan-Udall Foundation as part of their FDA Operational Evaluation. Their evaluation will focus on structure, leadership, authority, resources, and the culture of the human foods program. NEHA represents more than 6,700 individuals who are responsible for keeping food safe and communities free from foodborne illness daily and for implementing federal food safety regulations and programs. “Environmental health and foodborne illness risk factors are profoundly local. Individual restaurants are the most reported locations of food preparation associated with foodborne illness outbreaks, many in sit-down establishments,” said Doug Farquhar, NEHA Government Aairs director. “History has shown that the single most important investment FDA can make is to build the capacity of local environmental health inspectors by supporting systems that provide training, skills, tools, and resources.” Photo 2. National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) Board of Directors representatives Dr. D. Gary Brown (left) and Tim Hatch (right) visit the oce of Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL). Photo courtesy of NEHA.