NEHA November 2022 Journal of Environmental Health

November 2022 • Journal of Environmental Health 59 NEHA NEWS tion o erings (other than the NEHA Annual Educational Conference & Exhibition), and advocacy for the profession. The top three services rated the highest for satisfaction were credentialing, educational o erings, and the Journal of Environmental Health. Approximately one quarter of respondents said they were unaware of government a airs services and funding and scholarship opportunities. These results show where we might better market and raise awareness about the benefits of each product and service we o er (Table 1). Mentioned as a valued service, one of the premier credentials we o er is the Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian (REHS/RS) credential. Overall, 67% of respondents (n = 517) indicated they hold this credential and were highly satisfied; respondents rated this credential as a 4.2 on a 5-point Likert satisfaction scale. Respondents would like us to o er additional credentials (e.g., HACCP, pool inspection, onsite wastewater systems, air quality, healthy homes, hazardous waste, solid waste, water, and drinking water) and shared there is a need for credential reciprocity with and between states. In addition to the traditional food safety focus, respondents suggested more focus in emerging topics, trends, and updates in the field. Respondents suggested we provide education, training, and support on topics including water quality, wastewater, healthy homes, institutions (e.g., schools, hospitals, etc.), climate change, body art, hazardous waste, solid waste, emergency preparedness, and informatics. Some noted an interest in policy, government, legal briefs, and legislative updates. Furthermore, there was an identified need for workforce information such as career and salary data, how to collaborate with local stakeholders, how environmental health is interconnected with other disciplines, leadership, and workplace culture. Most respondents are interested in receiving regular updates from us about training opportunities, updates to environmental health practice and science, information on national and state policy updates, training opportunities from other organizations, and updates on environmental health technologies. Respondents want to receive this information as a one-way communication from us through emails and the NEHA website. About one quarter of respondents are interested in more active engagement with us through committee participation, as a reviewer or subject matter expert to provide input on programs and services, and to join LinkedIn groups to engage with other environmental health professionals. Lastly, three key challenges were identified. Respondents shared the greatest challenge they face is recruiting trained environmental health professionals. The next greatest challenge is retaining environmental health professionals followed by managing pushback from local businesses on the authority of regulators (Figure 1). The promotion of environmental health as a career opportunity is drastically needed and respondents suggested that we actively promote the profession to the public, represent the profession better, and spread the word on what we do and why it is important. These results have been shared internally with our sta , leadership, national o˜cers, and regional vice-presidents. It is our mission to build, sustain, and empower an e ective environmental health workforce and with this information, we are committed to making improvements to best meet the expressed requests of our members. A few exciting changes are coming soon that address new topics, how we engage and communicate with members, and how we can advocate for the profession: • We were recently awarded funds by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a project focused on lead, which will expand the breadth of environmental health work we support in addition to food safety. The initiative will include training, resource development, and a mini grant opportunity. • In 2022, we expanded the National Environmental Public Health Internship Program as one strategy to help address the limited pipeline of trained environmental health professionals. The program links environmental health students with environmental public health programs. Internship funding for students and health departments is provided by CDC. • We are launching a newly designed and updated website as one of many steps we are taking to make resources, education, and advocacy for the profession easy to find and use. • Along with the launch of our new website, we are introducing an online community platform for members to engage with each other in thoughtful discussions to share ideas, information, and ask questions. Extent of Top Three Challenges Identified in the 2022 Membership Questionnaire 19 30 27 24 14 20 29 37 21 37 25 17 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 No Challenge Somewhat of a Challenge Challenging Very Challenging Percentage of Respondents (%) Level of Challenge Retain Environmental Health Professionals Recruit Trained Environmental Health Professionals Pushback From Local Businesses on the Authority of Regulators FIGURE 1