NEHA October 2022 Journal of Environmental Health

October 2022 • Journal of Environmental Health 53 For the first time in our 85-year history of hosting the AEC, the conference was delivered in a hybrid format that allowed attendees to participate in person and virtually. Almost 1,400 registered individuals—991 in person and 394 virtually—attended more than 200 educational sessions, three featured sessions, and a poster session that showcased 25 research projects. Included within the main session tracks (see page 52) were emerging environmental and public health issues such as the ongoing fentanyl crisis, climate change including flooding and wildfires, environmental justice andmental health a…er disasters, and COVID19 and wastewater surveillance. Two educational sessions focused on the current fentanyl crisis. Dr. Nicole Rodin, an assistant professor at the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences within Washington State University, presented a captivating discussion on the current illicit fentanyl data and trends, what illicit fentanyl is, how it is a unique opioid, and current harm reduction strategies and their value. Dr. Rodin’s session was followed by a presentation given by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agents Jacob D. Galvan from the Seattle Field Division and Mark T. Haigh from the Spokane District O™ice. They spoke of the primary mission of DEA to identify and target the most dangerous individuals and organizations who are causing harm and bringing violence to our communities, as well as how we as environmental and public health professionals can work together to address the skyrocketing number of lethal overdoses and reduce drug-related violence through education and awareness. The NEHA Climate Health Adaptation and Mitigation Partnership (CHAMP) Framework and Program was unveiled during a panel discussion. The panel provided an overview of the program that featured a paradigm or modeling approach to shed light on climate change and the role of the environmental health workforce. The panel included members from state, tribal, local, and territorial jurisdictions who shared their perspectives on climate change and response to environmental health hazards as both emerging and ignored issues. The panel maintained a sharp focus on equity and environmental justice as they discussed the opportunities and dilemmas facing environmental health professionals who serve the diverse needs of vulnerable populations and communities. The 2022 AEC brought with it a multitude of educational sessions that focused on a variety of aspects related to COVID-19. In a session titled, Addressing the Pandemic From the Sewer: Highlights From New Mexico’s COVID-19 Wastewater Surveillance Program in Congregate Settings, T. Justin Garoutte, the health equity director for the New Mexico Department of Health, told the story of an innovative wastewater surveillance program. From December 2020 to October 2021, the New Mexico Environment Department launched and operated a wastewater surveillance program to monitor SARS-CoV-2 at congregate settings in the state to slow the spread of COVID-19. The NEHA 2023 AEC is scheduled for July 31–August 3, 2023, in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Call of Abstracts was opened from August 29 to September 30, 2022. We are exploring many relevant topics for the 2023 AEC, including sessions on the latest data and technologies; emerging issues such indoor air quality, emerging pathogens, risk communications, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS); infectious diseases such as monkeypox and polio; flooding, wildfires, and hurricanes; environmental justice; and workforce diversity. Visit www.neha.org/aec for all the latest 2023 AEC information and news. SPOKANE, WASHINGTON Education & Training

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