Training and Mentoring the EH Workforce
CDC partnered with the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) to provide practice-based training, mentoring, and educational resources to improve the skills of EH professionals in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).
NEHA developed and implemented a long-term workforce development program with technical classroom and field-based training in a range of EH programmatic areas. Instruction covered the scientific, technical, and procedural aspects of EH practice and included conducting inspections and assessing and monitoring facilities and performing technical aspects of food safety and drinking water safety.
In Puerto Rico, NEHA
- Assessed the training needs in Puerto Rico before developing the training and mentorship program, finding food safety to be the largest program.
- Provided training on professional food management, temporary food establishments, and food safety during natural disasters.
- Mentored staff members on connecting with EH professionals, strengthening EH knowledge, improving leadership and management practices
- Created long-term professional workforce development, expanded leadership, and increased capacity for disaster response.
- Established a mentorship program to pair Puerto Rico staff with experienced environmental health specialists in other U.S. local and state health departments.
In USVI, NEHA
- Established a mentorship program to pair USVI Division of Environmental Health (DEH) staff with experienced environmental health specialists in local and state health departments. This program exposed USVI DEH staff to the EH practice and service delivery areas in health departments across the nation.
- Coordinated delivery of an abbreviated version of CDC’s Environmental Health Training in Emergency Response Awareness Level course to environmental health professionals (USVI DEH) and vector control professionals (USVI Department of Health).
- Performed an assessment and recommended ways USVI DEH could establish and maintain a program to get EH staff credentialed. Procured and shipped environmental health equipment and resources to USVI DEH.
- Procured and shipped environmental health equipment and resources to USVI DEH.
- Provided technical assistance and consulted with USVI DEH to hire environmental health staff within the jurisdiction.
- Provided extensive environmental health training to environmental health professionals in USVI DEH, including topics such as food safety, facility assessments and inspections, inspector etiquette, negotiation and conflict resolution, and more.