Lab Matters Summer 2018 - Page 6

environmental health Leaders in Addressing Environmental Health Issues: MN and WA Host System Meetings by Paul Moyer, MS, section manager, Environmental Laboratory, Minnesota Public Health Laboratory; Blaine Rhodes, MS, director, Office of Environmental Laboratory Sciences, Washington Public Health Laboratory; Sarah Wright, MS, manager, Environmental Laboratories prove critical going forward, since CECs— which tend to mirror our lifestyles —can be expected to evolve as lifestyles and related risks change. For others considering hosting similar meetings, our lessons learned include the importance of proper advance planning, curation of good contact lists for invitees, and knowledge of what attendees are interested in learning and discussing. Contracting with an independent facilitator and gathering feedback in small group sessions proved effective. Katie Nyquist of MDH’s Environmental Surveillance and Assessment Section, a key lab partner, presents on Communicating the Science of Emerging Contaminants. Photo: MDH Since 2014, APHL has partnered with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Environmental Health (CDC/NCEH) Environmental Hazards and Health Effects Division to provide funding for environmental health laboratories to host a meeting of their environmental health system partners. By providing an opportunity for collaboration, these meetings support laboratory leadership in addressing systems issues. In 2017, APHL offered environmental health Dr. Joanne Bartkus, MDH Lab Director, discusses results from science communication small breakout group sessions. Photo: MDH laboratories a chance to apply for up to $15,000 of funding for meeting support. Minnesota and Washington were awarded funding and convened stakeholder meetings in 2018. Washington: West Coast Regional Radiological Response Meeting Minnesota: Science and Policy of Emerging Contaminants Releases of radioactive materials do not recognize borders. They move among states as the winds take them. With this sobering reality in view, 19 representatives from Washington, Oregon and California met at the Washington State Public Health Laboratories (WA PHL) in May to address west coast regional responses to a multi-state radiological release event. Attendees comprised a unique group of health physicists and radiochemists, plus representatives from the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and US Department of Energy who shared advanced resources available from the federal government during a large-scale event. Prioritizing selection and investigation of contaminants of emerging concern (CEC) is challenging. But equally challenging is developing a strategy to communicate information about CECs to stakeholders and the public. On May 22, 86 attendees gathered at a venue selected by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Public Health Laboratory to promote the value of this work and create meaningful policies and practices to reduce CECs in the environment. Collaboration began with the planning and logistics team. Personnel from the MDH Environmental Laboratory, 4 LAB MATTERS Summer 2018 MDH Environmental Surveillance and Assessment program and MDH Chronic Disease and Environmental Epidemiology program developed the full-day agenda, which included whole- and small-group discussions. Invitees included representatives from state, county or local environmental programs, industry and other private sector entities, environmental advocacy groups and academia. We discovered that Minnesota has a diverse community of CEC-interested stakeholders who are willing to collaborate and engage with each other. The stakeholders are motivated to learn and utilize proven techniques for outreach to the public. These relationships will PublicHealthLabs @APHL APHL.org