Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service

Environmental Health Officer Professional Advisory Committee

Congratulations to the 2019 EHOPAC Award Winners

On behalf of the EHOPAC Awards and Recognition Subcommittee, please join me in congratulating our 2019 EHOPAC Award winners! As usual, there were many deserving nominations which made it quite difficult for the EHOPAC to choose just one winner for each of these prestigious awards. Congratulations to everyone nominated! A big thank you goes to all the nominators that took the time to write thoughtful narratives showing the great work that EHOs are doing.

The awards will be presented at either the USPHS Scientific and Training Symposium in Minneapolis, MN or the National Environmental Health Association’s Annual Educational Conference in Nashville, TN.

CAPT Donald Williams– John G. Todd Award

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The John G. Todd Award is the highest honor given by the EHOPAC. The award recognizes an exemplary senior-level environmental health professional for significant career contributions in achieving the PHS mission of improving the Nation's health through the practice of environmental health.

In his career, CAPT Williams service to the Commissioned Corps has been immense. He completed two terms on the EHOPAC and served as Chair of the Membership and Charter and Bylaws for his first term and as Vice Chair to CAPTs Craig Shepherd and Mike Herring. Once he rotated off the PAC he won a seat on the Environmental Health Accreditation Council where he is currently completing his fourth term. In 2009 he became the Council's liaison to the EHOPAC. CAPT Williams has served as a COSTEP preceptor to thirteen students, four of whom went on to receive commissions. CAPT Williams served as the Awards Coordinator for the Unitah & Ouray (U&A) Service Unit and in the Tucson Area Office. He also currently serves as the Chief Health Educator for APHT-5 deployment team.

In addition to his full Commissioned Corps work load, CAPT Williams has had a long, successful career in Injury Prevention at IHS. From his work with motor vehicle crash prevention to his time as the Tucson Area OEH Branch Chief, his passion for the Environmental Health profession and his dedication to service has shown throughout his career.

LCDR David Bales– EHO Responder of the Year Award

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The purpose of the EHO Responder of the Year Award is to recognize excellence by individuals in achieving the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) mission of improving the Nation’s health through the practice of environmental health during emergency preparedness, disaster response, and contributions to national or international public health threats.

LCDR David Bales is currently serving as the IHS Oklahoma City Area Injury Prevention Specialist. In October of 2018, LCDR Bales deployed to Puerto Rico in response to Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria and was assigned to Incident Response Coordination Team 3 (IRCT-3) for his healthcare safety background and expertise in environmental health issues. LCDR Bales completed multiple clinic assessments in Puerto Rico following the hurricanes. He was also asked to provide technical assistance during a facility assessment on the island of Culebra. His reports of the facility led directly to the island being a priority of Emergency Support Function 3 for electrical power and water restoration.

CDR Joseph Laco – Edward (Ted) Moran Award

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The Edward (Ted) Moran Award recognizes an outstanding mid-level environmental health professional who consistently achieves high standards in the practice of environmental health, occupational health and safety, industrial hygiene, or radiological health.

CDR Laco is currently assigned to The Water, Food and Environmental Health Services Branch (WFEHSB) of the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) at CDC. In this role, CDR Laco serves as a technical expert for the development of the EH national workforce. He led the development and implementation of a new EH professional credential with the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), The Certified Foodborne Outbreak Investigator (CFOI) credential. In addition, as the Subject Matter Expert for Vector Control, he developed a vector control online toolkit to assist EH professionals to understand the biology and control mechanisms of disease-spreading animals. CDR Laco also leads the complex development of Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) tools and the creation of support and guidance documents for state and local health departments and the aquatics sector.

LT Christine Lloyd – John C. Eason Award

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The John C. Eason Award was established to recognize the accomplishments of talented newcomers to the field of environmental health and moreover, to recognize the promise these individuals hold for the future of the Public Health Service.

LT Lloyd’s nomination highlighted her outstanding front-line subject matter expertise on two emerging regional environmental health problems: community exposures near unconventional natural gas drilling operations and drinking water evaluations of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). As a Regional Representative/Toxicologist with ATSDR Region 3, her work on these high-profile and complex problems have helped ATSDR meet its mission of protecting communities from harmful exposures to hazardous substances. Her commendable contributions have advanced environmental health in the region and exemplify the highest traditions of the EHO category.

CDR Sarah-Jean Snyder – Thomas E. Crow Mentor Award

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The Thomas E. Crow Mentor Award recognizes significant contributions by an individual who has enhanced professional growth and career development of environmental health professionals working in the U.S. Public Health Service by serving in a mentoring capacity.

CDR Sarah-Jean Snyder, District Environmental Health Officer (DEHO) of the Eastern Arizona District Office, has exemplified what it means to be a successful mentor. She has consistently demonstrated the highest level of environmental health leadership, passion, and integrity while investing in the growth and development of her staff and peers. She has helped her staff understand that excellence is not an innate characteristic of oneself but a result of preparation and dedication which undoubtedly are keys to a successful career. She has gained the respect and gratitude of those for whom and with whom she serves in her tribal communities, her colleagues, and her junior staff.

Greetings from your New EHOPAC Chair for 2018!

                         By CDR Chris van Twuyver, EHOPAC Chair

Greetings from the EHOPAC Chair,

I am pleased to announce the 2018 EHOPAC Leadership Team:

  • RADM Kelly Taylor, EHO Chief Professional Officer
  • CDR Chris van Twuyver, EHOPAC Chair
  • CDR Michael Quinn, EOPAC Chair Elect
  • CDR Jill Shugart, EOPAC Ex Officio
  • LCDR Jessica Otto, EHOPAC Secretary/Treasurer
  • LT Daniel Malashock, EHOPAC Executive Committee Liaison

We have a great team of EHOPAC Voting Members and Advisors this year and we look forward to serving you! We hope that you will participate in the four quarterly EHOPAC Conference Calls this year from 1300-1500 EST:

  • Spring Meeting: 13 March
  • Summer Meeting: 12 June
  • Fall Meeting: 11 September
  • Winter Meeting: 11 December

Please mark your calendars! We will be providing updates on EHOPAC activities, specific EHO materials and opportunities, and critical PHS information. We look forward to hearing from you! Details regarding the call-in and webinar information will be sent by CDR Otto prior to each meeting. For more information on the EHOPAC, please keep an eye on this website and sign up for the EHOPAC Listserv.  If you have questions or comments for the EHOPAC Executive Committee, please remember to submit them to the Anonymous Q&A Website.  All questions will be addressed during the quarterly EHOPAC meetings above and we are also working to incorporate the answers to your questions into our quarterly newsletters. We value your feedback!

During the upcoming year we will be seeking to increase the number of volunteer opportunities to help you to get involved with the EHOPAC. Please contact LT Daniel Malashock at Malashock.Daniel@epa.gov if you are interested in volunteering with the EHOPAC. We are particularly interested in volunteers that have SharePoint, web development skills, or experience reviewing documents for 508 compliance. If you lack these skills, but are interested in learning, we would love to have you participate as a volunteer. We are also seeking officers who live within commuting distance of the metro capital area.

During the upcoming year we will be focusing our attention on three key areas, 1) Career Development, 2) Mentoring and Orientation, and 3) Training and Events. The EHOPAC continues to work on several important issues including, promotions, communications, implementing a new information technology structure, and strengthening the structure and operations of the PAC.

The last Open Application Window for the Environmental Health Officer category was 1 FEB – 28 FEB 2018, and the Marketing and Recruitment and Policy and Standards Subcommittees are hard at work to ensure we receive the best applicants during this process.

I look forward to connecting with you at our upcoming EHOPAC meetings and the Symposium!

Congratulations to the 2018 EHOPAC Award Winners

Edward (Ted) Moran Award, CDR Bryan Christensen
John C. Eason Award, LT Steven Merritt
Thomas E. Crow Mentor Award, CAPT Kenny Hicks
John G. Todd Award, CAPT David Cramer
EHO Responder of the Year, LCDR Brian Czarnecki

More information regarding the awards can be found in the 2018 Spring/Summer Newsletter

2018 Environmental Health Officer Responder of the Year 

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I am pleased to announce LCDR Brian Czarnecki as the 2018 Environmental Health Officer (EHO) Responder of the Year Award recipient.  The purpose of the EHO Responder of the Year Award is to recognize excellence by individuals in achieving the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) mission of improving the Nation’s health through the practice of environmental health during emergency preparedness, disaster response, and contributions to national or international public health threats.

LCDR Brian Czarnecki is currently serving as an Industrial Hygienist in the Division of Occupational Health and Safety at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.  

In September 2017, LCDR Czarnecki served as the Chief Safety Officer on the Incident Response Coordination Team (IRCT3) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This deployment was in response to Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria in the Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands territories in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

LCDR Czarnecki contributed to the HHS Emergency Support Function #8 mission accomplishments of ensuring safety, welfare, and accountability of assigned personnel; executing missions identified by the Federal Health Coordinating Official, and maintaining positive control of teams/equipment assigned to the Incident Response Coordination Team.  For example, he managed risk and controlled plausible threats by conducting safety orientations to greater than 600 first responders upon arrival to Puerto Rico. He also conducted safety briefings to each of the teams prior to mobilizing in the field.  LCDR Czarnecki demonstrated an immense amount of safety and health knowledge, critical thinking and problem solving skills.

LCDR Czarnecki’s work exemplifies the highest traditions of the Environmental Health category and demonstrates the PHS mission to protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of our Nation.  Please join me in congratulating LCDR Brian Czarnecki on this outstanding achievement.

Respectfully,

CDR Jamie Mutter
EHOPAC Awards and Recognition Subcommittee Chair

The Affordable Care Act and Permanent Grade Eligibility - 3/8/2017

A message from EHOPAC Leadership on how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has had an effect on the Permanent Grade (P Grade) eligibility and promotion status of some officers.

Most of us have been conditioned not to think too much about our P Grade because our pay and advancement in the Corps is mostly related to our Temporary Grade (T Grade); however, several questions have come up lately regarding officers who lost varying years of eligibility toward their next P Grade promotion when the ACA was passed in March of 2010. Beginning in 2016, the CPOs and PAC Chairs have worked with DCCPR to get a better understanding of what happened so that the information could be shared with officers.  DCCPR provided a presentation at the February monthly PAC Chairs meeting and we have included key information here.

On 23 MAR 2010 (when the ACA was passed), IF you were an officer on active duty that day, and IF you were not already assimilated into the Regular Corps, you were simply deemed Regular Corps. To understand the differences between these processes, it is important to understand that officers assimilated into the Regular Corps prior to ACA were processed according to 42 USC 209 (b) which gave officers “constructive credit” (credit they had been earning since their last P Grade promotion). Based on the ACA (Law), Officers who were deemed Regular Corps on 23 MAR 2010 through the ACA had to be processed according to 42 USC 204 (b) which did not give these officers “constructive credit” (credit they had been earning since their last P Grade promotion). Our understanding is that this was based on interpretation of the ACA Law at the Department (HHS) level and not by OSG or DCCPR. Regardless, this resulted in some officers losing up to 10 years of constructive credit toward their next P Grade promotion. The ACA did not impact P Grades for officers that were already assimilated or those officers who came into PHS after 23 MAR 2010.

Due to recent questions on this issue, DCCPR has asked the PACs to share this information with officers within their Category. To learn more about your P Grade or if you have questions:

  1. Check your eOPF and PIR to understand your current P Grade rank if you were deemed Regular Corps in 2010 because of ACA. Since your P Grade rank will always be your TRUE rank in PHS, we recommend you closely monitor and track your P Grade rank.
  2. Review this Q&A Document provided by DCCPR: FAQ-Reserve Deemed Regular (pdf)
  3. Review this presentation: EHOPAC-ACA and P-Grade (pdf)
  4. If you have any questions about how ACA impacted you or any of the above material, please submit them to the EHOPAC anonymous Q&A website at: https://docs.google.com/forms/u/0/d/1zpMFEPm3EliKVVUgxXS9KRp4ab4jTQVHzeVOv9DMhqs/viewform?edit_requested=true.

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