I believe that in a world where human suffering is inherent and indiscriminate each of us has a choice: we can work to alleviate human suffering, we can ignore it, or we can contribute to it. I have dedicated a lifetime to work on environmental public health challenges at the interface of central and federal governments and underserved populations. Most recently as an environmental health scientist with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry I worked with communities to create a better understanding of the relationship between chemical contaminants in the environment and the potential for human health impacts. In a separate assignment with CDC I was deployed in 2015 to Sierra Leone as a team member for the clinical trial of a vaccine against Ebola.
As an Environmental Scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) I worked with Alaska Native villages to identify and implement community solutions to environmental public challenges in the areas of drinking water, sanitation, and solid and hazardous waste management. During my time with EPA I took special assignments to the Alaska Native Health Board as the program manager for water and sanitation and as an environmental health advisor to the Commonwealth of the Northern Marina Islands (CNMI), Saipan. In 1988 I took leave-without-pay from EPA to work as a sanitarian with the International Rescue Committee, Malawi Medical Program for Mozambican Refugees, Malawi. In a very different role I’ve worked in EPA headquarters, Washington D.C. developing drinking water regulatory compliance and solid waste management projects with states and tribes.
In my early career I took an assignment as a Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Officer – Peace Corps Volunteer in the Solomon Islands, where I worked together with a Solomon Island counterpart and staff to implement a rural water and sanitation program for remote villages. And, it all started as an Environmental Health Specialist/Sanitarian with a county health department performing inspections and investigations in the drinking water and food protection programs.
I have a Masters of Science in Public Health (MSPH) from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Resource Management from the Pennsylvania State University. I taught Introduction to Environmental Health, as an Adjunct Instructor, University of Alaska Anchorage and I’ve taught in a number of additional educational settings with students of diverse backgrounds. I am a published essayist on the topics of public service, cross cultural communication and leadership. In addition, I wrote a chapter for the Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance, Springer International Publishers, on Healthcare and Cultural Disparities. I am a Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS)/Registered Sanitarian with National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) and a Healthy Homes Specialist with the National Center for Healthy Housing and NEHA.
Inupiaq elder Marian Warden said, “You have to have your heart glad when you are serving the people.” This is her blessing for all of us. Come join us in serving the people.