Let's Go Far Together.

Author:Radke, Vince
Position:PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE - Autobiography

I wish to go far with you to improve the health and safety of our communities.

Hello, my name is Vince Radke and I will be your National Environment Health Association (NEHA) president for the next year. Above all else, I want you to know that I will be a good steward of our association. I've been a member of NEHA since 1980 and I want NEHA to work for you as it has worked for me. It is my honor to work with the individuals of our noble environmental health profession where we have the chance to improve the health and safety of the people in our communities every day. And NEHA will be with you to help in these endeavors.

Most of you might not know me. As such, I thought it would be a good idea to devote most this first column to introduce myself and share a little about some of the issues I have in mind for future columns.

I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. I graduated from Michigan State University in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science degree. I served as a volunteer in the U.S. Peace Corps in Ethiopia for three and a half years as part of the Smallpox Eradication Program. As a surveillance and assessment officer, my duties included looking for cases of smallpox and vaccinating people against smallpox. My training for this position was conducted at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (known back then as the Center for Disease Control) in Atlanta, Georgia. Later in the 1970s with the World Health Organization, I worked in Bangladesh and Kenya as part of the Smallpox Eradication Program. The last known indigenous case of smallpox was in Merka town, Somalia, in October 1977.

Between my time in Ethiopia and Kenya, I earned my master's degree in public health from the University of Pittsburgh. While at the University of Pittsburgh I met my future wife, Marilyn. We were married in August 1977 and look forward to celebrating our 41st wedding anniversary this year.

From 1979-1983 I served as director of environmental health for the City of Stamford, Connecticut. The department had the typical environmental health programs: food safety, onsite wastewater, well water, vector control, and solid waste. We also had programs for air pollution, bathing beaches, and recreational shellfishing. During my time in Stamford, we were able to pass a noise ordinance and began to monitor stationary sources of noise. In 1980, I took and passed the registered sanitarian (RS) exam.

In August 1983 we moved to Morgantown, West Virginia, so...

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