What's new in Washington, DC?

Author:Zurcher, Joanne
Position:NEHA NEWS

Environmental Health Workforce Act of 2017

NEHA is thrilled to announce that in response to the efforts of our Washington, DC, staff educating members of Congress about the importance of the environmental health workforce, our new champion in the House of Representatives, Representative Brenda L. Lawrence (D-Michigan) has reintroduced the Environmental Health Workforce Act. The bill was reintroduced on April 5, 2017. This bill ensures that there is a consistent set of guidelines and standards for the training and education of environmental health professionals across the nation.

Only 28 states currently require a credential for environmental health workers.

The Environmental Health Workforce Act of 2017 will

  1. direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, in conjunction with relevant stakeholders, to develop model standards, guidelines, and technical assistance for credentialing environmental health workers;

  2. direct HHS to develop a comprehensive environmental health workforce plan that identifies and addresses ways to strengthen the environmental health workforce; and

  3. direct the comptroller general of the U.S. to examine and identify best practices in six states related to training and credentialing requirements for environmental health workers. This report will compare the best practices of three states that currently have credentialing requirements (Maryland, Ohio, and Washington) and three states that do not have such requirements (Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania).

As our members know, credentialing serves as verification that a professional has achieved a baseline level of competency and is an impartial, third-party endorsement of an individual's professional knowledge and practical experience to...

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