WEHA Environmental Health Professional of the Year Award
The recipient of this award will personify our commitment to serve and protect the citizens of Wisconsin from the many health risks posed by the environment in which we live. The award highlights outstanding work and individual accomplishments in the field of environmental and public health.
Any person that has made an impact on environmental and public health and/or has demonstrated dedication to the profession can be nominated. The person does not have to be a member of WEHA. In addition, any person can submit a nomination. The nomination does not have to come from a member of WEHA.
2018 recipient of the WEHA
Environmental Health Professional of the Year
City of West Allis Health Department
WEHA President, Mitch Lohr,
Attends NEHA 2019 Annual Educational Conference
As President of the Wisconsin Environmental Health Association (WEHA), I recently had the opportunity to attend the 2019 NEHA Annual Educational Conference in Nashville, TN. I was privileged enough to attend the conference on a fully funded travel stipend provided by WEHA. The NEHA Annual Educational Conference is a venue where leaders in environmental health can convene to discuss emerging environmental health issues, strategies used to grow environmental health capacity and network with other environmental health professions in both public and private sectors. My week started with an affiliate training that discussed advocacy initiatives for environmental health regulation development. This included presentations by Texas, Ohio and Minnesota on the work that they’re doing to build governmental relations in their states. Next, I attended the affiliate meetings where NEHA presented on some of the resources available for affiliates at the state and local level. They also discussed the state of their association by providing details on some of the successes that they’ve had, which include building membership capacity and increasing the number of state affiliates over the last several years. The best part of the affiliate meeting was having the opportunity to meet with the other state affiliate leaders in NEHA Region IV. It will be advantageous for me to have communications with these colleagues as I progress through my presidential term. The next two days of my conference were filled with learning sessions on many different topics. I attended a fantastic session on food freedom vs. food safety. I learned about the work that is being done on non-sewered sanitation systems (toilets without water or electrical inputs). I also attended sessions on the usual environmental health topics such as mold, hoarding, and the unique food safety challenges created by a traveling rodeo in Wyoming. Additionally, on Thursday at the awards ceremony, I had the great opportunity to watch as a colleague, Natalie Vandeveld, received the NEHA Affiliate Certification of Merit for all the work time and work that she contributes to WEHA.
Being a first timer to the national conference, I was truly impressed by the spirt of learning and information sharing. Everyone that I connected with was ready to share their personal environmental health stories, which reassured for me that there are other professionals out there that have the same challenges and successes that I do, even at the national level. By attending this conference I am reminded how important it is to stay connected to other environmental health professionals as we can all learn from one another, making a stronger environmental health community.
In closing, I will say that the accommodations were fantastic, the facility (Gaylord Opryland) was amazing and the city was filled with culture and entertainment, making this conference one of the best I’ve ever been to. Lastly, and most importantly, I would be remise if I did not express gratitude to WEHA for the opportunity for me to have this valuable experience. Thank you very much to WEHA.
WEHA offers to their members stipends to attend the NEHA Annual Educational Conference or WEHA Educational Conference. The stipends are a way for WEHA to help develop leadership skills for the professionals within our association. The WEHA Leadership stipend is given to a selected WEHA member that have shown leadership qualities in environmental health or WEHA. The Environmental Health Professional stipend is awarded to WEHA members based on a lottery system.
WEHA Leadership Stipend
2019 - Carrie Pohjola
2018 - Nancy Eggleston
2017 - Trista Groth
2016 - Brian Hobbs
2015 - Shane Sanderson
2014 - Stephanie Sticka
2013 - John Hausbeck
2012 - Laura Temke
2011 - Katie McCullough
2010 - Mark Melotik
2009 - Natalie Vandeveld & Beth Cleary
Environmental Health Professional Stipend
A message from the 2019 recipient of the WEHA Leadership Award, Carrie Pohjola
I was honored to the be recipient of the 2019 WEHA Leadership Award to attend the NEHA AEC in Nashville, TN. If I had not received the award, I would have not been able to attend the conference. Being the WEHA President Elect and a Retail Food Specialist in Wisconsin, I felt that my attendance was instrumental for both my job at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection as well as being the WEHA President Elect.
The opportunities to connect and network with other EH professionals throughout the country offered some great perspectives and ideas to improve the Retail Food Program in Wisconsin. All the sessions, including the exhibition hall, were well done and I thoroughly enjoyed each one that I attended.
The conference location, The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, was unbelievable. Rooms were spacious, views of the gardens breathtaking (I was lucky enough to have an atrium view and small balcony with seating) and staff helpful and courteous. The city was alive with music and entertainment and social activities were a great way to unwind and socialize.
Session highlights included a discussion on NSF testing of refrigerator units, after the session I had an opportunity to ask the speaker a question on alterations of refrigerator units that we are seeing in Wisconsin and if they retain the standard once modified. Other interesting topics included staying active in FDA Retail Program Standards and the use of Cannabis products in food. I was also able to run a “Tools of the Trade” Session and discuss our standardization program in Wisconsin which was well received by attendees at my table.
Wisconsin was well represented at the conference and I was in good company with our WEHA members. I can’t thank the WEHA Board for giving me this opportunity, as a first time attendee, to travel and take part in such an amazing and memorable experience. I am looking forward to attending future conferences and representing Wisconsin and WEHA!
For each of the past 30 years, the Wisconsin Environmental Health Association has given a scholarship to a student in the field of environmental health. WEHA believes one method to improve the field of environmental and public health is to invest in the future professionals. To strengthen the field of environmental and public health and to further expand the association’s support for education activities, an additional scholarship was created in 1999. WEHA feels very strongly about the scholarship program and has established an endowment fund in order to perpetuate it.
Currently, two scholarships are given out once a year at the Annual Educational Conference.
The Wayne Kopp Memorial / WEHA Academic Scholarship - To promote professionals within Environmental Health, this scholarship is to offered to an individual enrolled in a degree-granting program.
The Robert R. Nelson Award / WEHA Environmental Health Scholarship - The recipient of this scholarship will be a full-time junior or senior student at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and will be known for their outstanding academic achievement, dedication and commitment as a student in the field of environmental and/or public health. Faculty from the UW Eau Claire will nominate and individual to receive this scholarship.