Dear ENPH Majors,
Two-thousand eleven has been a banner year for our program, with sustained growth in the number of majors and graduating students, stand-out accomplishments by students and faculty, and exciting new educational and research opportunities.
Spring brought our six-year national reaccreditation visit from the National Environmental Health Science & Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC), where visitors reviewed curriculum and student folders, attended ENPH courses (including a field trip to the new student center construction site), and interviewed students. The formal hearing for reaccreditation at the June NEHA meeting in Columbus, OH - where Dr. Pierce gave four research and hands-on presentations - resulted in full reaccreditation, with EHAC members stating that UWEC received the quickest review of all reaccredited programs, and an invitation for Drs. Pierce and Gabel, and Mr. Matt Stein to apply for EHAC board membership.
Spring also brought news that Dr. Pierce was selected as a Fulbright Scholar, to teach environmental health and conduct research at the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio. During the spring 2012 semester, he will provide guest lectures in a variety of undergraduate, Masters and PhD level courses. In collaboration with UW-Eau Claire Materials Science colleague Dr. Jill Ferguson, Dr. Pierce will administer questionnaires and collect children's hair samples in Finland. Samples will then be sent to UWEC, where ENPH students Caitlin Rosch, Nicole Frankfourth and Alayna Spengler will measure concentrations of arsenic, chromium, lead and mercury under Dr. Ferguson's supervision.
ENPH enrollment reached 55 majors in 2011, higher than in any year since at least 2003; 14 graduating seniors in 2011 similarly topped the previous eight years in graduating class size.
Mr. Matt Stein joined ENPH as an adjunct faculty member in spring 2011, teaching the spring industrial hygiene course and advising students about this exciting new component to the program. Mr. Stein brings a wealth of environmental health background, including employment as an OSHA inspector, safety director for the Ho Chunk Nation, as well as private safety and health consultation. He is currently completing his PhD in industrial hygiene at the University of Minnesota and teaching through the Minnesota Safety Council. Mr. Stein's contributions to the ENPH program will expand in spring 2012 with his teaching of solid and hazardous waste and industrial hygiene, and advising faculty-student research in particulate emissions from sand mines and processing plants.
Spring also brought students Nicole Frankfourth, James Fay, Greg Nelson, Andy Kleist, Dr. Pierce, guest lecturer David Nelson and alumnus Eli Gottfried out in the sunshine to plant a vegetable garden with Lakeshore Elementary School children.
Dr. Christine Gabel joined the Wisconsin Environmental Health Association (WEHA) Conference Planning Committee and continued to represent the ENPH program at spring and fall WEHA conferences. She has also participated in hybrid course design training and will implement this innovative online/in-class style of learning in the spring 2012 semester.
Student Sara Aragon led the successful grant application process and planting of native species test plots at the Veolia 7-Mile Creek Landfill. SNEHA continued its community service with highway cleanup and an informational session on JRCOSTEP internships with Public Health Service representative Tim Duffy.
ENPH Students James Fay, Greg Nelson and Andy Kleist conducted research with Dr. Pierce on particulate and silica emissions from sand mines and processing plants in summer 2011. Intense interest in this issue led to 12 invited presentations to town boards and public forums, quotes in numerous newspapers including the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, and interviews with WQOW TV, KARE TV in Minneapolis, and Wisconsin Public Radio.
The October 26 UW-Eau Claire "Let's Do Lunch" presentation on this topic drew the most attendees in the history of this public forum series. Analytical equipment supplier SKC generously donated $4,500 worth of sampling equipment for this project.
The ENPH/SNEHA group took first place in the non-musical marching group competition for the 2011 UW-Eau Claire Homecoming Parade!
Students Amy Zagar and Brittany Whited were chosen as UW-Eau Claire Sustainability interns and are working through the Student Office of Sustainability (SOS) to organize events including the Tour de Chancellor, CFL light bulb swap and the eight-week Food for Thought Film Series.
ENPH Students also gained national recognition, with Rachael Korinek and faculty Matt Stein writing the grant application, and Caitlin Rosch and Mr. Stein attending a fall Radon-Resistant New Construction workshop in Washington, D.C. James Fay was recognized as the Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs (AEHAP) Student of the Month for July 2011.
The ENPH Program participated in two pilot general education "bundles" during 2010-2011 and is continuing with this cross-campus collaboration, including ENPH 210 Introduction to Environmental Health in the "What is and should be our relationship with the planet?" bundle for 2011-2012. In addition to providing students with multiple views on important issues such as sustainability, land use, climate change and energy policy, the UW-Eau Claire bundle initiative supported a student retention rate of 99%, compared to a university average of 87%.
Fall semester brought a bed bug workshop taught by Dr. Pierce for the Eau Claire City-County Health Dept. and the first grant-writing workshop for ENPH students, provided by the UW-Eau Claire Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. ENPH Students also pitched in on a joint UWEC-Third Ward Neighborhood Association-City of Eau Claire Tree Planting Grant.
Spring 2012 will bring another distinction to the program, as ENPH students supervised by Dr. Gabel will again review portions of the NEHA Registered Environmental Health Specialist preparation exam. UW-Eau Claire is the only university in the country given this privilege. Students completing this review will be given full access to the NEHA REHS preparation course and NEHA membership; they will also have the opportunity to take the REHS exam online at the Chippewa Valley Technical College to earn certification.
2011 Has been a remarkable year for the Environmental Public Health Program. With the dedication of ENPH faculty, hard work by ENPH students, and continued support from our environmental health community, 2012 promises to be another important year of growth, new perspectives, and professional development for the program.
Welcome to Fall Semester 2010
Dear ENPH Majors:
I'm very pleased to welcome you back to UW-Eau Claire for the fall 2010 semester. With this note, I would like to share the many exciting developments and new student opportunities in our program.
In the spring we received funding for three new UW-Eau Claire initiatives: a BluGold Commitment grant and two liberal arts "bundle" proposals. The BluGold grant will allow us to develop two new courses: Risk Assessment, comprised of cross-discipline faculty from economics, chemistry, nursing and ENPH; and REHS Exam Preparation, open to current, returning and special students to prepare for the registered environmental health specialist certification examination. This student-derived funding will also support the creation of a trio of online courses (Epidemiology, Toxicology, and Introduction to Public Health, from existing classroom courses) as an ENPH/NURS Certificate program for working environmental health professionals through Continuing Education.
The two liberal arts bundles provide first-year UWEC students the opportunity to address large questions, such as "What Is or Should Be Our Relationship with the Planet?"and ""Why is the Climate Changing and What Should We Do About It?" Extra sections of ENPH 210 are paired up with courses in chemistry, English, geography, economics and ethics to support student learning to answer these big questions.
As a result of these successful grants, Dr. Gabel and I have welcomed back Professor Emeritus Bob Nelson to teach ENPH 441 Water and Wastewater. Dr. Nelson brings decades of valuable experience and knowledge to our program. I encourage you to ask Dr. Nelson about the success of our graduates and about internship and employment opportunities. I also greatly appreciate Dr. Gabel's stepping in to teach the toxicology course as we focus on the new initiatives.
The ENPH Program will be undergoing the reaccreditation process this year, with a comprehensive self-study completed in the fall semester, and a site visit by the accreditation team in the spring. I am looking for students to help with this process – let me know if you are interested.
I'd like to acknowledge Sara Aragon, the new SNEHA President (with James Fay as VP), who worked over the summer to help establish a tree-planting program in the Third Ward Neighborhood, and write and get funded a native species-planting grant through Veolia (photos). Expect an invitation from SNEHA for an upcoming fall SNEHA grill-out!
Brittany Whited is also involved in the Veolia landfill project and is also the student mentor for the Planet "bundle" group of courses. Ben Weiler has also been helpful testing out new ENPH equipment that you will see in classes this year.
I have also been quite busy over the summer with tree-planting in Owen Park (photo), securing funding for new recycling containers at the Carson Park baseball and football stadiums, working with citizen groups and the DNR to control risks of silica exposure from sand mining and processing, and participating on a Pew Charitable Trusts panel on regulating non-therapeutic antibiotic use in farm animals. My contribution was supported by research carried out by ENPH students Jay Nielsen, Michael Servi and Matt Haak and biology student Jacob Shafer, mentored by biology faculty Sasha Showsh and me.
We have also begun posting outstanding student-created video clips on hand washing and STD testing to the Community TV YouTube website. We were also very pleased to see a nursing-ENPH faculty-student project on secondhand smoke exposure published:
Faculty and students in the environmental public health (ENPH) and nursing programs recently published an article in the July 2010 Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs newsletter. This research project was entitled Measuring Outdoor Secondhand Smoke Exposure,by Kelly Ann Steffen, Katherine Ann German-Olson (Nursing), Crispin Pierce, Sara Aragon, and Patrick Bloecher (ENPH). Results from the project were used to support a successful Student Senate resolution to limit smoking areas on campus.
How can you get more involved, gain experience, and develop résumé builders in the ENPH Program? Here's a list to start:
1. Come to SNEHA meetings and volunteer to help with club activities such as the fall SNEHA grill out, attendance at the fall and spring WEHA and MEHA conferences, SNEHA Homecoming Day parade performance , SNEHA participation in 10/10/2010 activities, collaborative activities with the ECSNA nursing student organization, etc.;
2. Help to plan student participation in the reaccreditation process that ENPH will conduct in 2010-2011;
3. Test a new particulate monitor and help review literature on crystalline silica risks and regulations for the WI DNR;
4. Set up another REHS prep exam review – this might be possible in fall and/or spring semesters;
6. Volunteer to be on the College of Nursing and Health Sciences Dean Search Committee.
Your help, for a few hours or few days, could make a big difference in accomplishing these ENPH initiatives. Please let me know if you are interested.
Many of your will want to make a "Change of calendar year" to update to the new 2010-2011 ENPH requirements (listed in the "pyramid" program plan); to do so, just drop by the office of Jean Glebke (Nursing 247), Dr. Gabel or myself and fill out the short green form. I would also like to encourage you to visit, "Like," and post to our ENPH Facebook page.
I continue to believe that you are among the best students at UW-Eau Claire: you complete a rigorous set of courses to establish a strong foundation in natural sciences, you learn to apply these sciences to control risks to human health and the environment, you are asked to develop skills to effectively communicate with the public, and you assume a responsibility to protect peoples' lives. I know of no other major that demands such a spectrum of learning and application to "real life." The caliber of ENPH students is perhaps most easily expressed by those who have seen you in action (shared with Casey's permission):
"RE: Cassandra Strzelecki/Environmental Health Internship Completed At Chippewa Co. Dept. of Public Health
On behalf of myself, James Koehler (sanitarian), and the rest of the public health nursing staff, we were very impressed with Casey as an environmental health intern. We would rate her participation in this internship as an "A".
She was very reliable in completing projects assigned to her. She is very detail-oriented, which is an asset in any position she may find herself in. She was actively engaged in the learning process and often asked very appropriate questions. She is very self-directed and would often do further research on subjects she wanted to learn more about as she encountered them. Her computer skills were essential on the projects she completed. Casey was very friendly and was a pleasure to work with.
If you have further forms or other information you need relative to the end of Casey's internship, please let me know.
Thank you for your assistance in this internship collaboration."
Debbie Odden, RN
Chippewa County Department of Public Health
Food Safety Course
The ENPH 443, Microbial Safety of Foods course, was inadvertently left out of the catalogue for spring 2011. This is now a 4 credit course, including laboratory, and remains a requirement of the ENPH program. It will be offered in spring 2011 and will appear when you do your "course search" while registering. There will be a lab fee charged. Prerequisite is BIOL 306 (or 361, or 250).
Welcome to Fall Semester 2009
Dear ENPH Students,
With this note, I would like to welcome you to the fall semester at UW-Eau Claire. Many of you completed rewarding internships this summer, from Eau Claire to Atlanta. I understand that at least three job offers were made during this important preparation for entering the field. Others are now applying for advanced degree programs.
Dr. Gabel, who visited all interns and represented ENPH at the NEHA conference in Atlanta, is expanding her responsibilities as a tenure-track Assistant Professor. I was granted tenure and the rank of Associate Professor.
At the beginning of the fall 2008 academic year, our Public Health Professions Department set out three goals: 1) Recruitment to increase the number of ENPH majors by six; 2) To revise our curriculum and build a clear plan for student progression through courses; and 3) To build stronger connections with the environmental health community. We were able to accomplish all three goals.
We surpassed our goal with 44 ENPH majors in the spring, and will surpass 50 by the end of the academic year. Our curriculum changes (based in part on your input from last spring's survey) and ENPH course progression “pyramid” will be presented for the entire college to ratify on October 2. And we strengthened ties with the community through our spring ENPH Advisory Committee Meeting. These ties include new discussions about nanotechnology safety education, environmental health tracking exercises, and offering of professional preparation courses such as a NEHA RS exam prep course. Silas Thompson did a great job with an “Environmental Health Heroes” slideshow for our web page, highlighting the work of the Eau Claire City-County Health Department staff (most of whom are our graduates).
SNEHA (The Student National Environmental Health Association) will be providing more professional connection opportunities this year, offering brown bag sessions with local environmental health experts and employers. SNEHA will also provide information about upcoming WEHA and MEHA conferences, and of course will be defending our First Place standing in the 2009 UW-Eau Claire Homecoming Parade by again rockin' the house with a choreographed dance marching routine (all ENPH students are welcome). I strongly encourage you to attend SNEHA meetings and assume responsibility for projects and activities.
I believe this will be a great year for our ENPH Program, and look forward to seeing you in class, during advising, and at SNEHA meetings!
Dr. Pierce Honored
Dr. Pierce Honored Program Director Crispin Pierce was recognized as an expert in the modeling of human exposure to toxic substances by being invited to serve on the US EPA 2006 Science To Achieve Results (STAR) Program: Interpretation of Biomarkers Using PBPK Modeling grant review team. On January 12, this group of eight individuals nationwide traveled to Washington, D.C. to review and prioritize applications from prominent researchers to develop models of how the body absorbs, distributes, and eliminates toxic chemicals such as metals and pesticides. This participation also led to information about new job openings for ENPH graduate students.
SNEHA Marches in the 2006 Homecoming Parade
ENPH Students and faculty walked, drove, skated, and biked in this year's UW-Eau Claire Homecoming Parade on Saturday, Oct. 7. While giving out treats and chasing a big radio-controlled rat, Molly, Kendall, Mike, Megan, Samantha, Leann and Rick joined faculty members Bob Nelson and Crispin Pierce (and daughter Avala) to promote SNEHA and the ENPH major to hundreds of cheering students and families along First Ave. Support was provided by Marquart Toyota and Waste Management.
ENPH Scholarship Winners
Congratulations to graduate student Messie Squire, winner of the Wisconsin Environmental Health Association 2006 Academic Award!
This award is based not only upon academic achievment, but also upon future plans and goals for the Environmental Health field. Messie graduated from Solusi University in Zimbabwe with an excellent GPA before entering the graduate program here at UW - Eau Claire, where she has continued her academic excellence.
Congratulations to Megan Arndt and Laura Suppes, co-winners of this year's C.K. Luchterhand Scholarship!
This award is given by ENPH faculty to recognize academic achievement and leadership in ENPH students:
Megan Michelle Arndt
Megan Arndt is a warm and hard-working junior who provides leadership and outreach to other students in our program. Carrying a strong GPA, Megan has provided leadership as she conducted student-faculty research studying how different body characteristics, such as body weight and adiposity, may affect how the human body handles chemicals such as xylene.
Laura Michele Suppes
Laura Suppes is a hard-working student-athlete who provides a role model for other students in our program. As co-captain of the UW-Eau Claire women's hockey team as well as the recipient of the 2005-06 Amber Star Krenz scholarship and carrying a strong GPA, Laura evinces the qualities of hard work and accomplishment in athletics as well as academics.