Georgia Celebrates the Inaugural Environmental Health Week 2015

June 8, 2015

This week, environmental health leaders throughout Georgia will be celebrated thanks to Gov. Deal recently proclaiming June 8 – 12, 2015 as Environmental Health Week in Georgia.

In the proclamation issued on May 27, Gov. Deal stated, “The important work of Environmental Health professionals protect the health of all Georgia’s citizens and natural resources and is important to the state’s continued well-being and economic growth.”

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is excited to observe this week of recognition to honor public health leaders that ensure Georgians enjoy a healthy and safe environment wherever they live, work, play and enjoy life.

When you look around your home and local community, you will likely see the impact of the state’s environmental health leaders.

From the water you drink and pools where you swim to hotels and your favorite restaurants – environmental professionals are hard at work assessing and managing environmental conditions that may impact the health of Georgians.

“It’s an honor to celebrate the first Environmental Health Week in Georgia,” said Chris Rustin, MPH, director, DPH Environmental Health Section. “Understanding the relationship between our health and outside surroundings is at the core of what we do as envrionmental health professionals. Whether making sure chemicals stay out of our homes or establishing quality assurance benchmarks to guarantee the safety of our food, environmental health practices are vital to ensuring we make positive improvements to the state’s population health.”

By utilizing a combination of public health interventions and environmental assessments, DPH’s Environmental Health Section works statewide to both support national health goals and minimize potential community health risks.

For example, the DPH’s Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention program supports the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2020 objective to eliminate childhood lead poisoning.

The Environmental Health Section has successfully made steps towards achieving this goal in Georgia by training district-level environmental health leaders on lead poisoning prevention, partnering with housing agencies to enforce hazard reduction protocols and expanding surveillance systems.

Through a wide range of programs coordinated on both the state and district level, DPH's environmental health leaders take part in reducing the burden of common illnesses, diseases and negative health outcomes.

Recently, DPH’s Environmental Health Section's Public Swimming Pools program partnered with First Lady Deal to launch SPLASH, a new safety awareness campaign that works to protect children from drowning and water-related injuries at pools or open bodies of water. 

The Animal Bites and Rabies Control program protects families and their pets from infections that put their health at risk.

Even tattoo lovers benefit from the hard work of environmental health leaders. The Tattoo Studios Program makes sure tattoo professionals remain in compliance with industry standards and implement practices that prevent the transmission of diseases.

“We are proud to see our environmental health programs working concurrently with other public health programs in the state,” said Rustin. “Protecting the health of Georgians is a comprehensive effort – it requires proactive preventative measures taken by residents, health providers, local organizations and environmental professionals to cultivate communities where citizens can thrive and live well.”

Environmental health is a cornerstone of public health and DPH is proud to acknowledge the many environmental health specialists that help the agency provide a safe and healthy environment for everyone in our state. 

Visit to learn more about the various programs within DPH’s Environmental Health Section. 

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