By Scott J. Becker, executive director, APHL
Earlier this week, on behalf of APHL, I had the honor of signing an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formalizing what will be an invaluable partnership. Leading our nation in environmental science, research and innovation, the EPA’s commitment to health is as strong as ours. Coupled with APHL’s work to promote environmental and public health laboratory science, together we can better understand public health risks and respond to them efficiently and effectively. We have worked closely with EPA in the past through the Water Laboratory Alliance, National Biomonitoring Network Steering Committee and many other efforts, and look forward to this formal relationship and increased opportunity for collaboration.
Signing this new memorandum of understanding (MOU) was not only an exciting statement of cooperation, but also a great opportunity to discuss goals with my friend, Dr. Tom Burke, deputy assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD). Dr. Burke wrote a great blog post about our new partnership. And you can see a brief video of us discussing the importance of this collaboration. I am so appreciative of his commitment to protect the public’s health and to our partnership.
Special thanks to some key people who began the dialogue with EPA years ago, and others who pushed this forward in recent times: Dr. Jim Pearson, former director of Virginia’s Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services and past APHL president; Ramona Travato, formerly in many roles at EPA; Kacee Deener, senior science advisor, EPA ORD; Dr. Megan Latshaw, formerly APHL’s director of environmental health and currently co-director of the Master of Health Science in Environmental Health Program at Johns Hopkins University; Julianne Nassif, APHL’s director environmental health program; and Sarah Wright, APHL’s senior specialist for environmental laboratories.
This was a team effort from the beginning and will continue as such into the future. Now it’s time to get to work!