Featured Speakers

Keynote Address: Tuesday, June 28

Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Secretary of Health, Washington State Board of Health

Biography

The Secretary of Health enforces all laws created for the protection of public health and all rules established by the State Board of Health.

Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, was appointed Secretary of Health by Governor Jay Inslee on December 21, 2020. Prior to this, Dr. Shah served as Executive Director and Local Health Authority for Harris County Public Health (HCPH) – the nationally accredited county public health agency for the nation’s third largest county with 4.7 million people.

Dr. Shah earned his BA (philosophy) from Vanderbilt University; his MD from the University of Toledo Health Science Center; and completed an Internal Medicine Residency, Primary Care/General Medicine Fellowship, and MPH (management), at the University of Texas Health Science Center. He also completed an international health policy internship at World Health Organization headquarters in Switzerland.

Upon completing training, Dr. Shah began a distinguished career as an emergency department physician at Houston’s Michael DeBakey VA Medical Center. He started his formal public health journey as Chief Medical Officer at Galveston County’s Health District before joining HCPH to oversee its clinical health system and infectious disease portfolio. Under his leadership, HCPH has won numerous national awards including recognition as Local Health Department of the Year from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) in 2016.

Dr. Shah currently holds numerous leadership positions with respected entities like the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Trust for America’s Health; Network for Public Health Law; and Texas Medical Association. He previously served as president of NACCHO (and its Texas affiliate) representing the nation’s nearly 3,000 local health departments.

Over his career, Dr. Shah has been a clinician, an innovator, an educator, and a leader in health.


Grand Session Kickoff Panel: Wednesday, June 29

Challenges Facing the Environmental Health Workforce Regarding COVID-19 Practices

This moderated panel will explore the difficult situations environmental health workers have faced implementing COVID-19 safety measures. EH professionals, in the line of service, have received threats, intimidation, forced resignations and other challenges from the public to policy makers. NEHA realizes this is a contentious issue, we believe the AEC is a safe place in which to host these difficult conversations.

Panelists

                                                   headshot of Tom Gonzales

Eric Bradley, MPH, REHS, CP-FS, DAAS                   Tom Gonzales, MPH, REHS 

Environmental Health Manager                                  Public Health Director 
                                                                                          Larimer County Department of Health and Environment 

 

                                                   

Roy Kroeger, REHS                                                      Niki Lemin, MS, RS/REHS, MEP

Environmental Health Director                                   Assistant Health Commissioner/Director of Environmental Health
Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department      Franklin County Public Health

 

Adam London, PhD, RS, DAAS 

Administrative Health Officer
Kent County Health Department


Closing Session: Friday, July 1

William (Bill) Marler, J.D., Managing Partner, Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm

Biography

An accomplished attorney and national expert in food safety, William (Bill) Marler has become the most prominent foodborne illness lawyer in America and a major force in food policy in the U.S. and around the world.  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, has represented thousands of individuals in claims against food companies whose contaminated products have caused life altering injury and even death.

Bill began litigating foodborne illness cases in 1993, when he represented Brianne Kiner, the most seriously injured survivor of the historic Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, in her landmark $15.6 million settlement with the company.  The 2011 book, Poisoned: The True Story of the Deadly E. coli Outbreak that Changed the Way Americans Eat, by best-selling author Jeff Benedict, chronicles the Jack in the Box outbreak and the rise of Bill Marler as a food safety attorney.

This moderated panel will explore the difficult situations environmental health workers have faced implementing COVID-19 safety measures. EH professionals, in the line of service, have received threats, intimidation, forced resignations and other challenges from the public to policy makers. NEHA realizes this is a contentious issue, we believe the AEC is a safe place in which to host these difficult conversations.