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Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence

Representing the 14th District of Michigan


April 5, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14) reintroduced H.R. 1909, the Environmental Health Workforce Act of 2017, which would prioritize education and training for existing and new environmental health professionals:

“Every American deserves the right to safe drinking water, clean air to breathe, and a healthy community to raise their children.  The water crisis in Flint, Michigan and the continued efforts to address this tragedy highlight the critical role of our environmental health workforce and the great work that still lies ahead. H.R. 1909 addresses the need for improvement by providing professionals across the nation with the proper education and training to safeguard and promote healthcare quality and accessibility.”

Congresswoman Lawrence was joined by the bill’s original co-sponsors, Ranking Democrat of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. John Conyers (MI-13), and Reps. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Steven Cohen, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Robert Brady and Dwight Evans. H.R. 1909 was endorsed by the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO).  

“All Americans have the right to safe food, water, and communities,” said David T. Dyjack, Dr.PH, CIH, Executive Director & CEO, National Environmental Health Association. “Environmental health professionals are educated and trained to a consistent set of standards and guidelines assuring that right. Representative Lawrence’s leadership, through this landmark legislation, should give every community peace of mind in knowing that their family’s health and safety are assured by qualified, accountable, and efficient professionals. We praise the Congresswoman’s efforts to shine a light on this issue of strategic national importance, as Zika, Flint, and food safety dominate the news.”

“As we celebrate National Public Health week, I am proud to reintroduce this legislation and know that we are one step closer to securing the health and safety of Americans across the nation. This legislation, will provide a roadmap to rebuilding the local public health workforce, restore our faith in government, and renew our commitment to our children’s quality of life,” said Rep. Lawrence.


H.R. 1909 directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), in conjunction with relevant stakeholders, to develop model standards, guidelines, and technical assistance for credentialing environmental health workers as well as developing a comprehensive workforce plan that identifies and addresses ways to strengthen the environmental health workforce.  Finally, H.R. 1909 would direct the Comptroller General of the United States to examine and identify best practices in six states related to training and credentialing requirements for environmental health workers.