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Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence

Representing the 14th District of Michigan

U.S. Rep. Lawrence Introduces Bill to Strengthen and Invest in Environmental Health Workforce

April 20, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC - Today, U.S. Representative Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14) introduced the Environmental Health Workforce Act, legislation which would prioritize education and training for existing and new environmental health professionals. The bill is endorsed by the National Environmental Health Association, Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs, and National Environmental Health Science & Protection Accreditation Council. 

“Education and training for new and existing environment health professionals is vital to our national public health. Public health crises, like the Flint Water Crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, underscore the critical role that the environmental health workforce plays in keeping our communities safe and healthy,” said Rep. Lawrence. “Environmental health workers are more important now than ever before. I’m proud to introduce legislation that invests in and strengthens our environmental health workforce while providing them with the necessary tools and training so they can better serve our country.”

The Environmental Health Workforce Act would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to:

  • Develop model standards and guidelines for credentialing environmental health workers;
  • Require the Secretary to develop a comprehensive and coordinated plan to develop the environmental health workforce;
  • Issue a report on best practices; and
  • Make credentialed environmental health workers eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

According to the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), more than 50,600 state and local environmental health workforce jobs have been lost since 2008, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 50 percent of the environmental health workforce will be eligible to retire within the next five years.