2023

Looking Back at 2023: A Year in Review for Environmental Health

Jan 09, 2024 | Anu Varma

In 2023, NACCHO’s Environmental Health Team completed 18 contracts worth $499,324 in service of our local health department (LHD) members working in food safety, vector control, climate change, and water, marking another successful year of furthering the impact of local health across the U.S. Additionally, our team created 100+ tools and publications, with over 150 million people across the country tuning into NACCHO’s work in environmental health through national and local media outlets, and 122,000+ LHDs, partners, and other audiences engaging with our resources on our many websites, newsletters, virtual community forums, and social media platforms.

Click here to view our infographic detailing our impact in 2023.

With the management of four active member workgroups, 30 travel scholarships granted to LHDs, 17 individual, panel, and poster presentations at national public health conferences, and 16 webinars/sharing sessions/site visits to LHDs/technical assistance programs — it has been a year where our staff have been busier than ever going above and beyond to assist our members. A big thank you to our staff, workgroup members, advisory group members, and LHD volunteers who have been a part of this effort in 2023! We couldn’t have done it without your commitment to see our LHD peers everywhere succeed.


A big thank you to our staff, workgroup members, advisory group members, and LHD volunteers who have been a part of this effort in 2023! We couldn’t have done it without your commitment to see our LHD peers everywhere succeed.


Highlights of the Year: Some EH Success Stories at the Local Level

Monongalia County (WV) Gets Green Light to Implement Risk-Based Inspection System for Food Service Establishments

Richmond County Environmental Health Department receives national recognition - The Richmond Observer

Combating the heat: UTC students recognized for their work

To see more stories from the field in environmental health, go to naccho.org/blog/stories.

NACCHO Team Visits Fairfax County!

Fairfax site visit

One of the Fairfax County Health Department staff in the photo is conducting a check for any mosquitoes in standing water. If they are found, then they are treated with larvicides to prevent immature mosquitoes becoming from adults.

Many amongst the EH team toured Fairfax County’s vector control operations, including mosquito trapping and inspections processes, in the fall of 2023. Team members who attended the site visit enjoyed learning about the process of how they run their Disease Carrying Insects Program. The visit consisted of a tour of their office and lab and a ride-along!

Our Food Safety Mentorship Meeting

During the 2023 project year, NACCHO managed the NEHA-FDA Retail Flexible Funding Model Mentorship Program for 21 mentors and 46 mentees (67 total sites). NACCHO provided over 120 hours of technical assistance to the sites, culminating in an end-of-year meeting held in Washington, DC. Staff from Retail Food Regulatory programs from across the country attended the meeting to showcase their work and progress in achieving conformance with FDA’s Retail Program Standards.

We’re preparing to facilitate our next cohort of mentors and mentees alongside NEHA! See a photo taken during the meeting below.

Highlights of the Year: Our Partnerships

Climate for Health Ambassadors: NACCHO partnered with Climate for Health at ecoAmerica to give our members targeted climate-focused resources including a free, four-hour training that will equip health professionals with the knowledge, hands-on experience, and resources to speak and act confidently on climate change, the impacts on health, and solutions. In addition to the training, we worked together to curate action-oriented guides tailored to help local health departments address health equity and climate, mental health, and how to present climate solutions to your community, businesses, and policymakers. The launch started strong with more than 200 people signing up for the training within the first few weeks of the toolkit’s initiation. This was followed by live trainings at the Preparedness Summit and online in the fall of 2023.

EPA’s Small Communities Big Challenges: Rural Environmental Health Needs Competition: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and partners, including NACCHO, launched a Competition for local governments in the United States to demonstrate innovative and inclusive strategies for engaging with rural communities to understand these communities’ environmental public health issues of concern.

National Council for Environmental Health & Equity: NACCHO is a key member of American Public Health Association’s EH Council, established in 2023 following the merger of the former National Environmental Heath Partnership Council and Environmental Health & Equity Collaborative. The Council has representatives from national environmental and public health associations, the nonprofit sector, academia, community-based organizations and others affiliated with environmental or public health organizations.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: A report, based on a study commissioned by NACCHO at the request of the CDC, summarizes the findings from Phase 1 of the NASEM committee’s review on how wastewater surveillance has been a helpful tool to understand COVID-19 in communities and to inform local public health decision-making.

Highlights of the Year: Our Research

Impact of FDA Funding on Conformance With the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (NEHA’s Journal of Environmental Health, Volume 86, Number 4): Our research and evaluation team, with support from EH staff, analyzed 770 local health departments enrolled in the Retail Program Standards from 2002–2021 to 1) assess if the program’s current guidelines are feasible for LHDs, and 2) evaluate the effect of FDA cooperative agreement programs on conformance with the Retail Program Standards.

NACCHO’s Retail Program Standards Mentorship Program: A 10-Year Retrospective Review: From 2011–2021, our mentorship program provided peer-to-peer assistance and intensive technical support to help enforce the VNRFRPS efficiently and effectively. Experienced state, local, tribal, and territorial retail food regulatory programs advised participating agencies on how to get started and best apply the VNRFRPS to improve their food protection programs. We published a retrospective review to assess the effectiveness of the program in achieving these goals over the past decade.

Looking Ahead

Help NACCHO Celebrate 30 Years Advocating for Local Public Health.

We’re hitting the ground running in 2024 with our Vector Control Hurricane Crisis Workshop, funding opportunities in wastewater surveillance, and application requests for the Crumbine Award for Excellence in Food Protection! This year’s NACCHO360 conference also has a leading focus on Environmental Health, with registration for the conference now open on the website.



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About Anu Varma

Pronouns: She/Her

Anupama Varma is a Communications Specialist for Environmental Health at NACCHO.

More posts by Anu Varma

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