2017 & 2018 Alaska Environmental Health Awards Presented

At the 2018 Alaska Environmental Health Conference, the AEHA Awards Committee was proud to present awards from both 2017 and 2018. The following three awards were presented.

As an affiliate of NEHA, our organization may designate one member each year to receive a NEHA Certificate of Merit, thereby providing national recognition for outstanding contributions to the profession of environmental health. Recipients are announced during the NEHA Annual Education Conference awards program and in the Journal of Environmental Health. The recipient of the 2017 NEHA Certificate of Merit is Alyssa Gustafson of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation.

Alyssa is a Field Environmental Health Officer for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) in Bethel, the heart of the remote Yukon-Delta region of Alaska. She delivers environmental health services with dedication and proficiency to the 15 communities that she serves, she has developed expertise in a number of topics, and she routinely takes on additional responsibilities outside of typical job duties. Alyssa’s professional contributions to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation cut to the very core of the environmental health mission. The remote region of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta offers quintessential public health challenges, such as the delivery of clean drinking water, to geographically isolated communities, and Alyssa has addressed these challenges with reliability and proficiency.

The recipient of the 2018 NEHA Certificate of Merit is CDR Michael Box of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.

CDR Michael Box is consistently praised by superiors, customers, colleagues, and outside agencies for professionalism, expertise, and enthusiasm. He has steadily risen to be one of the most sought out technical experts in the Indian Health Service (IHS) on national issues such as industrial hygiene monitoring. CDR Box is often the first to volunteer for urgent requests and travels extensively to improve conditions for Alaska natives. In addition, he actively serves on the Alaska Safety Working Group to support development of the profession.

The Alaska Environmental Health Professional of the Year award recognizes an AEHA member who has performed professional duties in the field of environmental health above and beyond the usual employment requirements so as to elevate the professional status of environmental health in Alaska. It is the premier award offered by the AEHA. The recipient of the 2017 Alaska Environmental Health Professional of the Year is Leif Albertson of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service. Leif’s nomination read in part:

Leif is faculty with the UAF Cooperative Extension Service (CES) in Bethel, the heart of the remote Yukon-Delta region of Alaska. As the sole CES agent in a large and diverse region, Leif’s program provides research based-information on a wide variety of home, environmental and public health topics. While his primary outreach effort is directed at the approximately 30,000 people living in southwest Alaska, much of his work informs environmental health practitioners and residents all around Alaska. Leif is often called upon as a subject matter expert by environmental health practitioners and routinely provides technical assistance on environmental health topics. As a Cooperative Extension Agent, Leif is regularly asked to address myriad real-world questions by a diverse client base. Leif is an advocate and active ambassador for the field of environmental health. He has worked hard to create connections between the environmental health, public health, medical and housing communities. Through consultation with a wide network of expert environmental health colleagues throughout the state and country, he has been able to obtain, identify and translate the best available information to serve his clients. Through his professional demeanor and dedication to finding the best available facts, Leif’s work each and every day supports the goals and the membership body of the Alaska Environmental Health Association.

Congratulations to the award recipients! Remember to take note of your colleagues and the great work that they do. Nominations for the 2019 awards will open by September 2019.


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