Not only was this year my inaugural AEHA conference, it’s also my first year in Alaska. Being new to the state, I really appreciated being able to learn about some of the more unique issues that Alaskan environmental health professionals work with, including in-home water usage in unserved communities and the impact of road dust on air quality, as well as some of the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. While all of the content was quite interesting, it was also relevant, covering many of the emerging questions I’m hearing in the communities I work with such as PFAS contamination and the risk of tick-borne disease.
It was also a pleasure to meet other environmental health professionals who live and work in Alaska, particularly when we are spread across such a large area. I’m certainly happy to take advantage of the rare occurrence when everyone is gathered together. Being able to discuss and compare our experiences may be the greatest benefit of the conference. Plus it was fantastic to have a few external guests with whom we could all interact – I don’t know of many other state conferences where attendees have the opportunity to have lunch with the NEHA president.
Overall my first AEHA conference was a great experience; I already can’t wait until next year!
– Submitted by Kelly Genskow, Tanana Chiefs Conference