San Bernardino EH Tragedy

Public and Environmental Health Family:

Like many of you, it’s been difficult to process the tragedy that occurred in San Bernardino this past Wednesday. There is a kinship among the public and environmental health community and all of us are experiencing the impact of the loss of our fellow colleagues in some way.

I believe that our profession has chosen us, rather than the other way around, because the desire to make this world a better and safer place is what ignites our passion to tirelessly serve our communities as environmental health specialists and public health workers. This is exemplified by the mission statement of San Bernardino Environmental Health–to improve “the quality of life by protecting public health, promoting safety and preventing environmental hazards so those who reside, visit and invest can prosper and achieve well-being.”

This incident really hit home.

We give selflessly and during times of crisis it’s our nature to want to help. I’ve thought a lot about what type of help defines our response to this shooting and I’m convinced that the first thing to do is look after our own well-being and that of our colleagues. I encourage you to have an open dialogue about this tragedy with your co-workers, supervisor, family, friends, clergy, or others that can provide understanding and support. In a message to members, Dr. David Dyjack, Executive Director and CEO of NEHA, expressed that “public and environmental health workers don’t have to be directly involved in an incident in order to have emotional reactions to a recent event. Just the connection of being in the same field can elicit these responses.”

Public health leaders and managers, please ensure that you provide the necessary resources to your staff, whether it’s as simple as an “open door” or access to an Employee Assistance Program. There are some excellent resources below that may also be helpful.

Again, please don’t underestimate the emotional impact of such an event and take care of yourselves, your family, and your fellow public health and environmental health colleagues.

Continue to keep the families, friends, and our public health brothers and sisters in San Bernardino in your thoughts and prayers.

Resources

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/coping-disaster

http://www.neha.org/sites/default/files/membership-communities/SAMHSA-Tips-for-Survivors-Disaster-Traumatic-Events.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/masstrauma/factsheets/public/coping.pdf

CCDEH Request for Moment of Silence for San Bernardino, CA Victims

 The California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health (CCDEH) is requesting that Environmental Health professionals throughout the State of California observe a solemn minute of silence on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at 11:00 AM (PST) in honor of the victims of the San Bernardino, CA mass shooting tragedy. Others throughout the United States and the international community are also welcome to join in this demonstration of love, respect, sympathy, and solidarity. I hope you will be able to join CCDEH and the Environmental Health community in this show of support. Please mark your calendars and share with others who may be interested.   Thank you.

–LMichael