The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) originated in California, and was incorporated in 1937. The original impetus behind the creation of a national professional society for environmental health practitioners was “the desire by professionals of that day to establish a standard of excellence for this developing profession.” This standard, or the Registered Environmental Health Specialist or Registered Sanitarian credential, signifies an environmental health professional who has mastered a body of knowledge (verified through the passing of an examination), and has “acquired sufficient experience, to satisfactorily perform work responsibilities in the environmental health field.” The association founders believed that certification was necessary if the environmental health field was to grow as a legitimate and respected profession. The association is governed by a fourteen member board of directors that is chaired by the association's president. NEHA also employs 26 paid staff members.
Following the initial purpose of the NEHA, this association presently operates as a strong professional society where members can network and learn from one another. NEHA's mission continues to be “to advance the environmental health and protection professional for the purpose of providing a healthful environment for all.”
The association's activities derives its basis from the belief that a professional who is educated will be able to make the greatest contribution to healthful environmental goals. As is such, great emphasis is placed on NEHA's programs to provide both an educational and a motivational opportunity to members. NEHA's strategic directions are training and education, credentialing, advocacy, and increasing organizational capacity.
NEHA offers a variety of programs. Expanding beyond its original credential, today the association has seven national credential programs and maintains active partnerships with organizations nationwide for professional networking, and educational purposes.
NEHA publishes a peer-reviewed, the Journal of Environmental Health, which publishes articles covering all areas of the environmental health field, posts job openings, provides networking and committee participation opportunities, provides supplemental arguments to support positions on timely and serious environmental health concerns, and maintains an active online presence in serving as a constant resource for members.
NEHA has over 4,500 members in the United States who practice their profession in the public and private sectors, academia and the uniformed services, with a majority being state and local county health department employees. NEHA's Journal of Environmental Health has subscribers in over 40 countries. This single organization encompasses the entire environmental health profession and serves as “the forum for discussion of, and can address the broad spectrum of, environmental health issues.” It is their fundamental belief that increased communication between professionals in the same field will increase the efficiency and efficacy of the work if it's members.
To further this goal NEHA hold an Annual Educational Conference (AEC) was designed to train, educate, and advance persons with an interest or career in environmental health and protection, and bring people together to build a professional network of environmental health colleagues, to exchange information, and discover new and practical solutions to environmental health issues. Imparting knowledge, presenting data, and providing inspiration to members are among the top priorities of the AEC and NEHA as a whole.
See also Climate change ; Water pollution .
National Environmental Health Association. “About.” Denver: CO: 2012. http://www.neha.org/about/neha.html (accessed October 28, 2012).
NEHA AEC. “2012 NEHA AEC.” Denver, CO: 2011. http://www.neha2012aec.org (accessed October 28, 2012).
The Healthy House Institute. “The Healthy House Institute (HHI) Supports 2013 NEHA Conference.” Boise, ID: October 28th 2012. http://www.healthyhouseinstitute.com/information/media_center_news_room.php (accessed October 28, 2012).
Alyson C. Heimer, MA