NEHA March 2024 Journal of Environmental Health

no overarching definition for environmental health law. My reports addressed these gaps, presenting key federal agencies that imple- mented environmental health laws and poli- cies in a consolidated manner. After the research phase, I sifted through my notes to identify key points for my reports. The federal- and state-level environmental health laws provided context for my focus on Shelby County. I crafted a glossary of defini- tions for clarity, followed by an introduction section, and then delineated each SCHD pro- gram, highlighting the state and local regula- tions guiding their operations. Maintaining conciseness was a challenge as I had to balance the inclusion of essential information against simply regurgitating the entire Shelby County Code of Ordinances. I focused on defining frequently appearing phrases in these sections. For instance, the term “priority items” in the Tennessee Food Safety Act referred to issues identified in an inspection that should be addressed within 10 days. Such key terms were spotlighted in my reports to enhance the legal literacy of readers, whether preparing for an upcoming inspec- tion or keen on understanding how environ- mental health law shaped their daily lives. The visual report creation process mir- rored the written one, albeit with an empha- sis on the visual presentation of information. Here, I represented di†erent topics on indi- vidual pages, ensuring consistency in format- ting descriptions of each SCHD program. This design allowed readers to easily grasp the areas of work, the location of regulations,

and their significance in public health pro- tection. The visual report also contained a page dedicated to discussing environmental justice as a standalone topic. Despite its brev- ity, I believed the visual report would be more e†ective as public educational material due to its accessibility and engaging format. My virtual internship concluded with the successful delivery of the final products to SCHD for public education purposes and as resources for future interns or new employ- ees. Dr. Askew’s constructive feedback was instrumental in refining the final report, which I subsequently shared with SCHD. By demystifying environmental health law and emphasizing environmental justice, I sought to spark conversations about equitable pub- lic health while empowering readers with resources to augment their legal literacy and awareness of the impact of environmental health on our daily lives. About the Author: Via Fitzgerald is a fifth-year student at Baylor University, pursuing both a bachelor of science and a master of public health in environmental health science, with minors in Spanish and biology. She was a NEPHIP intern during summer 2022 and com- pleted her internship with the Shelby County Health Department in Tennessee. Fitzgerald plans to use her education to work in global environmental justice after graduation. Corresponding Author: Via Fitzgerald, Baylor University, Waco, TX. Email:

Cover of the Environmental Health Law and Policy Report Created for the Shelby County Health Department FIGURE 1

walked me through vector control procedures, shared the standard operating procedures for rodent control, and facilitated meetings with relevant SCHD personnel. Simultaneously, I collected the federal acts and administrations constituting environ- mental health legislation. Despite many orga- nizations collating environmental protection laws and policies at the federal level, there was no equivalent repository for environmen- tal health-specific legislation. There was also

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March 2024 • Journal of Environmental Health

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