We are pleased to announce that Michele DiMaggio, NEHA Region 2 vice-president, was selected as the winner of the 2022 John J. Guzewich Environmental Public Health Award. DiMaggio was nominated by Vince Radke, who stated on the nomination application that “Michele DiMaggio is the embodiment of what Jack Guzewich worked toward and accomplished in his professional life to improve food safety and prevent foodborne illness.”
DiMaggio holds a bachelor’s degree in biological science from California State University East Bay and is a California Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS). She has worked at the national level on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Board of Scientific Counselors Food Safety Modernization Act Surveillance Work Group during the past 4 years. She has also participated in the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR) committee working on the third edition of the Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response.
DiMaggio’s experience is extensive, ranging from being a subject matter expert on the Training and Certification and Surveillance, Response, and Post-Response workgroups of the Partnership for Food Protection; participating on the Advisory Council for Training Compilation and Certification Program for Environmental Assessments of Foodborne Illness Outbreaks at the Colorado Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence; and being a technical advisor and instructor for food safety and shelter assessment at the California Department of Public Health. DiMaggio also previously taught the Epi-Ready Foodborne Illness Response course for NEHA.
Since August 2013, DiMaggio has been a supervising environmental health specialist within the Environmental Health Division at the Contra Costa County Health Services Department. She shares management responsibility for the retail food safety program and is also an associate supervisor for the division’s Foodborne Illness Outbreak Response and Emergency Response Team. She has coordinated and conducted numerous foodborne illness outbreaks investigations in conjunction with the Public Health Communicable Disease and Laboratory Divisions.
The award is named for John J. Guzewich (Jack) who was senior advisor for environmental health in the Office of Food Defense, Communication, and Emergency Response. The award aims to recognize the role of local, state, tribal, and territorial environmental public health departments in protecting their communities and the national food safety system from foodborne illness, as well as encourage innovative programs and best practices to prevent the occurrence of foodborne illnesses.
The award was presented at the 2022 Integrated Foodborne Outbreak Response and Management (InFORM) Conference in April.