2022 James M. Wordsworth Scholarship: Debora Brown
Annual Awards Dinner
Debora Brown currently attends George Mason University and is on her last semester to attaining a Masters of Science degree with a major in Microbiology and Infectious diseases, achieving a 3.96 GPA and is expected to graduate this fall. Debora has worked with the Fairfax County Health Dept. for almost 14 years, currently as an Environmental Health Specialist II.
Within the last two years, she has had the opportunity to participate on various COVID response teams, wearing various hats, such as the Facilities Unit Manager and Environmental Health Specialist for the Outbreak team. With her role on the outbreak team, she worked as a part of a response group, comprised of mask fitters, Public Health Nurses and an EHS, who assisted in the assessment of high-risk facilities with positive COVID cases. She assessed establishments such as Nursing Homes, group homes and homeless shelters, for proper protocols and procedures for food service, housekeeping, maintenance, individual and communal living, or recreational areas. In addition, she assisted in the formulation of COVID cleaning procedure documents for "problematic” high risk facilities, as well as helped develop better practices with the management and environmental teams at the establishments, for corrective actions and compliance. In addition, she has also gained experience working at the Fairfax County vaccination clinics that operated tirelessly to ensure the smooth vaccination of the public, for improved COVID outcomes. Another aspect of response was her role in the Large-Scale testing for the Afghanistan refugee and Repatriation events at the Dulles Airport.
As she continues her career as an EHS, she is able to carry the gained knowledge over the past few years and connect them to what she is learning in her graduate journey. As for future goals, Debora continues to obtain additional insight, shadowing the public health laboratory, and will work towards assisting in the usage of quicker testing methodology for the detection of food borne illness bacteria, as described during her presentation on an "Environmental Health Specialists' 3-Pronged Approach For The Improved Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention of Campylobacter Foodborne Illness", presented to NCAEHA members this past Spring.