The Assistant Secretary reports to the Chief of Staff and serves as a member of the Agency Leadership Team. The Assistant Secretary works directly with the Secretary and members of the agency executive team on high-level policy and strategic issues. They are responsible for the vision and leadership of the Environmental Public Health Division which includes four offices, over 200 staff members, a diverse set of partners and a wide range of programs and projects to improve the health of individuals, families and communities in Washington.
The division oversees a broad portfolio of services and works extensively with federal, state, local, and tribal partners to protect and improve the health of Washingtonians. The biennial operating budget for the division (Download PDF reader) is $77.6 million and the capital budget is 200 million that supports drinking water system infrastructure improvement projects across the state. Here are a few examples of the innovative work the division is currently engaged in:
-- Lead in our environment -- On May 2, 2016, Governor Inslee issued Directive 16-06 (the directive) in response to the growing concerns about lead being found in drinking water in schools and homes across the state. The Division is providing leadership to meet the directive and reduce exposure to lead and other environmental hazards where children live, learn, and play.
-- Foundation funding for environmental issues -- Environmental public health services touch the lives of everyone in Washington. After a century of effectively preventing death and illness and increasing the quality of life of our residents, today we face the dual challenges of a severe funding crisis, expanding pressures from traditional environmental health issues and emerging issues in the field that include:
- Changes to our shorelines, sea levels rising, patterns of infectious disease, air quality, and the severity of natural disasters such as floods, droughts, and storms.
- Preparedness for the environmental impact of natural disasters as well as disasters of human origin includes planning for our community's health needs and the impact on public infrastructure, such as drinking water and waste water.
- Exposure to unknown contaminants and hazards as hundreds of new chemicals are introduced. Many of these contaminants present new, unexpected challenges to our community's health.
The Division has four offices: Office of Drinking Water, Office of Radiation Protection, Office of Environmental Health and Safety and the Office of Environmental Public Health Sciences. All of these offices have innovative work underway and passionate leaders and staff supporting this work.
Vision: Healthy Places – Healthy People Washington State is a place where people live, work, and play in healthy communities with clean water and air, healthy food and a safe environment. Mission: The division of Environmental Public Health works to improve the health of the people in Washington State by preventing and reducing exposures to health hazards in the environment and supporting healthy places where people live and play.
The division's core work includes: Protecting the health of the people of Washington State by ensuring safe and reliable drinking water.
Working with local, state, federal and tribal agencies and stakeholders to identify, evaluate, and prevent exposure and adverse human health impacts associated with environmental hazards.
Protecting the health of the people in Washington State by working to ensure that exposure to radiation is as low as reasonably achievable.
Improving the health of people in Washington State by reducing and preventing, where possible, human exposures to a variety of environmental hazards and disease pathogens associated with the treatment and disposal of wastewater, the food we eat, the schools our children attend, and the places we recreate and overnight.
Building Strong Strategic Partnerships - Environmental public health protection is a shared responsibility between the states, tribes, and local government.
Service delivery models will adapt to reduce duplication and build centers of excellence throughout the system.
Promoting increased efficiency of core business activities.
Implementing methods that ensure responsiveness to customer needs, including timely response to customers and constituents.
Seeking to increase the Environmental Public Health Division's workforce diversity.
What we're looking for Success in this position requires that one be a team player, defined as having a driving passion for the work, bringing humility to their job and people interactions and having excellent people skills. We are looking for someone that is able to prioritize and manage many competing demands, delegate to their team while supporting and growing that team, enjoys working in an innovative, nimble environment and believes that collaboration and partnership are key strategies to successful outcomes. Equally important is being able to successfully problem-solve complex issues and effectively work with other agency leaders on cross- cutting interventions and solutions. We are looking for someone that loves a challenge, takes calculated risks within our authorizing environment, is prepared to recover quickly from a mistake and move forward and thrives on fast-paced work. The successful candidate will have a demonstrated commitment to diversity, leadership and positively improving health outcomes for all people.