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Photo Release: MDARD Showcases Strong Partnerships with Local Public Health Departments at Michigan Premier Public Health Conference

BELLAIRE, MI Today, leadership representing the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) joined local health officials from across the state to discuss the cross-collaboration within MDARD and local health agencies. Division Directors from MDARD's Pesticide and Plant Pest Management (PPPM), Laboratory divisions, and the State Veterinarian presented at the 2023 Michigan Premier Public Health Conference on October 4th in Bellaire.

Brad Deacon, Office of Legal Affairs & Emergency Management; Nora Wineland, State Veterinarian; Mike Phillip, Director of Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division; and Craig VanBuren, Director of Laboratory Division, participated in a keynote address and discussion around how their work impacts public health as well as how they can support and engage with local health departments across the state.

"When an emergency occurs, MDARD staff are ready to respond swiftly. We routinely practice realistic simulations with key partners, like our local public health organizations. Through practice and relationship building, MDARD is in a strong position to respond to potential situations that could severely impact Michiganders,"  said Deacon. "Governor Whitmer's bipartisan budget supports our emergency management preparedness efforts and includes additional funding to support readiness and collaboration with local health, first responders, the livestock industry, and the broader food and agriculture sector."

"Michigan's local public health professionals work closely with MDARD employees around the state every day,"  said Michigan Association of Local Public Health Executive Director Norm Hess. "The partnership is important to our shared goal of serving communities. We're honored to have the department s leadership join us for our annual conference, and we look forward to thoughtful conversations that advance our work together."

AID protects the public's health and the health of domestic animals, livestock, and pets. MDARD's State Veterinarian is responsible for overall livestock, small animal, and poultry disease programs and toxic substance contamination concerns related to animal health. The division also works on eradicating animal diseases, which helps provide for the importation and exportation of healthy livestock. These provisions have a significant impact on human health and welfare through the protection of the food supply. Some diseases that threaten Michigan livestock and domestic animals are tuberculosis, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, Pseudorabies, rabies, and various toxicities. 

PPPM is responsible for protecting human and animal health and the environment through the regulation of plants, animal feed, fertilizer, and pesticides. In FY2023, the division acquired additional funding to support programs reducing pesticide exposure for vulnerable populations in schools, daycares, nursing homes, hospitals, and for high-risk agricultural workers. The division s integrated pest management program plays a significant role in increasing public awareness about pesticide safety and providing applicators with the tools they need to apply pesticides according to state and federal law. PPPM also supports the Environmental Protection Agency's Worker Protection Standard Program, which aims to reduce pesticide poisonings and injuries among agricultural workers.

Staff Presentation