Skip to main content

Overview of the Division of Environmental Health (DEH)

What is Environmental Health?

The field of environmental health is not about the birds, bees, and trees; it's about you and the places where you live, work, and play.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' (MDHHS) Division of Environmental Health (DEH) uses the best available science to reduce, eliminate, or prevent harm from environmental, chemical, and physical hazards. They also aim to promote environmental justice and equity for the people of Michigan by providing services to those who need them - such as the distribution of water filters to reduce PFAS or lead in drinking water, and removal of lead paint hazards from homes.

 

 

Video

Watch this video to learn about the Division of Environmental Health.

Our Goal

We serve to promote and protect the health of the people of Michigan by using the best available methods for epidemiology, toxicology, and health education to identify exposures, investigate related health effects, and intervene with public health actions. We aim to make sure state residents, especially those who are most at risk, are aware of and can take action to avoid environmental, chemical, and physical hazards.

We apply the best available science to end or prevent injury from environmental, chemical, and physical hazards, and promote equity for the people of Michigan.

Office of the Division Director

Senior Subject Matter Experts

The Division is supported by a small team of highly experienced toxicologists, epidemiologists, health educators, and project specialists who lend their expertise to projects throughout the division and work to ensure quality outputs.

Strategy and Operations

The Strategy and Operations team serves the Division by providing strategic guidance, developing policies and processes, providing technical support, and ensuring the Division functions efficiently so staff can focus on the important issue of protecting public health in the state of Michigan.

Financial Management Unit

The role of the Financial Management Unit is to support the Division by creating and maintaining allocation budgets, creating and maintaining annual spend plans, conduct compliance testing on contracts to ensure they are audit ready, tracking expenditures, coordinating grant applications, grant reporting, creating and maintaining purchase agreements, grant agreements and spending analysis.

Division Sections and Programs

Chemical Planning and Response Section

Jerry Tiernan, Section Manager - 517-388-7471

The Chemical Planning and Response Section carries out much of the field work for DEH, including both environmental sampling and community services (filter distribution, etc.). The section provides support to local, state, and federal partners in the event of public environmental health disasters, like oil spills and other hazardous chemical releases.

Emergency and Time Critical Operations (Web Version)

Emergency and Time Critical Operations (Printable Version)

Community Education and Outreach Section

Chris Finch, Section Manager - 517-285-7323

The Community Education and Outreach Section supports DEH in the areas of health education, community outreach, and engagement services. Centralizing communication activities in the section ensures consistent application of the best available social science and public health practices throughout DEH with the goal of informing residents of actions that can be taken to prevent or limit exposures to environmental hazards.

Environmental Epidemiology and Analytics Section

Anthony Oliveri, Section Manager - 517-648-5624

The units housed within the Environmental Epidemiology and Analytics Section provide critical epidemiological support to surveil, identify, and respond to opportunities for public health interventions regarding opioids, emerging drugs and lead in children, water, and homes. This section also manages data and provides geospatial and visual analytics to all sections throughout DEH.

Environmental Health Surveillance Section

Tom Largo, Section Manager - 517-284-4806

The Environmental Health Surveillance Section develops, maintains, and analyzes surveillance data on health issues related to environmental and occupational exposures. The section utilizes data to identify need for intervention. For example, staff identify worksites where occupational injuries have occurred and refer cases to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA). MIOSHA then has the discretion to conduct worksite inspections, identify violations, and assess penalties. In addition, the section’s MiTracking program makes a wide variety of data available to the public through its data query system.

Field Epidemiology Section

Melissa Millerick-May, Section Manager - 517-388-8275

The Field Epidemiology Section collects and assesses exposure and biomonitoring data for the purpose of identifying human exposure to environmental chemicals. The section works together to design methods to collect and analyze data, as well as share findings that result from biomonitoring surveillance (like blood and urine samples) and other environmental epidemiology investigations.

Lead Certification and Compliance Assurance Section

Jennifer Shutts, Section Manager - 517-284-4817

The Lead Certification and Compliance Assurance Section aims to safeguard Michigan residents from exposure to lead-based hazards by strengthening primary prevention, verification of work practice compliance, and providing certification and accreditation. With a focus on establishing functional relationships between DEH sections, contractors, and outside vendors; the section aims to improve compliance, quality, and the overall landscape of lead hazard control.

Lead Services Section

Carin Speidel, Section Manager - 517-284-4819

The Lead Services Section implements and oversees the programs that provide lead services to Michigan citizens. This includes home abatement, childhood blood lead testing, and additional services for children who have been identified with an elevated blood lead level.

Toxicology and Assessment Section

Marcus Wasilevich, Section Manager - 517-388-4569

The Toxicology and Assessment Section supports DEH activities with expertise in toxicology and risk assessment. The section’s work includes assessing and making public health determinations for Superfund sites, PFAS sites, and other sites with environmental contamination.