Public Health Honors for Environmental and Occupational Health Instructors, Student and Alumna

Both Jonas Salk and President Herbert Hoover were members of the Delta Omega honor society, as is Lynn Goldman, MD, MS, MPH, the Michael and Lori Milken Dean of the George Washington University’s (GW) Milken Institute School of Public Health. This spring, two instructors in the school’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH), along with an accomplished student and alumna from the department, were inducted into the Delta Omega honor society.

Members of Delta Omega are committed to advancing and protecting the health of all people and excellence in the field of public health. For students, election to the society is based on outstanding scholarship.

Brianna VanNoy, a recent graduate of the department’s Environmental Health Science and Policy program, was inducted as a student. The induction recognized achievements including her 3.98 GPA, her work with undergraduates on behalf of the GW Women’s Leadership program, the biology laboratory classes for which she served as a teaching assistant, and her role on the executive board of the university’s Black Graduate Student Association. VanNoy is currently a research assistant for EOH Assistant Professor Ami Zota, ScD, MS, and she is planning to apply for PhD programs in exposure science and/or environmental epidemiology. 

Faculty members are nominated by students and selected based on their teaching and research, and alumni are recognized for community service. In his induction, Professor Lance Price, PhD, was cited for his work at the interface between science and policy to address the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance and for founding the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center, which he directs. In the laboratory, Dr. Price uses cutting-edge molecular approaches to trace the origins of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and develop strategies to block their transmission. His research has been published in top peer-reviewed journals and covered in media outlets around the world.

His sustainable energy and sustainable living, as well as his success in walking his talk, were cited in the induction of Associate Professor Peter LaPuma, PhD, PE, CIH. His research activities have included studying the carbon emissions of electric vehicles, compared to gasoline-powered vehicles; the payback time of installing wind turbines; and the potential of geothermal energy. He has studied the feasibility of utility scale solar systems, wind farms and alternative fuel facilities for the federal government. He has also worked with Kuwait and Oman in developing solar systems to offset oil and gas consumption.

Tara Failey, the alumna of the EOH Enviromental Health Science and Policy program who was inducted into Delta Omega this spring, is currently a public health specialist at MDB, Inc.  She provides environmental health consulting for federal agencies, focusing on research, facilitation, communications support, and technical writing there. Over the past several years, she has also been writing for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) on wide-ranging topics, including global environmental health, the health risks of antibacterial agents, e-waste, infectious disease training, and worker safety and health. She has also played a significant role advancing priorities of Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Urban Water Federal Partnership (UWFP), which aims to reconnect urban communities, particularly those that are overburdened or economically distressed, with their waterways.

“I take pride in knowing that my work – and the work of the initiatives to which I’ve contributed – is having an impact to advance the greater good,” Failey says, expressing a sentiment common to all successful public health practitioners.