NACCHO Announces Fourth Cohort for Retail Program Standards Mentorship Program

NACCHO is pleased to announce the selection of a fourth cohort of participants in its Retail Program Standards Mentorship Program. The peer mentorship program provides opportunities to learn, share experiences, and acquire tools and resources related to the FDA Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (Retail Program Standards).

Developed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Retail Program Standards guide local health departments in designing and managing a retail food regulatory program, and provide a means of recognizing programs that meet the standards. The program consists of nine standards that enable local health departments to critically assess and improve their retail food regulatory programs.

NACCHO’s program, now in its fourth year, pairs local health department practitioners who are experienced in applying the Retail Program Standards with those newly enrolled and looking for assistance, guidance, tools, resources, and recommendations for success. Participants will design plans for reaching program milestones, conduct self-assessments, develop improvement plans, and conduct verification audits, among other learning activities. Moreover, participation in the mentorship program helps to strengthen relationships between local health departments and regional FDA offices.

“Our experience in the mentorship program was extremely valuable,” said Maya Kulick, senior environmental health specialist for Summit County Environmental Health in Colorado and a mentee during the second cohort. “We are a small local health department and were working to meet one of the FDA’s program standards. We didn’t know all of the pitfalls that come along with being audited. Through our mentorship we were able to put in all of the work ahead of the audit in order for (it) to go smoothly. It was great getting to see a much larger health department in action and all of the services they were able to provide.”

The mentorship program began in 2012 with nine local health departments; the second cohort grew to include 15 participating local health departments, and the third and fourth cohorts have each included 18. Participants will begin the program in early January 2015 and will complete it in at the end of August 2015. NACCHO is providing approximately $230,000 total in funding to participating local health departments.

The Retail Program Standards Mentorship Program fourth cohort includes:

Mentor: Wake County Environmental Health and Safety Division (NC)
Mentee: Davie County Health Department (NC)
Mentee: Wilkes County Health Department (NC)
Mentee: Richmond County Health Department (NC)

Mentor: Fairfax County Health Department (VA)
Mentee: County of San Bernadino Department of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health Services (CA)
Mentee: Southern Nevada health District (NV)
Mentee: Erie County Health Department (OH)
Mentee: Lord Fairfax Health District (VA)

Mentor: Alexandria Health Department (VA)
Mentee: Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness (KY)
Mentee: Jackson County Department of Public Health (NC)
Mentee: Gwinnet, Newton, and Rockdale County Environmental Health Departments (GA)

Mentor: Vineland Health Department (NJ)
Mentee: Outagamie County Public Health (WI)
Mentee: Alamosa County Public Health Department (CO)
Mentee: Englewood Department of Health (NJ)

Mentor: Kansas City Missouri Health Department (MO)
Mentee: Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services (MO)
Mentee: Southeastern Utah District Health Department (UT)

Mentor: Lake County General Health District (OH)
Mentee: Arlington Health Department (MA)

Mentor: Chatham County Public Health Department (NC)
Mentee: Cumberland County Department of Public Health Environmental Health Division (NC)
Mentee: Lee County Health Department (NC)


About Katie Regan

Katie Regan serves as the Communications Specialist for Environmental Health, Pandemic Preparedness, and Catastrophic Response at NACCHO. Her work includes promoting local health departments' best practices through NACCHO's various storytelling and communications channels. Twitter: @katiejregan

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