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ANN ARBOR, Mich. – NSF and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) are pleased to announce that Brian J. Zamora, REHS, MPH, is the 2018 recipient of the distinguished Walter F. Snyder Environmental Health Award. Mr. Zamora will receive the award on June 27 at the NEHA Annual Education Conference in Anaheim, California in recognition of more than 40 years of significant and lasting contributions to environmental and public health through leadership, collaboration and consensus national standards development.
The Snyder Award honors NSF’s co-founder and first executive director, Walter F. Snyder, who provided outstanding contributions to the advancement of environmental and public health.
“Brian Zamora’s accomplishments reflect the principles expressed by Walter F. Snyder and the public health mission of NSF,” says Kevan P. Lawlor, NSF President and CEO. “Brian initiated many significant programs, particularly in potable water and wastewater protection, and developed numerous successful health initiatives. As chair of several NSF/ANSI standard joint committees, his knowledge and proficiency were instrumental in successfully advancing standards development through the consensus process.”
“Throughout his career, Brian Zamora has taken a leading role in identifying environmental and public health issues, and establishing a can-do culture in his departments to remedy those challenges,” says David T. Dyjack, Dr.PH, CIH, Executive Director and CEO of NEHA. “Brian is the consummate professional, working to promote public health across a wide range of organizations and covering a variety of environmental health issues including water safety and access to preventive services.”
Mr. Zamora led many public health initiatives during his 40-plus-year career in environmental health roles. He retired in 2015 from the County of San Mateo in California, after 27 years of service, most recently as its Director of Family Health Services. In this role, he spearheaded an electronic health record system which enabled public health nurses to easily record details during home visits and access other county services provided to patients.
Earlier, as the County of San Mateo’s Director of Community Health, Mr. Zamora worked with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, local fire and police personnel, and county pharmacy representatives to establish and publicize a program to safely dispose of unused pharmaceuticals. Additionally, in the wake of a moth infestation that quarantined agriculture products, he formed a task force to investigate control methods. The task force required creating an environmental impact report prior to aerial pesticide spraying, which resulted in the county using pheromone twist ties and ground applications.
Prior to that role, Mr. Zamora served as the county’s Director of Public Health and Environmental Protection, where he managed the first county-wide dental health care study of indigent families, which found that insufficient dental care was being provided to pre-school and school-aged children. He worked with community leaders to open Sonrisas, a clinic providing no-cost dental care for chronically underserved populations such as migrant workers and the homeless. He also worked with the county’s Health Officer to purchase its first mobile health care clinic.
Mr. Zamora managed the county’s pandemic flu plan, which included a written response plan from all cities in the county, all county departments and the San Francisco International Airport, as well as a county-wide exercise drill. He also oversaw a campaign to fluoridate the county’s public water system.
During this time, as President of the County Health Executives of California, Mr. Zamora negotiated funding for local public health departments to add staff to handle pandemic flu and emerging pathogenic incidents.
Before that, as the county’s Director of Environmental Health, Mr. Zamora reorganized the department’s structure to create private-sector-style teams and established California’s first website for the public to check inspection histories of all city/county restaurants. He also became the President of the California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health where he established a manager of the year scholarship for training future directors.
Prior to working for the County of San Mateo, Mr. Zamora was the Director of Environmental Health for Solano County. In this role, he was instrumental in creating an ordinance requiring private water wells to undergo a 24-hour constant rate pump test to avoid failure during the dry summer months. He also co-chaired a statewide task force to develop clean-up protocols (which are still being used today) for leaking underground fuel/storage tanks that were contaminating groundwater.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Zamora worked for the County of Santa Barbara, first as a Land Use Specialist and later as a Supervising Environmental Health Officer. He wrote the county ordinance for the underground storage tank monitoring program and the small water systems ordinance. He conducted a study that proved a subdivision served by septic tanks was contaminating Mission Creek, and was able to secure funding to construct a centralized sewage system for the subdivision. He also headed the closure of an illegal farm worker camp in the county.
Mr. Zamora began his career in public health as an Environmental Health Specialist working for the State of New Mexico. There he helped to renovate the municipal sewage treatment plant and to stop frequent open burning at the municipal landfill.
Mr. Zamora has held many leadership positions in environmental health associations. He is the longest serving member of NSF’s Council of Public Health Consultants (CPHC), serving 10 terms over 28 years and as chair in 1998. He also chaired NSF joint committees developing standards for dietary supplements, pharmaceutical excipients, sustainable textiles and sustainable wallcoverings, and served on a technical committee for environmentally preferable products.
Mr. Zamora has been a member of NEHA and the California Environmental Health Association (CEHA) for 35 years. For four years, he chaired the Management Section for NEHA’s Annual Educational Symposium which offered courses in time management, identification of future managers and the value of the organizational diagnosis in assessing the health of an organization. As President of CEHA’s Mission Chapter, he led a task group that rebranded the title sanitarian to registered environmental health specialist (REHS) to more accurately define the role. He also served on the first task group to establish criteria for continuing education units for all REHSs and upon his recommendation, CEHA created a code of conduct for REHSs.
Mr. Zamora has been a guest lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health and the University of California Cooperative Extension. He holds a master’s degree in public health, specializing in water hygiene, from the University of Minnesota.
Snyder Award nominations are open to the public, and a juror panel of environmental health leaders selects the recipients. For more information about the Walter F. Snyder Award or to nominate a colleague for next year’s award, visit NSF’s website.
About NSF: NSF (nsf.org) is an independent, global organization that develops consensus standards, and inspects, tests and certifies products for the food, water, health sciences and consumer products industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment. Founded in 1944 at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. NSF is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Food Safety, Water Quality and Indoor Environment.
About NEHA: The National Environmental Health Association is a professional organization with more than 5,000 members in the public and private sectors as well as in universities and uniformed services. It publishes the peer-reviewed Journal of Environmental Health providing a valuable resource for the complete spectrum of environmental health topics. NEHA's mission, "to advance the environmental health professional for the purpose of providing a healthful environment for all" is fulfilled in the products and services offered by NEHA through training, education, networking, professional development and policy involvement. www.neha.org.