Timothy N. Hatch, MPA, REHS
Environmental Program Director
Center for Emergency Preparedness
Alabama Department of Public Health
Tim Hatch is the Director of Environmental Programs for the Alabama Department of Public Health's Center for Emergency Preparedness in Montgomery, Alabama. He earned a Bachelors degree in Biology (environmental science option) from Auburn University and a Masters in Public Administration (state and local government emphasis) from Auburn University at Montgomery. His public health career began in the fall of 1995 as a public health environmentalist at the Montgomery County Health Department. In 2001 he moved to the state office of the Alabama Department of Public Health. Most recently (December 2008) he was appointed by Governor Bob Riley as Public Health's representative on Alabama's Geographic Information System (GIS) Advisory Committee.
His EPH experience of nearly 14 years has afforded him the opportunity to respond to some of the worst natural disasters to hit Alabama in decades. In September 2004, Hurricane Ivan struck the Gulf Coast of Alabama. Tim was one of the first responders and led an environmental assessment team throughout the effected area and assisted in the recovery. Due to his experience with Ivan he was the first EPH professional asked to prepare and stage in Mobile, Alabama in preparation for Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. There he was put in charge of a large medical needs shelter and over all environmental response and recovery for the first 10 days after landfall. He worked closely with the Federal Emergency Management Administration and the United States Public Health Service officials to care for and manage the vast number of Alabama citizens affected by this storm. In addition, this shelter was home to evacuees from Mississippi and Louisiana for several weeks after the storm. The experience, skills, and knowledge gained by responding to Hurricane Katrina have made Tim a subject matter expert on EPH response to natural disasters.
In April 2007 he became the first EPH professional in Alabama in nearly a quarter century to obtain his credentials as a Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS) with the National Environmental Health Association. The REHS credential is not required in Alabama but Tim has made it a goal to change this and works to train and prepare others to achieve this prestigious certification. As a catalyst, Tim's EPHLI project researches ways to achieve this as a mandatory requirement for Alabama's EPH staff.
Leadership Development Opportunities
As the old saying goes,"third time is the charm." I applied for EPHLI's Cohort 2 and 3 but was not selected. However in December 2007 I was chosen as one of 37 to participate in Cohort 4 and this was a dream come true. The major benefits I have gained from my participation in EPHLI are the knowledge of systems thinking and the great network of fellows, mentors, instructors, and experts I can call on throughout my career. My leadership skills have been advanced and the new way of approaching some common issues in EPH have renewed my love of this profession. I have always considered myself a life-long student and the EPHLI "classroom" has fulfilled that in me, yet again. My participation in EPHLI has given me more education, connections, and experiences than any year spent in college. I appreciate being able to meet and work with some of the finest EPH minds in the country and being among them is very humbling. As a result of my year with EPHLI, I intend on bringing some of the techniques and thought-provoking discussions back to my work environment so that my staff can feel that revitalization that it takes to break the mold, think outside the box, and solve real-world EPH problems in our state. I would be remiss if I did not mention how important EPHLI is to my preparation for leadership as I enter into the second half of my public health career. Leadership is one of the CDC's Six Strategic Imperatives that guides its decisions and priorities to help achieve the Health Protection Goals. I plan to utilize these to help foster needed change with Alabama's EPH staff and practices.