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LaTrice Porter-Thomas, MPH, LEHP

Environmental Quality Manager

Cook County Department of Public Health

Oak Park, IL 60301

Biography

In May, 1993, LaTrice Porter-Thomas graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor's degree in Environmental Health, majoring in Industrial Hygiene. LaTrice chose a career in public health and began working at the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) as a Sanitarian I.  She left CCDPH after 3 years for a very favorable offer of employment in the private sector. Her passion for public health, however, was unfulfilled in the private sector so she returned to CCDPH three years later to manage the newly created Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)/Toxicology Program. Over the years, this program has been instrumental in educating the residents of suburban Cook County and municipal staff on such IAQ issues as, environmental tobacco smoke, asthma, radon and mold, to name a few. 

 

In 2002, West Nile Virus (WNV) surfaced and proved to be a significant public health threat in Cook County.  LaTrice was assigned the lead in monitoring avian and mosquito activity throughout the County in order to gauge human risk.  As a result of the hard work and willingness to provide the leadership needed to ensure the success of this program, she was promoted to her current position as Environmental Quality Manager.  In addition to her above duties, this position also included supervision of the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. 

 

In May, 2006, LaTrice graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) with a Master of Public Health in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.  While a student at UIC, she was awarded the Illinois Public Health Association Graduate Scholarship, the James P. Keogh Memorial Scholarship and the Michelle B. Neal Graduate Scholarship and co-authored a presentation, entitled Exposure Assessment for Metals in a Police Department Firing Range while Using Different Types of Ammunition, that was presented at the 2007 American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, held June 2-7, 2007 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  A copy of the abstract is posted at http://www.aiha.org/abs07/po129.htm.

 

LaTrice is a 2007 Alumni Inductee of Delta Omega National Honor Society and a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., a service organization whose motto is "Greater Service, Greater Progress".  She currently holds Illinois state licenses as an Environmental Health Practitioner, a Lead Inspector/Risk Assessor and a Mosquito Pesticide Applicator. 

 

Leadership Development Opportunities

Being a part of EPHLI has been a tremendous learning experience for me.  The coaches and mentors I have had the pleasure of working with have been instrumental in assisting me on my road to becoming a better manager, a better employee and a better person.  Through the personal assessments and coaching sessions, I have learned a lot about myself (some of which I knew, but didn't want to admit) and how others see me.  It has inspired me to, not only work to improve my weaknesses, but also to capitalize on my strengths.

 

I cannot thank EPHLI enough for the many resources and opportunities it has provided me.  I don't profess to be a systems thinking expert yet, but this experience has helped me to learn that if you just focus on the trees, you miss that the forest is in the shape of a heart.  Thanks EPHLI.