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Marie Angeline DeWald ; B.S., R.S.

Environmental Specialist II; Florida DOH,
Martin County Health Department

Stuart, Florida 34994

 
Biography

Marie Angeline DeWald works as an Environmental Specialist II with the Florida Department of Health at the Martin County Health Department in Stuart, Florida. She worked for several years in the onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems (ostds) program and continues to maintain her certification in that area. Currently she works in the facilities program doing inspections in the areas of food hygiene, pools, group care facilities, tanning facilities and body piercing facilities. She has completed numerous emergency preparedness trainings and, until recently, served as a member of an environmental health emergency response team.

 

Although not a supervisor, as a “senior” member of the staff, Ms. DeWald is often called upon to train new staff or to assist “less seasoned” co-workers. She is a “born” teacher. Members of the public with whom she has worked often comment on her thorough knowledge of the areas of interest and her ability to communicate or “teach” them in a way that they find unassuming and extremely helpful. Public speaking seems to come easy to her.

 

Ms. DeWald holds a BS degree from the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. She has attained certification as a registered sanitarian (RS) through the Florida Environmental Health Association (FEHA) and is working towards a MPH at the University of Florida. She served as the secretary for the local FEHA chapter for several years. She also volunteers her time to the United Way Fundraising Steering Committee as a representative for the Florida State Employee Charitable Campaign.

 

Leadership Development Opportunities

Although I had been a supervisor in previous jobs, I am not currently working in a supervisory position. Over several years, I observed significant positive changes in my director’s supervisory style, especially after he graduated from EPHLI, and realized I could benefit from increasing my understanding of current leadership models. After I expressed a desire to develop my leadership skills in conjunction with my work towards a MPH, my director suggested I apply to the Environmental Public Health Leadership Institute.

 

Upon my completion of a program at the University of Florida to earn a certificate in Public Health, I applied and was accepted to EPHLI Cohort V. At the initial meeting in Atlanta, I began to wonder if I had taken on a task bigger than I could manage. The others in my group were directors and already had experience with the Myers-Briggs and Skillscope. For me, those tools were like a new set of glasses through which to view not only myself and my co-workers but clients and family as well. Over the year, I have seen my relationships change for the better as I began to understand and respect different personalities and work styles. I found myself reviewing past experiences when I was a supervisor and realized how much better I could have been if I had known what I was learning in EPHLI.

 

The Institute curriculum is definitely on par with graduate-level courses. A major difference that I experienced was that in EPHLI there were mentors, team members and staff that were available to “keep you on track.” Only at the conclusion did I understand that each assignment was to become a segment of my final paper. Another difference was that this program is more concentrated on educating a new method of approaching problems through different ways of thinking about the problem, rather than being a course that requires memorization of facts and figures.

 

I found the consultants much more accessible for questions than my professors had been. Michael Goodman worked with each member of my mentoring team to assist us in not only completing each assignment but in developing the thought processes behind the assignments. This team structure provides an immeasurable asset as you work on your Leadership Project. Each team member provides feedback to the other team members as you develop your project. I learned a great deal about my project topic and myself through the action learning framework. Friendships and networking opportunities grew throughout the year.

 

EPHLI also allows you to have a personal coach to help you with your Individual Development Plan. For me, the input from my coach, Dr. Donna Dinkin, proved to be very rewarding. She shared her time generously with me and pointed out characteristics which were revealed in my Skillscope that I had overlooked. Toward the end of the program, she continued to guide me in developing the next set of IDP goals.

 

I do not know what the future holds but I am confident that the material learned in EPHLI will serve me well. I feel very privileged to have been a part of EPHLI Cohort V. I look forward to using this experience to continue my development as a leader in public health.