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Michael A. Echelle

Administrative Director

Pittsburg, Coal, Atoka and Pontotoc County Health Departments

Oklahoma State Department of Health

McAlester, OK 74501

Biography

Michael Echelle is the Administrative Director for the Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Coal, and Atoka County Health Departments. He earned a Bachelor’‘s Degree in Animal Science from Oklahoma State University. He received his Certificate in Public Health from the University of Oklahoma and is currently attending graduate classes at the OU College of Public Health to complete his Master's Degree in Public Health.

 

Michael has served as District Delegate, Vice, President and President for the Oklahoma Society of Professional Sanitarians. He has completed the Oklahoma Public Health Leadership Institute training. Michael has received the Environmental Health Achievement Award and two Exceptional Merit Awards from the Oklahoma Public Health Association Conference. At the National Restaurant Association Conference in Chicago and the National Environmental Health Association Conference in Denver, Michael presented Oklahoma's initiative to vaccinate food workers for Hepatitis A. He has received two Governor's commendations: one for coordinating Sooner Spring, the most extensive bioterrorism drill ever conducted, and a second for providing volunteer relief services to the state of Florida following the destruction left by Hurricane Ivan. At the annual OPHA Conference, Michael  received a Special Recognition Award for exceptional contributions toward the dental health of Oklahomans. The State Commissioner of Health also appointed him to the Oklahoma Food Advisory Council, a position he holds currently.

What I Learned at EPHLI

I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to participate in EPHLI. It's not often that one has the opportunity to network and collaborate with environmental health professionals from across the country. While our geographic regions may differ, it was enlightening to hear that many of us face similar problems and issues.

 

The institute challenged me to think more broadly by using a systems approach to solving environmental health or public health issues. I feel the curriculum presented was informative and appropriate with regard to enhancing leadership and management skills. Collaboration is the key to solving problems; the institute focuses on improving networking skills and abilities in order to take a holistic approach to addressing the problems. I have worked in the public health field for nearly twenty-four years, beginning my career as an environmental specialist and currently serving as a county health director for four counties. Over the years I have participated in a number of management courses, focused on team-building, leadership, conflict resolution, etc. They were all applicable and beneficial, however, none were as diverse or leadership focused as this one. The institute challenges participants to assess their abilities, values, and personal commitment and at the same time, helps guide individuals to improve themselves on a professional level. Overall, attending this institute has provided me the ability to include a systems approach process in order to more effectively solve problems.