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Ricardo Encarnacion, MPH, REHS

Supervising Environmental Health Specialist; County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health

San Diego, CA 92123


Ricardo Encarnacion began his career in Environmental Health while serving in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman where he received specialized training as a Preventive Medicine Technician (PMT) in 1994. As a PMT, he conducted environmental health inspections and industrial hygiene surveys on board ships and shore facilities.


After the Navy, Ricardo joined the County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health (DEH) in 1999. As a field supervisor within DEH’s Food and Housing Division (FHD), he led a team of Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS) staff who are responsible for various environmental health regulatory programs involving retail food activities, swimming pools and public housing. A main component of his job included the management of environmental health investigations for food borne illness outbreaks, as well as effectiveness checks for food safety recalls. Currently Ricardo is the FHD Operations Supervisor where he is responsible for ensuring field activity support and overall program efficiency.


Ricardo went on to complete his Master’s Degree in 2005 at San Diego State University’s Graduate School of Public Health, where he was recognized as the Environmental Health Outstanding Student for his graduating class. His main body of graduate work involved the development of a Food Safety System for a local school district.


Ricardo has also served as the South West Chapter President for the California Environmental Health Association (CEHA) from 2005 to 2006, where he has been an active member for the last 10 years.


Leadership Development Opportunities

Becoming a part of EPHLI has made me a better leader. The layout of the curriculum was very insightful wherein it begins with first learning about one’s own self and personality traits. Like a mentor guiding the mentee, the Institute directs the fellow to first look inward in preparing to look outward at others. I found this to be a key developmental tool. This enabled me to come to terms with my own way of doing things and how I can best perform so as to bring about a successful outcome. I found that self-reflection is very important for those that are in the regulatory field, as it can bring about a better overview of a big picture problem, leading to a more long lasting, effective result. The Leadership Project taught me to tell the story the best way to get a point across. It also teaches us to appreciate what others may have at stake, which makes one appreciate the gradual approach to change. The Individual Development Plan and the presentation of the Logic Model have also changed the way for how I set my project goals, in that outputs and outcomes are better defined. Of all the elements of the Institute, the most valuable of all is the opportunity to meet and network with colleagues from different jurisdictions and levels of government. It is easy for a field regulator or program manager to become too focused within a local issue. Any chance to meet others who can give a fresh perspective or shared experience provides beneficial information as well as motivation to carry on. I am very grateful for being considered to be among those who can make a difference for the protection of Public and Environmental Health.