Doris Hogan is a Registered Environmental Health Specialist with the Forsyth County Department of Public Health. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Health from East Carolina University, she began working with Forsyth County and has now been employed there for 18 years.
Since Doris’s father was in the Army, she grew up both in the United States and overseas. After graduating high school and returning to the United States, she worked in a restaurant and was intrigued by the restaurant inspection process, which influenced her decision to pursue a degree in environmental health to become a restaurant inspector. When she first started working in Forsyth County, she conducted restaurant inspections and lead investigations. Doris is a certified Lead-Based Paint Inspector, Lead-Based Paint Risk Assessor and Lead Project Designer.
In 2009, the Forsyth County Department of Public Health passed a local Board of Health rule which lowered the elevated blood lead level of a child to 5µg/dL. This increased the number of children requiring case management and investigation and therefore, her work has become more focused on lead. Doris is primarily responsible for the Lead Program in Forsyth County and she is tasked with ensuring education of primary care providers to test all children for lead. Furthermore, she conducts lead investigations, completes required paperwork, and writes official lead investigation reports. She works with homeowners and contractors on the remediation process and conducts lead clearances once the work is complete.
In addition, Doris partners with the Refugee Health Collaborative in Forsyth County to better understand the health needs of refugees and to ensure they receive letters in their native language. The collaborative consists of primary care providers, World Relief employees, local advocates for refugees, the Forsyth County Refugee health nurses, WSFC EMS and other community groups. She works closely with the Refugee Health nurses in Forsyth County to make sure kids get follow-up testing once they arrive in the United States and are assigned to a primary care provider. Doris also works with the primary care providers and Department of Public Health pregnancy management programs to ensure testing of pregnant women and to conducts lead investigations of homes for pregnant women with elevated blood lead levels.
Doris believes that outreach is an important component for any lead program. In Forsyth County, she partners with school nurses and organizations like the Safe Kids NW Piedmont Coalition and Family Services Head Start to provide lead and healthy homes education and informational materials at various events during the year. One event she attends every month is the Safe Kids car seat checks where she provides outreach to parents and expectant parents. Doris explains, “the success of a lead program is letting people know the program exists and also dispelling myths that lead only impacts kids living in poor housing.”
Forsyth County has been involved with the NC Lead and Healthy Homes Task Force since 1997 when they received a CDC grant to implement the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. At this time, the county purchased the first Niton XRF analyzer to conduct lead investigations and provide health education. Reflecting on her work, Doris says, “I like being able to help people and make their home environment a safe place. A lot of these properties are rentals, so we are helping both the current and future tenants.” She continues, “Even if we only talk to one or two people at an outreach event, that’s one or two lives that are improved.”