By Mitierra Johnson, Environmental Health Research Assistant
Ebony Phifer is a plan review coordinator for the Food, Lodging, and Institutional Sanitation Section at the Alamance County Health Department. In this position, she helps to open all new restaurants and businesses in the county and conducts inspections. She also performs lead investigations and healthy homes visits with county residents.
Ebony earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Livingstone College. After graduating in 2015, she worked as a donor center technician at a plasma center for about 2 years. She realized that she wanted to help people in different capacities and discovered the environmental health field. In 2018, she was hired at Alamance County Health Department as an Environmental Health Specialist. Ebony enjoys the interaction with people and community that the environmental health field offers while still being able to utilize her background in Biology.
As a member of the American Plan Rescue Act project group (ARPA), Ebony joins quarterly meetings to develop new skills and get insights on various environmental health topics to help her programs. “This has been a great learning experience for me, and I’ve become a better leader from attending those meetings,” she says.
For Ebony, the most exciting part of her job is being able to help a family identify a lead source that is hazardous to them. “Being able to help a family improve their child’s health is rewarding,” Ebony reflects.
The hardest part of the job for Ebony is when she has a case with a lead-poisoned child and the family cannot afford to remediate their home. It is challenging to find grant money to cover those expenses, she admits, but she still does everything she can to help.
Ebony became involved with the NC Lead and Healthy Homes Outreach Task Force when she managed the lead program for the county. She has been attending meetings for a year now, and takes full advantage of the meetings, receiving helpful tips from state and regional environmental health workers that she then applies to the program in Alamance County