By Mitierra Johnson, Environmental Health Research Assistant
Megan Lee is a Registered Environmental Health Specialist at the Craven County Department of Environmental Health. In this role, she manages the county lead program and conducts inspections at various facilities like pools, tattoo shops, and restaurants.
Related to lead poisoning prevention, her duties include collecting samples, reaching out to families to offer investigations, co-investigating with her regional environmental health specialist, and helping families work through the remediation process.
Outreach is a big part of her work, and she believes it is a great way to raise awareness on the importance of testing children for lead. “There are so many people who have never heard of lead exposure, and don’t realize the repercussions it can have on their child,” she says.
Megan continues, “By educating parents and caregivers about the potential hazards in their child’s environment that could cause them to become lead poisoned, there is a good chance we could reduce the number of cases that warrant an investigation.” Considering this, she hopes to expand her outreach efforts in the future.
Prior to joining the health department staff, she was a teacher at a childcare facility for about a year. Having that experience allows her to bring a unique perspective to her work.
“The nature of lead poisoning prevention work is different from other aspects of my job because I feel that I am often making a difference in a child’s life,” she notes.
Furthermore, she loves that environmental health is preventative, and how that lens allows her to help someone before they get sick.
The most exciting part of her job is being able to form relationships and foster trust with the families and children with whom she works.
One of the most challenging aspects of her job is getting remediation projects completed. Sometimes there are funding issues, or the families may not have the money which can make the process difficult.
Megan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health from Meredith College, and she is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in Public Health with a concentration in health policy, administration, and leadership from East Carolina University.
She learned about the NC Lead and Healthy Homes Outreach Task Force through her regional environmental health specialist, Rob Pearsall. She appreciates the opportunity to network with other professionals across the state.