Her public health practice is industrial hygiene; her passion is worker health.
University of South Florida College of Public Health alumna Ms. Ivory Iheanacho said she was driven to public health for its ability to “safeguard our communities.”
The Baton Rouge, Louisiana native earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental management from LSU before deciding to make the move south to Tampa, Fla. for her masters of science degree in public health.
Ms. Iheanacho earned her MSPH in industrial hygiene from the USF College of Public Health in 2014, a degree which she said exposed her to the vastness of the public health profession.
“My graduate curriculum included a variety of courses such as health policy, toxicology and epidemiology,” she said. “What interested me most about public health is how broad of a profession it is and how a variety of systems work together to protect public health.”
Now, she’s putting what she learned earning her degree to work in Portland, Oregon. as a senior consultant for Ramboll, a leading international engineering, design and consultancy company.
“With Ramboll I’m engaged with providing exposure assessment and exposure reconstruction support,” she said. “Consulting can be fast paced which means staying organized is an absolute must. Who and what I work on as a consultant changes from week to week, but I find it rewarding to look back at the clients I’ve worked with and see how I was able to help them.”
Ms. Iheanacho said the COPH’s environmental and occupational health program is hands on, and after graduation she found herself using the skills she learned while earning her degree, including the research skills she developed while writing her thesis.
“With consulting, I have had the opportunity to support a variety of worker populations within academia, healthcare, local government, private industry, manufacturing, military and now through litigation support,” she said.
She’s also become involved with the volunteer community within the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). Since 2017, she has served on the Continuing Education Committee (CEC), a national volunteer committee within AIHA.
“The mission of CEC is to ensure AIHA members are provided with the highest quality of training programs and educational opportunities for professionals in occupational and environmental health,” she said. Her leadership doesn’t stop there. In 2017, Ms. Iheanacho worked with four other AIHA members to cofound the Women in Industrial Hygiene (WIH) volunteer committee within AIHA. She now leads national WIH outreach efforts to raise awareness about public health, occupational health and the industrial hygiene profession within the community.
In 2018, Ms. Iheanacho was elected president of the Pacific Northwest regional chapter of AIHA.
“I work with a phenomenal executive committee to provide members with a wide range of networking opportunities in the occupational health and safety field,” she said.
In all, her passion for worker health has its roots at the USF COPH.
Ms. Iheanacho was a student at the AIHce 2013 Conference in Montreal. There she met with Dr. Yehia Hammad, a professor of environmental and occupational health at the COPH, who she said was one of her inspirations during her time as a student. She also credited Drs. Steven Mylnarek and Thomas Bernard for inspiring her.
“What sets USF COPH apart from other programs was the emphasis on practical application, requiring a field experience to ensure students have practical experience before graduating,” she said. “I look back at my time at COPH as a pivotal step in my career and personal life. I made lasting friendships with the students and staff of my program and have COPH to thank for where I am now.”
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Story by Ms. Anna Mayor, USF College of Public Health