Connie O'Neill--2005 Milton M. Miller Award winner.
Connie O'Neill was born and raised in Eastern Colorado. She attended the University of Northern Colorado, where she received her bachelor's degree in biology in 1989. She received her master's degree in environmental policy and management from the University of Denver in 2000.
O'Neill began working for the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment in Colorado as an environmental technician in 1989. She served as the department's laboratory supervisor from 1994 to 2004. In that position, she was responsible for coordinating all laboratory programs, including water, wastewater, medical, vector control, and bioterrorism analyses. She is currently the manager of the North Front Range Water Quality Planning Association (NFRWQPA) and is responsible for overall management, planning, and leadership of the organization. NFRWQPA is the coordinating agency for water quality management planning and implementation in Larimer and Weld counties.
As Weld County's laboratory supervisor, Connie was proactive in establishing surveillance and setting up lab protocols for the testing of animals and humans for West Nile virus before there was a physical presence of the disease in Weld or surrounding counties. These procedures have served as a blueprint for other jurisdictions in Colorado and the Western United States. She has been instrumental in dealing with other public health challenges, too, assisting the city of Greeley with testing and policy development when Giardia was detected in the city's water supply in 1999 and when a Shigella outbreak affecting preschoolers occurred in 2001.
O'Neill served on the board of the Colorado Environmental Health Association as secretary from 1996 to 1997 and as chair of the Annual Educational Conference Committee from 1996 to 2000. She also served as secretary of the West Central Mosquito and Vector Control Association from 1996 to 2002.
According to Trevor Jiricek, director of environmental health services at Weld County Department of Public Health & Environment, "Connie exemplifies leadership and outstanding service in the field of environmental health and is deserving of being named our state's out-standing environmental health professional." And according to Tom Gonzales, NEHA Region 3 vice president, "Connie is the kind of person whose integrity shines in every encounter. That she has chosen to devote her life to the field of environmental health is our great gain. She represents responsible leadership and scientific credibility at its highest level."
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|Title Annotation:||Colorado Environmental Health Association|
|Publication:||Journal of Environmental Health|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2006|
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