Specialist, Food Safety - Silver Spring, MD


Association of Public Health Laboratories

Silver Spring, MD

Specialist, Food Safety


Position Summary

The APHL Specialist - Food Safety Program provides support for a wide range of food safety and foodborne illness activities undertaken by member laboratories and works on behalf of and in collaboration with APHL members, staff and partner organizations. The staff member oversees the ongoing assessment of the food safety and foodborne disease capacity of the public health laboratory system, provides support to the Association's Food Safety Committee, and represents the Association in various forums. The staff person provides support for PulseNet activities in coordination with the PulseNet Program Manager. The staff person works in close collaboration with CDC's Food Safety Office and food safety professionals at FDA, USDA, and partner organizations. The Specialist - Food Safety Program reports to the Director of Infectious Disease and Food Safety Programs under the overall supervision of the Senior Director for Public Health Programs, and works closely with the Senior Advisor for Scientific Affairs.



As part of the Food Safety Team at APHL, the Specialist - Food Safety Program:

*       Seeks and pursues opportunities to improve APHL's food safety efforts, including but not limited to the activities outlined in the Cooperative Agreement with CDC

*       Represents the organization in external initiatives, advisory committees, and meetings

*       Maintains relationships with major funders and partner organizations. Helps APHL provide a strong voice for laboratory issues by representing the interests of public health laboratories to federal and organizational partners

*       Facilitates technology transfer related to food safety issues among CDC, APHL members, national associations, and other federal agencies.

*       Manages APHL activities to assess and enhance the capacity and capability of public health laboratories to respond to foodborne disease outbreaks, either intentional or natural in origin.

*       Provides staff support for the APHL Food Safety Committee, in coordination with the Committee Chair and the PulseNet Program Manager, including:

o    Organizing monthly conference calls, distributing minutes, and facilitating action items

o    Organizing an annual in-person committee meeting

o    Managing the process of policy statement development and approval

o    Managing sub-committees and work groups, as needed, and facilitating action items and the completion of deliverables

o    Monitoring regulatory actions and conveying to the members those that are relevant to public health laboratory practice

o    Ensuring that the annual priorities assigned by the APHL BOD are addressed by the Committee

*       Works to align the goals of the Food Safety Program with the mission and strategic plan of the Association.

*       Manage APHL activities associated with the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response, including APHL-led projects. Facilitate member activities within CIFOR, and participate in conference calls, in-person meetings, and workgroups as assigned.

*       Provides information to our members through various outlets

*       Assists the PulseNet Program Manager in supporting PulseNet activities at the state, county, and local level, including participating Agriculture Laboratories

*       Organizes workshops and other training opportunities related to food safety activities as needed by member laboratories. Solicits member input on training needs.

*       Attends and assists in the planning of strategic food safety conferences, including the PulseNet Update Meeting.

*       Assists public health laboratories in responding to inquiries about food safety and security issues. Manages APHL activities to educate others on the role of public health laboratories in food safety

         Work with all APHL departments to promote the value of public health laboratory testing in support of food safety initiatives.

*       Manages the activities of contractors and consultants, including project development, contract negotiations, payments and accounting records, and deliverable verification.

*       Prepares documents, reports, and correspondence for the Association. Prepares presentations about APHL food protection and defense activities for self and others to deliver at conferences and seminars


Employment Standards



         Bachelor's degree required in life science or health/health policy/laboratory field; Masters Degree in public health or life science preferred. Minimum 3 years experience or 1 year experience with a Masters Degree and relevant employment history.

         Health department, federal agency, member-based organization, or laboratory field experience preferred. Medical Technologist or microbiology background helpful.


Knowledge of:

         Microbiology or molecular laboratory science

         Project management

         Public health policy, food safety and security issues

         Federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the Food and Drug Administration 


         Demonstrated ability to handle multiple tasks under tight deadlines.

         Well-organized and detail-oriented.

         Ability to establish working relationships with diverse groups

         Project management

         Excellent organizational, written and verbal communication skills.

         Ability to work independently and with others

         Computer literacy, successful experience in word processing, database development and analysis, and PowerPoint presentation preparation, use of e-mail, use of the Internet as research tool.



         Moderate amount of travel required within the United States and abroad. 


APHL Level: Specialist


Physical Demands:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by a colleague to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


While performing the duties of this job, the colleague is required to sit for long periods at a time; type using a computer keyboard; visually read information off of a computer monitor; talk, hear, and orally communicate information over the telephone. Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision and color vision and the ability to adjust focus.


Work Environment:

Work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


While performing the duties of this job, the employee could be exposed to outdoor weather conditions prevalent at the time. The noise level in the work environment may vary from light to moderate depending on the location.


Performance evaluation will be based on the abilities in meeting the criteria outlined herein.



Director of Infectious Disease and Food Safety Programs



The duties and responsibilities listed in this job description are illustrative ones anticipated for this position. Other duties and responsibilities may be assigned as required. Association of Public Health Labs (APHL) reserves the right to amend or change this job description to meet the needs of its programs. This job description and any attachments do no constitute or represent a contract.


Please submit cover letter, resume and salary requirements to jobs@aphl.org for consideration.




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