Term of Award

Summer 2020

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Health Policy and Management (COPH)

Committee Chair

William Mase

Committee Member 1

Haresh Rochani

Committee Member 2

Gulzar Shah


Background: Environmental public health has always been at the forefront of issues that affect the health and wellbeing of the general public when it comes to food safety. However, with the workforce moving from one of technological laggards toward faster progress toward new and improved systems in performing food service, the question becomes: What are the needs of the environmental health and food safety workforce, and how does one get there? Logically, another question follows: are our current training programs helping to make a difference in the number of foodborne-illness risk-factor violations being issued?

Purpose: This study was to determine the knowledge, skills, and ability needs of the individual within the workforce and to look at foodborne-illness risk factors within food-service establishments and see how the current food safety workforce is addressing both the needs of the individual and risk factors of the establishments.

Methods: Descriptive statistics, multiple linear regression, and multilevel logistic regression were performed on the two data sets associated with this project, a workforce study with 38 respondents consisting sanitarians from Houston (Texas) Health Department and a study of food-service establishments over a six-year period including approximately 6000 establishments per year within the City of Houston’s jurisdiction, collected to determine the current levels of both groups.

Results: Several different results were gleaned from the information, including the effects that gender/sex, race/ethnicity, years of experience, years of employment, age, and educational attainment, have on the workforce survey and the results of the group and their Negative Needs Scores. Other effects observed include negative effects on the odds of a food-service establishment’s foodborne-illness risk factors and associated violations with decreasing risk levels.

Conclusion: Environmental public health programs, including the HHD, can and should start implementing continuous workforce quality improvement plans to address issues that could develop within the individual and their motivators for work. Individuals working within the HHD have specific training needs that need to be met to reduce foodborne-illness risk-factor violations through training the operators on the importance of mitigating the issues.

Research Data and Supplementary Material


Available for download on Saturday, June 21, 2025