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Division of Environmental Health Services (DEHS)

Portland Area DEHS Director (Vacant)
Point of Contact: LCDR Matthew Ellis, MPH, REHS
Institutional Environmental Health Officer
Emergency Management Coordinator
Indian Health Service, Portland Area
Phone: 503-414-7788

Field Operations Point of Contact
LCDR Shawn Blackshear
Environmental Health Officer
IHS Yakama Field Office, C. Cascades
Phone: 509-865-6300, x6


The Division of Environmental Health Services (DEHS) program of the Portland Area Indian Health Service (IHS) provides comprehensive environmental public health services to American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities through the work of environmental health professionals. The DEHS consults with Tribes, IHS service units, and community members to address their environmental public health concerns and develop plans for improvement.

The purpose of the DEHS is to address the wide range of environmental conditions in AI/AN communities that contribute to public health and quality of life. Healthy environments where we live, learn, work, and play are recognized as a vital factor in a person's overall health and well-being. To guide this purpose, the DEHS operates under the following mission statement:

Our Mission

Image describes in a pie format the Ten Essential Environmental Health Services of 1. Monitor health status to identify community environmental health problems. 2. Diagnose and investigate environmental health problems and health hazards in the community. 3. Inform, educate, and empower people about environmental health issues. 4. Mobilize partnerships to identify and solve environmental health problems. 5. Develop policies and plans that support individual and community environmental health efforts. 6. Support laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety. 7. Link people to needed environmental health services and assure the provision of environmental health services when otherwise unavailable. 8. Assure a competent environmental health workforce. 9. Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based environmental health services. 10. Research for new insights and innovative solutions to environmental health andprotection problems.

Through shared decision making and sound public health measures, enhance the health and quality of life of all American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest possible level by eliminating environmentally related disease and injury.

Services and activities include the following:

  • comprehensive monitoring and surveys of facilities and operations,
  • community environmental health assessments,
  • communicable and environmental disease surveillance and investigations,
  • health communication and training,
  • policy and code development,
  • facility construction plan reviews,
  • program and project evaluation,
  • special studies and model practice development, and
  • planning and systems management.
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