The Washington State Department of Health and University of Washington School of Public Health were selected as an Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence (CoE) in 2019. We are honored to serve as the CoE for the Western Region, which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam.
This joint venture combines academic and public health expertise to strengthen foodborne illness outbreak detection and response in Washington and nationwide. The Washington CoE will identify food safety best practices and serve as a regional resource for training and workforce development.
The Integrated Food Safety Centers of Excellence program was established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Washington joins the existing regional centers in Colorado, Minnesota, New York, and Tennessee.
The Northwest Center for Public Health Practice (NWCPHP) at the University of Washington serves as a regional training hub and provides instructional design, web design, and graphic design for the Washington Center of Excellence.
Janet Baseman, PhD, MPH
Co-director, University of Washington
Janet Baseman is a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Associate Dean for Public Health Practice at the University of Washington (UW) School of Public Health, and co-director of the Washington Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence. Dr. Baseman conducts research in the areas of infectious disease epidemiology, public health informatics, and public health emergency preparedness and response. She teaches an undergraduate course, EPI 201: Outbreak Investigation and Response, and is the director of the UW Student Epidemic Action Leaders (SEAL) Team, a program that trains students in applied epidemiology and connects them with time-sensitive field assignment opportunities in state and local public health agencies.
Beth Melius, RN, MN, MPH
Co-director, Washington State Department of Health
Beth Melius is the lead Foodborne and Enteric Disease Epidemiologist for the Washington State Department of Health Office of Communicable Disease Epidemiology, and co-director of the Washington Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Nursing, and a Master of Public Health from the University of Washington. Her background is diverse with experience in trauma nursing, international public health, hospital infection prevention, and public health program management. Prior to working for the state of Washington, Beth spent two years as a CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer, leading outbreaks with Indian Health Services (IHS) in Albuquerque, NM and nationally.
Hillary Booth, MPH
Food Safety CoE Epidemiologist, Washington State Department of Health
Hillary Booth is an applied infectious disease epidemiologist in her 18th year as a public health practitioner, recently returned to foodborne disease after working on pandemic response since January 2020. She is currently an epidemiologist working with the Washington State Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence. Hillary also serves as a Subject Matter Expect to the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR). Her professional interests include infectious disease surveillance, molecular epidemiology, and public health informatics (particularly the design of outbreak investigation templates and data systems).
Ben Bryer, BS
Graduate Research Assistant, University of Washington
Ben Bryer is an Epidemiology MPH student at UW, Seattle. He completed his undergraduate studies in Community Health at the University of Maryland, College Park. He serves as a research assistant at the Washington CoE, and he is one of the lead contacts for phase II of the COVID Impacts project. Ben is new to enteric and infectious disease work, and is excited to grow and learn more about pressing issues in the field. He intends on starting his career at a local public health department within an epidemiology or other community-serving role.
Nicole Marshall, MPH
Research Scientist, University of Washington
Nicole Marshall is a research scientist and epidemiologist with the University of Washington and the Washington Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence. Nicole has worked at local and state health departments in communicable disease epidemiology and has a background in laboratory science and microbiology. Her current work includes development and research into methods for improving infectious disease surveillance and training of the food safety and epidemiology workforce.
Anne Massey, MPH
Graduate Research Assistant, University of Washington
Anne Massey is a PhD student in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington School of Public Health. She earned a Bachelor of Science from Western Washington University and Master of Public Health (MPH) from the University of Washington. Anne has worked on applied epidemiology projects at both the local and state level, including her MPH practicum which focused on foodborne illness outbreak response material and resource development. Prior to entering the PhD program, Anne worked as an Epidemiologist in the Office of Communicable Disease Epidemiology at the Washington State Department of Health.
Rachel Sanders, MPH
Program Coordinator, Washington State Department of Health
Rachel Sanders is an epidemiologist and program coordinator for the Washington Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology, Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, and a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Washington. Rachel has experience conducting zoonotic and enteric disease interviews at the Washington State Department of Health and has worked on a variety of projects, including the development of web based tools for enteric disease investigation.
Meelay Tellier, MPH
Foodborne and Enteric Disease Epidemiologist, Foodborne Illness Outbreak Response Coordinator, Washington State Department of Health
Meelay Tellier is a Foodborne and Enteric Disease Epidemiologist and the Foodborne Illness Outbreak Coordinator at the Washington State Department of Health. Meelay attended Northern Illinois University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Public Health, concentrating in Environmental Health and Emergency Preparedness. Meelay earned her Master of Public Health with certifications in Epidemiology and Health Education and Promotion from Benedictine University. She has a diverse background in environmental health, community health, and communicable disease epidemiology and has strong program development, training, and quality improvement experience.