SU professor earns NEHA’s premier credentials in environmental health
The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) recently conferred upon Rao Uppu, the James and Ruth Endowed Professor of Environmental Toxicology in the College of Sciences and Engineering at Southern University Baton Rouge (SUBR), its premier dual credential, Registered Environmental Health Specialist/ Registered Sanitarian (REHS/RS).
Uppu is being recognized for his set of defined competencies, evidenced through years of working experience in environmental health and successful testing in a wide range of science and engineering topics as they relate to promotion of environmental public health, responding to emergencies, and the like.
Apart from extensive academic preparation, Uppu attributes his success to his more than 20 years of research in chemical/molecular toxicology (LSU and SUBR) and over five years of field research experience in molecular epidemiology (India).
“It took nearly two years to earn the REHS/RS credential which involved years of working experience in environmental health and successful testing in a wide-range of science and engineering topics as they relate to promotion of environmental public health, responding to emergencies, and the like. The reason I strived so hard to earn the REHS/RS credential was that I wanted to introduce an M.S. degree program in environmental health as a foundation course to our Ph.D. program in Environmental Toxicology,” said Uppu.
The honor of conferring REHS/RS by NEHA began in 1937. According to NEHA, the REHS/RS credential holders “demonstrate competency in an impressive range of environmental health issues, directing and training personnel to respond to routine or emergency environmental situations, and providing education to their communities on environmental health concerns.” Additionally, they are key members who ensure communities’ compliance with local, state and federal environmental health regulations.
The REHS/RS credential is among several recent accomplishments for Uppu.
A longtime member of the Society of Toxicology, the world’s largest toxicology association, Uppu was an elected Fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences (FATS, 2013) and earned board certification from the American Board of Toxicology (DABT, 2014). In 2015, he was named Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a recognition he received from the world’s largest scientific organization for his work in the areas of ozone-mediated oxidations, oxidative and nitrosative stress, and cell signaling.
Uppu is one of a handful of scientists, residing both within the US and outside, who earned the distinction of having all four credentials: DABT, REHS/RS, FATS, and AAAS Fellow. He is a proud Southernite who earned these recognitions while a member of the faculty at Southern University.
Uppu has published numerous research articles in peer-reviewed journals and has mentored several graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Additionally, he has been adjudicator for several PhD/DSc theses from other countries.
In 2007, Uppu was honored as the University-wide researcher and professor of the year. He also received SUBR’s Business and Industry Cluster Quality Award (2011), Telugu Association of North America Excellence in Science Award (2011), SUBR Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching (2013), and the Becoming Everything You Are (BEYA) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Innovators Award.
About NEHA and REHS/RS Credential
The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) had its origins in the state of California where it was incorporated in 1937. The original impetus behind the creation of a national professional society for environmental health practitioners was the desire by professionals of that day to establish a standard of excellence for this developing profession. This standard, which has come to be known as the Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian (REHS/RS) credential, signifies that an environmental health professional has mastered a body of knowledge (which is verified through the passing of an examination), and has acquired sufficient experience, to satisfactorily perform work responsibilities in the environmental health field. The pioneers of the association believed that such a credential was necessary if the environmental health field was to grow and take shape as a legitimate and widely respected profession.
NEHA currently serves 5,000 members to advance the environmental health and protection professional for the purpose of providing a healthful environment for all. Professionals who earn a Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian credential from NEHA are recognized as having achieved an established standard of excellence. These environmental health professionals master a body of knowledge (which is verified by examination), and acquire sufficient experience to satisfactorily perform work responsibilities in the environmental health field.