The Model Aquatic Health Code Network Celebrates One Year: Bringing Health and Safety to a Pool Near You

This month marks one year since NACCHO, together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) Network. Established to improve safety standards across U.S. public pools, waterparks, and spas, the joint initiative promotes the implementation of the MAHC among state and local health departments. First introduced by the CDC in 2014, and now in its second edition, the MAHC combines science and practice based recommendations from state and local public health agencies and aquatic industry professionals into a set of model codes designed to protect swimmers from recreational water illness, drowning, and pool chemical injury.

The MAHC Network serves as a learning community to increase awareness and successful adoption among potential, new, and experienced MAHC users at the state and local level. Network members engage in regular peer-to-peer networking, best practice sharing, and resource exchange. Now moving into its second year of operation, the network has already made progress in advancing the MAHC, contributing to greater visibility and improved user knowledge.

In the twelve months since it started, MAHC Network membership has grown to nearly 100 individuals in more than 30 local and state health agencies, nearly 20 aquatic industry partners and more than 15 non-profit, academic, and federal entities across 30 US states as well as Guam, Columbia, Canada, and Australia. Since last March, network members participated in six informative webinars with presentations ranging from local jurisdictions sharing insights on different phases of MAHC adoption to industry experts discussing how MAHC implementation has benefitted their organizations.  The full recordings for all six webinars, including presentation audio, PowerPoint slides, and audience question and answer sessions is available via the NACCHO website.

In addition, NACCHO produced a Fact Sheet about the Network and a research brief titled, “Pool Code Adoption and Enforcement in Local Jurisdictions: Model Aquatic Health Code.” NACCHO also worked with two of the network’s members, Jim Rada and Eugene Knight, to author a feature article on MAHC adoption for the summer 2016 issue of NACCHO’s Exchange Magazine. Released quarterly by NACCHO, this print publication is sent out to every local health department in the nation. Finally, NACCHO partnered with the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) as an exhibitor at their EH2O Recreational Waters Virtual Conference this January. The MAHC Network and related resources were central to NACCHO’s exhibit booth, viewed by online attendees over 60 times.

Looking to the future, NACCHO and CDC hope to continue expanding the network’s membership and optimizing training opportunities and resources to best meet the needs of MAHC users at all levels. The next opportunity to directly engage with current members and learn more about the network will be at the upcoming bi-monthly webinar (click to register) scheduled for March 21 at 1:00-2:00 PM/ET. The presentation will discuss “Understanding & Applying Lifeguard/Bather Supervision and Operational Entries in the MAHC,” featuring industry expert, Joseph A. Stefanyak, Director at Jeff Ellis & Associates, Inc., an international aquatic safety and risk management consulting agency. Additional information can be found on NACCHO’s MAHC Network website. Requests to join the network, or any other inquiries can also be sent any time directly to NACCHO via email.

About Anastasia Sonneman

Anastasia Sonneman serves as a Communications Specialist at NACCHO. Her work includes promoting local health departments' best practices, as well as partner tools and resources, in environmental health, health and disability, and preparedness through NACCHO's communications channels, storytelling, and outreach to various audiences.

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