Iowa’s State Hygienic Laboratory Named Nation’s Healthiest Lab by APHL

(July 17, 2015) - The State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa has been awarded the "Nation's Healthiest Lab Award" by the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL). The award celebrates excellence in environmental stewardship and health promotion in both practice and policy, and recognizes the laboratory that demonstrates outstanding efforts to reduce its collective environmental impact and ensure a healthy workplace.

The mission of the State Hygienic Laboratory is to protect and improve quality of life by providing reliable environmental and public health information through the collective knowledge and capabilities of our organization. The state's public health and environmental laboratory since 1904, the Hygienic Laboratory serves all of Iowa's 99 counties through disease detection, environmental monitoring, and newborn and maternal screening.

"The new State Hygienic Laboratory achieved one of the highest ratings, LEED Gold, from the United States Green Building Council for its overall energy performance, use of natural light, and the quality of the interior spaces. It reflects the labs environmental stewardship for the State of Iowa." Said Warren Hendrickson, HDR's Public Health Director.

HDR provided lab planning and engineering for the State Hygienic Laboratory's main facility in Coralville, Iowa. This flagship public health facility supports environmental quality and public health on an international level by providing services for assessment, surveillance, research and development, and technology transfer, as well as leadership and education on a local level. The University Hygienic Laboratory (UHL) includes BSL-3 laboratories for microbiology for biological and chemical terrorism. HDR also led a joint venture team to design the Ankeny, Iowa, testing facility at the Des Moines Area Community College campus.

The State Hygienic Laboratory was a runner-up for APHL's Healthiest Lab in 2012; this is its first win. Laboratories are only eligible to receive the Healthiest Laboratory Award once every three years.

The Healthiest Lab Award recognizes APHL member laboratories demonstrating outstanding efforts to reduce their collective environmental impact and to promote health & wellness programs. Winners are chosen based solely on the scores received on the APHL Healthiest Laboratory Self-Assessment Checklist. The award is sponsored by HDR, an APHL Diamond Level Sustaining Member.  

This is the second year in a row an HDR project has won the Healthiest Lab Award; last year's winner, the New York State Food Safety and Metrology Laboratory, was also designed by HDR.