Today, we are thrilled to be interviewing Susan Downer, Health Inspector of our town of Dover. Susan is a Registered Environmental Health Specialist and licensed by the state.
Susan, could you tell us a little bit of what you do?
I do primary and follow-up inspections of public establishments to ensure compliance with sanitary codes. I work inspecting restaurants, septic systems, child care facilities, and also take care of health complaints, recreational bathing and any other various inspections.
What are the educational requirements needed in order to become a health inspector?
To become a health inspector you need a science based bachelor’s degree . I personally graduated from Rutgers. Then, you have to do a mandatory internship at a health department, prior to sitting for a health exam, pass the exam and get licensed.
What makes you passionate about your job?
I am a people person which motivates me and makes me passionate about my job. I feel like in being a health inspector you have the opportunity to talk and help people. I get to help people with their problems, and consequently make a difference in peoples lives.
How did you become involved with shaping Dover?
The health department was contacted by Michelle Blanchfield from Zufall Health Center I went and sat down with her and that’s how it all started.
In your opinion how healthy is Dover?
It’s like everywhere some people are very health conscious and some people aren’t.
When you visit these restaurants what is your overall impression of their foods? How healthy do you think is the food from Dover restaurants?
I see some healthy choices such as salads or brown rice.
Do you see the people buying these items?
Like I said there is a fraction of people that are very health conscious. The people that I work with certainly order those choices and as far as the restaurants all together I think are a mix.
What were your expectations in getting involved in Shaping Dover?
I think is something that brings the community together a little bit more, people got to know each other, and we get to work with the restaurants for better menu choices or adding a healthier choice to their menu and we will incorporate a physical activity along the way so the goal is to get the restaurants to offer healthy choices to their menus.
Do you think that Shaping Dover brings a positive impact to our community?
I think that Shaping Dover is definitely a positive influence for the community because there’s currently a more open viewpoint to a heathy lifestyle . It’s great for the community to know that there are people out there that are looking out for their best interests.
Do you think that individuals from the community will follow through with our goals after our grant period is over?
Yes I do, I think that the people that Shaping Dover is partnered with are very committed individuals that are definitely going to follow through.
Any extra thoughts about your experience in being a partner for Shaping Dover?
I was involved in offering education to the restaurant/corner stores owners and their employees. I thought that this was a great experience and we had a great turn out. People looked interested and learned about what Shaping Dover is and now know where they can get information not only about nutrition but about the services offered in Dover from the Family Success Center and the Dover Health Department. We are here to help and will always be here to help. We are a permanent fixture in town.
A special thanks to Susan Downer for her time and most importantly for being a key partner for Shaping Dover. As a health inspector she has people’s lives in her hands, plays a key role in protecting the public from many common health threats and we are extremely excited about having her input and expertise in our team.