Join the conversation between Tyra Parrish, MPH, and Aldo Munoz, MPH, and gain fresh perspectives on the field of Industrial Hygiene in regards to how we as future leaders can protect workers and create accessible information channels for workers. In this episode, Aldo and Tyra talked about how Aldo entered the field and how the field of Industrial Hygiene is decades back in regards to race, ethnicity and gender and that there is lots of room for improvement.
Reimagining OEHS with Aldo Muñoz, MPH (Part 1)
Reimagining OEHS with Aldo Muñoz, MPH (Part 2)
Transcript for Do the Change Podcast with Aldo Muñoz, MPH:
Part 1: Do the Change Podcast with Aldo Muñoz, MPH
Tyra: Hi, everyone, welcome to the Do the Change podcast. It's challenging and reimagining OEHS, and this podcast really focuses on highlighting upcoming leaders in the field and how they got to where they are today with a special focus on occupational health and environmental sciences. So we're going to talk about all the hills and valleys of their journey and hopefully get some insight onto some nontraditional paths into the field.My name is Tyra Parrish. I'm a recent graduate from the MPH program here at Berkeley, and our guest for this episode is Aldo Munoz. And so Aldo is also a recent MPH grad from the University of California, Berkeley. Congratulations! and originally from Chula Vista. Aldo currently works as an Industrial Hygiene Consultant in the Bay Area and also volunteers for the try to say this Maquiladora
Tyra: Really? Oh cool. Health and Safety support network also known as MHSSN and so one. Welcome Aldo so glad you're here so that you can speak to us.
Aldo: Thank you. Happy to be here.
Tyra: Yes. Okay, so first before we get to the questions, we're going to start with a check-in question. So the check in question for today is what never fails to make you happy?
Aldo: That question is very easy. It's food 100%. Even if it's bad food. Yeah. Makes me happy because then I think about how can make it better. But that's fair. All that can happen. Whether I'm making it. Whether someone's feeding me.
Aldo: Easily food.
Tyra: Oh, I love that. That's a really good one. um. I think for me it is uh man food is tough. I guess I would say like my dogs,
Tyra: My dog is like happy go lucky. Like she's not a golden retriever. But she has golden retriever vibes so she’s always doing dumb stuff. her being happy to see me makes me happy. That makes sense.
Aldo: Yeah. No forreal. And it's not only about those things, but it's what comes with it. So, like, I'm thinking food. It's usually on you’re on a table, or you would have all.
Aldo: it's, it's all of that around that one thing. So that
Aldo: really so much.
Tyra: Yeah. And that's cool because food is like very community like centered like food is where you share food. You learn new recipes. This food has a lot of positive. So that's a really good. Uh Yeah. Okay. So now we're gonna I hate going away from that question because now I love .
Aldo: this is a cooking podcast or like a food podcast.
Tyra: Yeah. Yeah, very
Aldo: bay area favorites
Tyra: for cooking. Oh, okay. So the first question is, as I stated earlier, that this podcast really like explores nontraditional paths and your particular path is very nontraditional because you actually have a B.S. in health communication and a minor computer science. SDSU, San Diego State University. For those who don't know. Go Warriors! So I'm curious, how you got interested in the field of occupational health and environmental health sciences, considering that that's like your initial background stuff so if you could like walk us through that.
Aldo: Yeah, it's a long path. uh winding, winding road to where I am now in especially specifically in industrial hygiene. What I've learned over the last two years is that no one has a direct path. Hardly anyone knows what industrial hygiene is. They always first learn about is like, Oh, what is that? Sounds interesting. Sounds a little weird.
Aldo: So I started at SDSU, not in health communication specific. I actually started in just normal communication. I thought it was like
Tyra: Oh okay!
Aldo: broadcast journalism, something like that. And that wasn't right for me. So then I kind of pivoted to health communication, which I would say is more of a communication focused centered public health.
Aldo: So think of health campaigns getting people to improve their health behaviors. So classic one is, let's say the anti-smoking campaigns or getting off tobacco smoke. So I started there even getting out and getting out of getting all my bachelor's. I thought, where am I going to go from here? I began in a nonprofit organization for for juveniles, for kids that were had behavioral issues or maybe trouble with the law. And I saw myself a lot in these kids because they were from the same places where I was from in San Diego, kind of getting a little bit of the same trouble I was getting into when I was a kid. But they were good kids um and I started with that work and just also didn't necessarily think that it was the right place for me, but I wanted a little bit more uh and moving on from that from that step in that nonprofit organization, um I knew I wanted to get into research. So then I secured a fellowship with Stanford that was on income inequality in the United States. So they, I was sent out with my wonderful work partner from Harlem. We, the two of us, went to Texas. We went to Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston. We went to Florida, Puerto Rico to to really get a good sense of what is it like to be an American from the bottom of the ladder to the very top. And we had very intimate conversations inside people's homes for hours.
And that's the first time I think I had that push into occupational health and safety were just people's lives at work because one of those topics that really came up so often were was work was really getting to realize that people spend half their day eight, ten, 12, sometimes more of their hours of the day at work, not even at home. So just getting to realize that that's such an important part of people's lives. And I knew that growing up, parents from Mexico, they're always at work. My community always at work, but I didn't necessarily internalize it. So it wasn't that I saw it somewhere else and not necessarily blinded by what I grew up with, that I that I really started to understand. And fast forwarding a little bit from back home, COVID happened, they sent they shipped us out of Puerto Rico because of because of COVID.
Tyra: Oh okay.
Aldo: So we were doing our work from home, from them still calling folks. And when that concluded, I started a position with the County of San Diego as a COVID 19 case investigator.
Tyra: Oh cool,
Aldo: just calling people up
Aldo: that were COVID 19 positive, giving them one, making sure they knew that they were positive. So providing health information. But I thought my most important job was just being a resource, being a person that for them, we didn't
Aldo: necessarily know what was going on. I had all the information they provided for me that I can again using my health communication, but
Aldo: as an undergrad, providing that information in an easy consumable way, friendly manner with these people and something again that push to occupational health, realizing that so many of these exposures were occurring in people at work.
Aldo: Getting to realize the stories that were most most impactful to me, to me was was a gentleman, that old man, he was an old Mexican men. He spoke like this in Spanish, like very deep voice. He was a little grumpy to talk to was like, you know,
Tyra: Yeah Yeah,
Aldo: he got infected with COVID 19 while cleaning hospital rooms. That was his job.
Aldo: And and it turned out, unfortunately, that when I checked back in a couple of weeks later that he did pass. So learning, getting to see and hear stories like that, hearing stories of people not being accepted back into work of after after contracting COVID 19 and again, just realizing that work is such an important part of people's lives.
Aldo: And it wasn't until then that I knew I wanted to to get a master’s degree in public health and really focus my career in that. I just knew that was that was the path. Again, I didn't even know what industrial hygiene was then.
Aldo: until I started looking through Berkley's Berkley's website, looking at the public health page and looking at the two little two lines in the middle of a page
Aldo: in environmental health sciences website that mentioned industrial hygiene and looking into it looked like that perfect middle ground between the more the soft sciences, the health communication side, and
Aldo: more those hard sciences. I don't like saying soft and hard because they're all hard. I would say the soft is harder.
Tyra: Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Aldo: But it was that traditional thing
Aldo: and that perfect middle ground between the two of both sciences that I thought was a great way to make an impact for my community.
Aldo: and that's a kind of a winding road of different places, but always knowing like getting that feel of which way I'm being pushed to, what's really sparking my interest and my passion.
Aldo: but, but I'm really happy I got here once. When I graduated, I was like, you know, this is this is the right thing.
Tyra: Yeah. And I feel like like as you were talking, I was like, yeah, it's a winding road. But also there was a very clear, like, pattern in everything that you were talking about, particularly when you're saying that you really just wanted to like, connect with the community and really understand and really make sure that they also are like understanding health and like all their resources, like through a language that is accessible, that was like the common language. So it was really cool just listening to your like, yeah, I was winding, but there like it's almost like that silver lining of like there is like there is something common, even though from the outside looking in it looks like, oh, he was over here, here, here. It's like, no, you know the path was windy but it was going somewhere. Yeah, it was going somewhere. And now like you're, you know, you just graduated from Berkeley. You're awesome. Obviously, I know your thesis, but your thesis was dope too.
Aldo: Thank you
Tyra: But yeah, and so kind of staying on that thread about how, health communication, like you said, is like more the I guess the more community community communicative side of
Tyra: That word is tough and how it's it's not the most like we talked about like traditional like STEM major was did you face any challenges of like even applying to different jobs or like applying to Berkeley in regards to trying to like try to make that shift or trying that like this seems like something I want to do, but how do I connect the two?
Aldo: So I would say that I've always been I've always really liked math and science is so like just you mentioned before that I minored in computer science. I only did that because I needed more science in my life. When I was in undergrad, I was like, I think more so I, I always wanted wanted that in undergrad and even taken some math classes, a little bit of calculus here and there just because I felt like oh i might need this in the future. I,uh, one. One challenge applying to Berkeley was highlighting that because absolutely when I was looking into the requirements of man do I, do I have that chemistry background, do I have physics background? Because industrial hygiene historically is a very engineer oriented field
Aldo: and that has been changing more recently. But I thought that was my strength because there's so many more people that are let's say they have a background in environmental engineering or some other hard sciences
Aldo: that my experience is something that the field is lacking. It's that connection, it's that it's that being able to have might be a theme of this of this podcast, but you're
Aldo: really making that connection with people. What's the point of data of these numbers, of this information? If you can’t put it in a nice package and deliver it with some meaning to the community of people you're trying to impact. And not only that, but in a way that they can make their own and make that sustainable. So that's definitely one challenge. But I talked with folks, they made it clear that it was okay.
Aldo: all right to still try. And I did try and I made sure just to focus on the things that made me different and unique and really tell that story. And I think that's really helped me succeed, especially in the beginning. Don't get me wrong, there's still those classes in the first year, bio stats and so on.
Aldo: I haven't taken statistics again since maybe junior senior year of undergrad and even then it wasn't too hard core. So being thrown in there with some
Aldo: other and other classes was challenging, even though I do like do do like those challenges. But it was just a matter of leaning in there with other students, getting their help, getting their support. Also very helpful that the people and faculty at Berkeley are so helpful.
Aldo: and there are so many other resources that are available, so definitely challenging but possible to get through and just have that community have those resources available to help you succeed.
Tyra: Yeah, I'm I'm really glad you pointed it out like that. Being different is actually what makes you stand out, cause I think sometimes people think that, oh well, a lot of people are going into this field. I therefore have to like, be that major. And I will say like, I'll out myself. I definitely was that person where I wanted to be a vet. I don't anymore, but I wanted to be a vet, so I was like Bio is the way. And then like I met this girl who wants to be a vet and she majored in Spanish and minored and she only minor in biology to hit the bare minimum so that she her application would go through. But she had mentioned something similar. And it's really just dope to hear that that theme is common in other fields as well, particularly STEM, because like you said, the soft skills are actually harder than those math skills where, you know, you can be the smartest person in the world, but if you can't communicate it to where you can walk up to a stranger and they get it, then what's the point?
Tyra: What’s the point of having those hard skills. If you can't even communicate how to even get to that point. So yeah, that's just I'm I'm just really glad you said that because that's definitely something that's like a misconception, I would say. And speaking of misconceptions, are there any other misconceptions or myths about careers in occupational health or environmental health that you think are just important to mention? And especially for folks who are thinking about getting in the field or thinking of applying to, you know, jobs field?
Aldo: I think that number one thing would be what I mentioned before about
Aldo: just thinking that you need to come from that type of background
Aldo: of, let's say, environmental engineering or other types of engineering
Aldo: or biology or chemistry, for one, because of course industrial hygiene, you're you're dealing with different types of chemical exposures.
Aldo: So absolutely very helpful to come in with that chemistry background.
Aldo: Me? Did I take chemistry in undergrad?. I don’t remember. It might be on my transcript. I did take it in high school, remember?
Aldo: So, yeah. But other than that, like it's, it's a matter of just being able to take on that challenge, being able to and willing to learn, I'd say an industrial hygiene, occupational health and safety and especially from my, from my internship experience, it's realizing that we're, we're a funnel of information as occupational health professionals. So we're bringing in information from academia, from science, we're bringing information from the people working on the field, and we're putting all that together into one nice package.
Aldo: So you need to be a jack of all trades whilst of course still being based in science, but really bringing all that information. That's again consumable, easy to understand for all parties, for the workers, for management, for everyone.
Aldo: And so yeah, I'd say the number one misconception is thinking you need a constantly background.
Aldo: not true.
Tyra: That's I mean that's I mean I think that that's a lot of people need to hear that where it's like you can come forever. You want to come from as long as you like. Obviously you got to have the basics, whatever stuff, so you know. Yeah, but that's not like a limiting factor wherever you choose to come from. Yeah. So I guess another question that I have is are there any mentorship programs or professional organizations that you would recommend for folks to either become a member of or just maybe look into to get a better sense of what IH is.
Aldo:I'd say, first of all, I mean, I was thrown in to COEH coming in
Aldo: So I got to represent COEH. Absolutely.
Aldo: And I feel like Berkeley and IH in general is pretty small world.
Aldo: especially I'd say the number one organization to get into is AIHA. the uh am I getting tested on acronyms uhh
Tyra: I don't know I can’t help you
Aldo: the American Industrial Hygiene Association I think
Tyra: there you go.
Aldo: But that's super helpful. Even joining in as a student, members are fairly cheap and they do provide lots of resources. And being a part of a local section here in northern California with other industrial hygienists from maybe they just graduated last year to our veteran OGs in the in the game.
Aldo: Like when Garrett Brown been in in here in Northern California for a long time, learning from folks like him and just being able to be immersed in the industrial hygiene world.
Aldo: was very helpful. Helped me secure a job. It helped me to attend the Industrial Hygiene Association conference last year. They just missed it. Just last week I wasn't able to attend, but even going to the conference was super helpful. That's when I really got to know, All right, what does this world actually look like? What's what are its successes and what are its faults? Because I saw a lot of faults in terms of in terms of the culture, but it was very valuable to join these types of organizations. Just think, just to take all that in and really learn about industrial hygiene.
Aldo: But that's one LOHP, Labor Occupational Health Program at Berkeley,
Aldo: very well down in UCLA. They have their own I forgot what it's called, but there are different organizations around here in the Bay Area that I think were key to me develop as a industrial hygienist.
Aldo: So definitely those two.
Tyra: Gotcha. And I actually want to get back to a point to do something about some of the shortcomings of the field. Like if you want to touch on that, I think it can also help people find their niches. Or maybe that's something I'm like, You know what? That's something I was interested in. And now I know there's that whole where I could kind of be a part of that change now, you know, mine just like touching on like, what did you see at that conference just in general where you're like, okay, this field is cool, but also they're kind of falling short in these areas.
Aldo: I think this segment of the podcast is called tea time. So Tea time.
Tyra: Oh shoot. You know what, the next segment,
Aldo: that little jingle.
Tyra: Yes, I get out my tea cup and I’m like what's going on?
Aldo: So getting to the conference, it did seem like they were stuck. Stuck or just there a few decades back in terms of some issues.
Aldo: And I remember one little breakout room where some consulting company presented, I think it was not exactly, but I'm paraphrasing maybe the new horizon of occupational health and safety or just just what's new.
Aldo: And they put out they put a slide that had so many topics about occupational health and safety and the most in-depth they got like in terms of like the new world is women. They were barely to women. There was nothing about race or ethnicity or anything in terms of impacting how your health is affected at work.
Aldo: So just seeing that just kind of rang that bell to me about the
Aldo: the organization or just the field in general. So I think there's plenty of room to expand that space.
Aldo: especially now in in industrial hygiene, occupational health and safety would be let's say.
Aldo: Just bringing that into into the work, maybe whether it's in academia, doing some research on some studies on maybe our race or ethnic background impacts health at work,
Aldo: maybe implementing that at some company or some consulting firm or something like that.
Aldo: But there's definitely space for that. I thought that was the number one thing that that came to my attention while I was at the conference. But I think Berkeley did a good job of of bringing that into perspective a lot during classes.
Aldo: But I think that's also something that makes the program here at Berkeley special versus other places.
Aldo: or maybe other universities, I'm not sure because I wasn't in the classes.
Aldo: So Im speculating but I feel like that's something that that makes it special here.
Aldo: just really get back. Let's put this in perspective. What's the background? What's the context going on here? It's not just happening for no reason,
Tyra: Right. And like. Like that, I totally agree with you on the kind of the field is a little behind. I was hoping you would say that.
Tyra: And the reason why I say that is because you notice like that in regards to the diversity of the field, a lot of like black and brown and like people of color make up the workforce for like the front line construction workforce, but they're not represented in the leadership. And you kind of see what happens when you have that dynamic. And then also how a workplace is I maybe I'm going a little too far stretching, but I feel like the workplace is better when those right leadership represent you
Tyra: because different groups have different needs and different concerns that are unique to their own, like ethnic backgrounds. So like for instance, those who are undocumented may be less likely to speak up if there's something wrong simply because that their status puts them in a certain situation or make them more vulnerable compared to other groups. And it's like unless you're a member of that group or unless you're kind of tuned in to like how that community has a very unique vulnerability, you wouldn't even know to, like maybe create a safe space where it's like you can unanimously like write stuff or you could talk to this person and your status will be protected or stuff of that nature. So I'm really glad you said that because that's something where you don't, unless you're in it and you see it, you go, Whoa, this is crazy. Yeah, y’all need to catch up an event.
Aldo: But then again, it might have just been as one consulting firm. Yeah, totally. Absolutely possible.
Tyra:But yeah, a little behind that
Aldo: great opportunity of people from different backgrounds coming into this people and different backgrounds from race, ethnicity to where you're from in terms of, of a type of community to specialization or whatever, whatever it is in academia, whether it is your engineering or Spanish, like your friend.
Aldo: anything. I think it's, it's very possible to thrive in occupational health and safety and bring these perspectives into it. And there's lots of opportunity for that
Tyra: Hi guys this is Tyra Parrish your host for this episode and we have reached the end of Part 1 of this conversation with this amazing speaker! Don’t click out yet because Part 2 to this conversation has already been posted so go ahead and click over to the next part and don’t forget to subscribe to Youtube channel and spotify page!
—---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------END OF PART 1—-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Part 2: Do the Change Podcast with Aldo Muñoz, MPH
Tyra: Hey yall, welcome back to Part 2 of our conversation with our amazing speaker on the Do the Change podcast , we’re gonna hop right back into the conversation. Don’t forget to subscribe to our Youtube, Spotify page, and follow us on instagram @dothechangepodcast.
Tyra: Right. Well, I'm going to do a hard topic shifts so I know this because we talked about it before you went, but you did the trip to Thailand. So please tell us why and how you got that awesome opportunity. It's really cool and it really demonstrates the power of networking or just knowing people and just being a dope person. And then also like what did there and how was that experience like at that conference? It was a conference in Thailand or something.
Aldo: Yeah, it was a conference. So the way I got to join that opportunity I mentioned him earlier, Garrett Brown. He is part of the Maquiladora Health and Safety Support Network that was created in the early nineties in response to NAFTA. The maquiladoras, which are just factories that were created in northern Mexico along the border. So I'm from San Diego and my mom was from Tijuana she worked in maquiladoras . My family still works in them. And then so I knew it's a good opportunity.
Aldo: and especially now since I'm starting work with the consulting firm to really get my chops in industrial hygiene and really get that that boots on a ground real experience.
Aldo: I wanted to do something that would bring me back, like, you know, as a base. Yeah, you can impact. And I thought that opportunity with Garrett Brown. He was an instructor for a global occupational health class at Berkeley.
Aldo: So I was introduced to him. And then again with that AIHA local section, just being able to check in with them every few months. So a few months ago I emailed him and I go, Gary, I want to get involved more once I graduate. How can I do that? We had lunch and the first 10 minutes he mentioned this opportunity and he would have gone himself for these long trips around the world, getting a little too much for him.
Aldo: So he posed the opportunity to me and I wasn't going to say no
Aldo: Absolutely not. And the conference is for an organization called ANROEV which is the Asian network forgetting
Tyra: you picked a hard one
Aldo: after occupational environmental victims.
Tyra: Okay I figure. Okay
Aldo: so it's a network of different occupational health and safety organizations,
Aldo: advocacy groups, activists, also unions from Asia. And they also bring in their victims too that were that experience occupational health and safety illness or yeah, experienced illness at work.
Aldo: Injury and something I learned again, even when I first heard the victim part, I thought, Wow, that's interesting. Especially coming from the United States, you know, so accustomed to hearing survivor versus victim.
Tyra:I literally you read my mind cause my mind went arent they survivors. Wait arent they?. right? So, yeah,
Aldo: So it seems like and it's that cultural competence part
Aldo: where the victim is, I guess more of the honorable thing in that side of the world.
Aldo: So there's there's honor to that. So it's that difference of how we look at the world from here versus there.
Aldo: point is they experience, health and safety, injury and illness at work. And that's what Tyra:yeah,
Aldo: I don't care what they call themselves survivor, victim,
Aldo: whatever you experienced something at work and it was really interesting to immerse myself in that world one get myself out of a bubble of not more not only what I learned in school and what I am what I'm doing here in Northern California, but get out of the bubble of the United States and go other side of the world. And
Aldo: that's like in the kind of work that they're doing and how they're advocating for their occupational health and safety rights at work.
Aldo: So that was the most interesting thing. I was there just open ears, open eyes,
Aldo: as much as I could. Checking in with Garrett here and there.
Aldo: you put things into perspective, but it was a really great experience. The first two days were just normal, what you would think of in a normal conference, people speaking, making presentations. The most valuable thing was on the third day we took a field trip about 2 hours north of Thailand. I'm sorry, I'm north of Bangkok. I forgot what the name of the town was, but we spoke to some folks from the small town that worked at a factory. So just being able to be there in person in their community, hearing from them through their translator, of course, as well. But just getting that sense of being out of the comfortable AC room in this hotel and being in that hot, humid Thailand.
Aldo:Very important. I always say it's it's important to be there. It's a large part of the job of any experience is being there.
Aldo:You're doing half the work, I believe, but is super valuable, super valuable experience. And yeah, my last day there got to get a Thai massage, man. Me, they broke me and never got a massage in my life.
Tyra: Oh man
Aldo: And I go to 100 real quick, you know,
Tyra: I’m like , that’s crazy
Aldo: did that and just had some trouble walking the town after but
Tyra: oh yeah, I bet
Aldo: don't go to Thailand and get a Thai massage for the first massage of your life.
Tyra:Yeah I know, I don't know it's
Aldo: get something at the mall over here, you know, a nice little one in there.
Tyra:Yeah. Get like the little back machine.
Tyra: Start low. That's crazy. But that sounds like a really cool opportunity. Just like global industrial. Like hygiene is so different from country specific stuff. Yeah, and I really like how they centered, like the folks in a community of like, okay, we, you know, we talk about this stuff, but now we're excited to go see and experience it and also speak to folks
Tyra: and there’s a privilege in that where it's like you have the ability to remove yourself out of it if you're only there for X amount of time. But, you know, that's also really dope learning opportunity like this is like we just talk about all this stuff, but then this is the reality of it. And then you're also understanding all these additional extra things in addition to like the work exposure, it's like, Oh, well, actually, like you said, it's really humid here too. It's like thinking about hydration and stuff like that in addition to whatever work exposure you're having.
Aldo: So it's put me in check also because I'm going in there, I even see the privilege that I have one coming from the Western world of
Aldo: coming from my experience in at Berkeley.
Aldo:And coming with the knowledge and experience I have of even just even though it's limited, it's only a few years now of, of industrial hygiene and the sciences.
Aldo: But just knowing that I have that, how can I not only provide but also make sure I can pass along this information
Aldo: to these folks actually working with people out in here, specifically in Asia.
Aldo: And that's the that's the focus of lot health and safety support work there.
Aldo: Garrett, I love what he says where he doesn't just want to provide health and safety support, knowledge and expertise, technical experience, technical information to these organizations. But he wants to teach them how to fish. So not only just provide fish to them, but have them make it sustainable. So that's where we go back again. When we spoke in the beginning were how can we package this in a way that you know, is sustainable for these communities, for these people, for these workers, for unions, leadership, whatever it may be, where they can keep that going and advocate for themselves with with this knowledge that where we're able to to one understand and two have access to because this access isn't isn't available for everyone.
Aldo: So that's one big important thing that I that I realized also at the conference was that
Tyra: yeah I'm I mean you're on the same wavelength because and you said the fish. I was like, no, it's like, you know, you fish for somebody. I don't know. I don't know word for word it because I'm pretty bad at analogies, but I know what you're talking about, where it's like you do it for someone they never learn, but you teach them how to do it themselves and you feed them, or you teach them for a lifetime and you hope that they kind of return the favor for the next person, which is kind of what you're doing actually in this podcast, because you teach people a lot of that. They're going to be great fishermen everywhere, every ocean. So I also want to take a moment and pause and first congratulate you on securing your post-grad employment. You kind of touched on it, but I think if you have the time or I guess we're kind of winding down.
But if you want to talk a little bit more about how you got that position, what is your position then also just talking about if you had to do any type of like salary negotiations or even just discussing like kind of like the salary ranges just in the field of IH in general, just so people can get some perspective on that, especially because you're like post-grad doing that.
Aldo: Yeah. So my position is an industrial hygiene consultant
Aldo: and is a consultant specialist because you know, there's different levels. Is it consultant? Yeah, it is. I think their bottom level is maybe junior consultant or specialist or something like that.
Aldo:So that gives you an idea coming out with a master's degree in industrial hygiene if that bottom level. Yeah. Go to specialist or something. But the salary most from I did lots of applications.
Tyra: It's whatever you can remember will be helpful about
Aldo: I was applying applying So I kind of put it into three buckets. One is government
Aldo: two is consulting
Aldo: and three is working for industry.
Aldo: So let's say working for Chevron.
Aldo: it seems like government was more so the lower paid positions, especially starting out.
Aldo: some of them would be 60, between 60 and $75,000 starting out of going into consulting and some what's some other types of industry. I'd say the average was about in the eighties,
Aldo: 75 in the eighties and then some of these are industry, some of these companies starting out in the nineties.
Aldo: something for right right at the six digits.
Aldo: So my position when I secured it they offered 80,000.
Aldo: And I did negotiate and my main negotiation was just talking about the average that I would see
Aldo: in that same type of section of jobs that I was looking at
Aldo: and then also the Bay Area is expensive.
Aldo: And I just ran, I just ran the numbers because my big thing is, is that 30% rent to income salary
Aldo: ratio, which is 30% of your of your income, should be going to rent.
Aldo: And I ran the numbers. Yeah, I paid two G's for my for my apartment. Right.
Aldo: Again, this area is expensive.
Aldo: Running the numbers. I was like that. That puts me exactly at 30% of. Let's see if I can make it a little better
Aldo: Get back to them. And they were able to make it 88.
Aldo: Which is wonderful.
Aldo: They put me just under that 30% and then 30%, that's the bare minimum
Aldo: rate is recommended for that ratio. So I'm very happy with it. Definitely in that pocket that I was looking at. But but again, those pockets of types of industry of industrial hygiene.
Aldo: Some, you know, some are a lot higher, but it's a starting point, right? We grow from here, Tyra:yeah,
Aldo: very happy about the situation that I've come to and something that I don't think we even mentioned in this podcast, but I'm sorry if you could hear the construction next door.
Tyra:Oh, no, no, it's all good.
Aldo: Something that's wonderful about this program is that it is funded. Didn't even know about that buying into it, so it was a nice surprise.
Aldo: And tuition is covered. They provide a stipend and I actually wouldn't have been able to attend here and live in this area
Aldo: if there assistance. So there are barely any any industrial hygienists out in this world in the United States.
Tyra: Very true.
Aldo: More jobs than people. So it's a wonderful field to come into, especially for these people that want to help and help expand it.
Aldo: And to talk more more wonders about the industrial hygiene and occupational health and safety. So many opportunities.
Tyra: Oh, literally yeah. And I'm when I knew when you said that the government was the lowest that is like so backwards backwards in medical field. Right. Right. So you get a government job as a any type of medicine thing. You're set for life because they just pay more. But it's just crazy that the reverse is not true, only because, like hospitals are only as good as like, folks like industrial hygienists are making sure people are safe when they're doing their work. So that's that's shocking. But you're right. Like the program at Berkeley is fully funded. They also have their now STEER program in a lot of different The steer program for those who don't know is that the COEH department it's basically, I would say, a matching program where students are interested in the OEHS, particularly those who are from underrepresented communities, who are interested in getting into the field.
They can apply to this summer paid internship. I would say summer practicum because they are actually doing the work, but you get a paired with faculty at Berkeley and you just get just immersed in it and it's really cool because it's paid and that's a really big thing. And some of them are remote. Some of them you do have to be in-person, which can pose challenges. I feel like some like they offer summer housing sometimes, but not quite sure on that. But it's a really cool opportunity. Do you want to..?
Aldo: And then and then also other other things that are fully funded in terms of the the funding comes from NIOSH, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Got that one?
Tyra: Yeah, I like that one you better know and OSHA.
Aldo: So NIOSH is a part of the CDC
Aldo: and funding comes from there other not only is there the industrial hygiene in in this program but there's there's ergonomics ergo there are the occupational nurses occupational health nurses and then you're already a doctor, a physician. There's the occmed path, but there's all these different ways to get into occupational health and safety,
Aldo: Not just industrial hygiene, ergo and all those other opportunities too.
Tyra: Right. I'm really glad you said that because I forgot about the other branches. So I got the right person. So sadly, we're gonna have to come to an end to this amazing conversation. So Aldo I want to thank you for being open and honest and for just really just being very clear and frank about the field and also be just being encouraging also to folks who maybe don't think that their major or what they want to do can fit cause IH isi just so big. And yeah, I'm just really appreciate you being honest about it's not just one path. There's multiple paths. So I want to also end some questions about self care and closing thoughts you want to just share. So the first question is how do you handle burnout or moments where you're overwhelmed in your leadership roles? Or just like as you're as you were maybe balancing being a student or even kind of now, how did you handle that? Or were there any like things you did weekly or daily that kind of helped you push through those tough moments?
Aldo: So in terms of have a handling burnout, I'd say one hanging out with my wife, always helpful,
Aldo: putting things down, hanging out with my dog, got a big Pitbull, so love him. how am I bringing it back, Right? Food!
Tyra: food! Yes. All right.
Aldo: We were just talking right before we started before we hit record. I was talking about.
Aldo: Now that I aint got anything to do that, now that im bored, you know, I'm just gonna start cooking.
Aldo: I need something. Look up some recipe and make it. So that's one big thing. Always kind of tuning out and just making some food. I find that therapeutic.
Aldo: I collect lots of records, so I like to deejay. So with music where I play something here and there and just hanging out with, with friends from, from Berkeley
Tyra: Yeah from being there.
Aldo: I'm coming from San Diego. Didn't necessarily know anyone up here. And just lucky enough, I found such great community within specifically within the industrial hygiene cohort.
Aldo: but also just everyone in the Environmental Health Sciences program you everyone else
Aldo: and just amazing of other faculty members going out and just then having lunch and then Garrett having a beer with another faculty member and just hanging out with other.
Aldo:with other people. So it's that community, everything around that.
Tyra: Yeah. Yeah, that's true. It does. And we always meet up and that's like, oh, let's go to Happy hour.
Aldo: Exactly. Yeah. So that's my, that's my big thing with people and my food and records
Tyra: I mean that's, that's, that sounds like a good time to me. That's a great way to solve burnout. But yeah, thank you so much for being here, for sharing your wisdom. And we'll follow up after to see how the consulting is going, because I feel like that's also a very like new niche area that a lot of people are thinking of doing but don't really. I personally don't have like a strong understanding of consulting.
Aldo: So I mean, me neither. It’s all new to me too. So I'm excited to learn that that's the number one thing that they do provide, is that breadth of experience.
Aldo: So that so important as and I believe as an early industrial hygienist or anyone in occupational health and safety
Aldo: is get out there. there a number one things be there remember I mentioned it before so yeah getting that experience talking to people really getting in there deep. That's that's the most important thing and that's what consulting provides. So it's very important to me. I'm very happy with the decision I made. I originally didn't think think of it when I
Aldo: , I wanted to go into government, but just learning more about what consulting brought to the table.
Aldo: especially it very early on in my career.
Tyra: Yeah. Wow. Well, I guess I guess that sounds like a follow up episode is come because you're the best person to ask. Like, what was that like shift was consulting field. So my mind is thinking, but yeah, I wish you luck. It sounds really dope. Hopefully we can like link up later because I’ll be in the Bay.
Tyra: All righty. Well, thank you so much. And yeah, stay tuned for next episode.
Aldo: Thank you. Had a great time.
About Aldo Muñoz, MPH:
Aldo Munoz is a recent MPH graduate from the University of California, Berkeley. Originally from Chula Vista, Aldo currently works as an industrial hygiene consultant in the Bay Area and volunteers for the Maquiladora Health and Safety Support Network (MHSSN).
Aldo Munoz, MPH, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. Get ready to be inspired as we uncover Aldo's journey from a Health Communications major with a minor in computer science degree to a Masters in Industrial Hygiene, and how his passion and alignment for protecting people in workspaces has led him to the field.
About This Week's Host:
Tyra Parrish, MPH, is a graduate of UC Berkeley's School of Public Health with a concentration in Global Health and Environment and a speciality in Multicultural Health.
Tyra is an advocate for mentorship, lifting others up and helping someone avoid the obstacles that she faced going into the field. Tyra wants to make these conversations as casual and fun as possible and she is excited for you all to listen to her talk with amazing people some of which are close friends, people she met along the way, friends of friends, etc.