Trovato's efforts lead to new policies at EPA, healthier schools

Thursday - 8/21/2014, 6:16pm EDT

Listen to an interview with Sammies finalist Ramona Travato, associate assistant administrator for Research and Development at the Environmental Protection Agency, on Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp.

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Throughout her career at the Environmental Protection Agency, E. Ramona Trovato has been an agent of change when it comes to health policy in terms of the impact of pollutants on children.

Trovato is currently the the associate assistant administrator for research and development. She also acts as the deputy assistant administrator for management.

During the 1990s, she pushed for government research and environmental standards on the effects of pollutants on children. This led to changes in EPA polices and procedures for assessing the risk of exposure for both children and adults. Through voluntary programs, the agency now works with schools to help make facilities a healthier place for children

"She has changed how the agency thinks about its responsibility to protect public health," said Carol Browner, former EPA administrator. "Specifically, the agency should focus on protecting the most vulnerable groups of people."

Under Trovato's leadership, EPA established a health program focusing on environmental causes of childhood afflictions, like cancer, asthma and developmental disabilities.

For Trovato's efforts in transforming national environmental health policy, Partnership for Public Service, which recently named Borg as one of the finalists for the 2014 Career Achievement Medal. The award recognizes a federal employee who has made significant contributions over a lifetime in public service.

Getting to know Ramona Trovato

Federal News Radio asked each of the Sammies finalists five questions about themselves. Here are Trovato's responses:

What words best describe your leadership philosophy?
Service, passion, integrity, partnership.

What's the best piece of advice (or words of wisdom) you've ever received and who gave it to you?
When I started my first job as a lab technician at EPA, I was concerned about being paid too much for washing lab glassware. My father's advice to me at the time was "Be the best damn glassware washer you can be!" This has stuck with me ever since and applies to everything I've done.

Who is your greatest role model and why?
My parents — my father taught me integrity, honesty, working hard and excellence in what you do. My mother taught me responsibility, kindness and thoughtfulness. Together, they both taught me to look out for others.

What's the last thing you read and what's next on your reading list?
Currently reading "The Power of Habit — Why do we do what we do in life and business" by Charles Duhigg. Next on my reading list "Grace (eventually) — Thoughts on Faith" by Anne Lamott.

What would be the title of your autobiography and why?
"Jump in, Heart first" — How I approach my life, whether personal and professional, is with passion and heart. I also do not believe in taking it slow!

The Career Achievement Medal is just one of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (Sammies) presented annually by the Partnership for Public Service. View a photo gallery of all the Sammies nominees.