The terms "sanitarian" and "registered sanitarian" were changed to "registered environmental health specialist" through legislation carried by Assemblyman Trice Harvey in 1988.15
This was done with the support of the California Environmental Health Association to more correctly reflect the changing nature of the profession from sanitation to encompassing the total field of environmental health. Too often the public had viewed the term sanitarian with sanitation or janitorial worker and the name change was seen as a positive image enhancement. The change in the name to environmental health specialist was consistent with the similar change in the professional organization from California Association of Sanitarians to California Environmental Health Association that had occurred in 1970.
It is interesting to note that Assemblyman Harvey was a registered sanitarian (registration number 2346) and had worked for the Kern County Health Department. He enthusiastically supported the change of name to registered environmental health specialist. Following passage of this legislation, new certificates of registration as environmental health specialists were sent to all former registered sanitarians. The author recalls visiting Assemblyman Harvey’s office at the Capitol on several occasions and observed his registration certificate displayed on the wall for all of his constituents and visitors to see.