Spotlight on Our Team: Malia Nogle, MPH

November 14, 2019

In each issue of the Epigram, we are pleased to introduce you to a member of the Disease Prevention and Response team at SRHD. In this issue we feature Epidemiologist, Malia Nogle, MPH. Malia works in the Communicable Disease Epidemiology program where she focuses on notifiable condition investigation, influenza surveillance, special pathogen emergency preparedness and response, community education, and more recently, serves as the Epidemiology staff lead working with Spokane County Jail and Geiger Corrections to provide hepatitis A vaccine. Malia has been with SRHD since 2014 and previously worked in the Food Safety program.

Tell us about your background.

I grew up in the Olympia, Wash., area and went to Eastern Washington University for undergraduate work and recently graduated from Purdue University Global with my Master of Public Health degree. When I began grad school, I worked as an administrative assistant at the Washington State Patrol where I assisted in investigations, which gave me a good foundation with regard to the investigations process — I still use some of these skills when conducting communicable disease investigations!

Describe your work at SRHD.

My work is focused on a few different areas. I help with enteric disease and foodborne outbreaks. I conduct influenza surveillance on Spokane County and help report on case counts and track the different types of influenza viruses in our community. I help long-term care facilities when they are experiencing an influenza or gastrointestinal outbreak and advise them on infection control recommendations. I am also the lead for special pathogens and spend a fair amount of time working with community partners conducting trainings and exercises to prepare for a special pathogen case in our community.

What interests you most about communicable diseases?

I’ve always had an interest in epidemiology and highly infectious diseases, stemming from when my dad (a disease-nerd like me) gave me copy of The Hot Zone by Richard Preston to read at age 11. I was always fascinated by investigating emerging diseases, from the moment they appear within a population to watching the potential spread of these diseases and learning how to prepare and plan for their emergence. Most of all, I enjoy learning about the different interventions to stop a disease outbreak in its tracks.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I love the potpourri of different things I work on as an epidemiologist. One minute I could be investigating an E. coli case, the next I could be ruling out a suspect measles case. The work is never dull, and I am constantly busy. Because diseases and their priorities for response change, I am also constantly learning about different diseases and different ways to respond to mitigate them. Most importantly, I love the people I work with. We each come from diverse employment backgrounds, so I am always learning something new or a different approach to a situation from my coworkers.

What can we find you doing when you’re not at work?

I have a young daughter, Charlotte (17 months); two rambunctious dogs, Ranger (yellow lab) and Piper (border collie-mix); one beta fish, Freddie Mercury; and one husband, Chris, who all keep me very busy these days! I also enjoy running, reading, swimming, and traveling.