A pioneer in toxicology, a leader in work-related hearing loss and a champion for immigrant-worker health are among the recipients of NIOSH’s annual awards for research excellence in science.
James P. Keogh Award for Outstanding Service in Occupational Safety and Health
Dr. Albert Munson received the James P. Keogh Award for Outstanding Service in Occupational Safety and Health. The award recognizes a current or former employee of NIOSH whose career “exhibits respect and compassion for individual workers, with tireless leadership, courage, and a fierce determination to put knowledge into practice to enhance their well-being.”
Munson is a pioneer in toxicology, one of the founding fathers of immunotoxicology and the first director of NIOSH's Health Effects Laboratory Division, NIOSH explains. The division has grown into an organization of more than 200 staff members dedicated to interpreting the causes and mechanisms of occupational disease.
Munson contributed to the science that supported a clean and safe environment under the Clean Water Act and Superfund. He developed standard approaches to assessing the adverse effects of chemicals on the immune system, and served on eminent expert panels that produced authoritative scientific reports on immunotoxicology and the effects of dioxin.
Munson also is “a leader in nurturing new generations of young scientists,” NIOSH says. “He set a high standard for NIOSH, in training and encouraging talented students and post-doctoral fellows.”
Bullard-Sherwood Research-to-Practice Award
The Bullard-Sherwood Research-to-Practice Award is named for Edward Bullard, the inventor of the hardhat, and R. Jeremy Sherwood, the inventor of the personal industrial hygiene sampling pump. The award recognizes recipients for outstanding contributions in three categories: knowledge, interventions and technology. This year’s Bullard-Sherwood Research-to-Practice Award went to:
- A project that used 3-D body scans to update specifications for seatbelts, fire-truck cabs and personal protective equipment to better fit today's firefighters.
- Research that examined the potentially explosive environment of underground coalmines and battery safety.
- An innovative ladder app that provides employers and workers with a convenient, real-time tool for positioning ladders safely and preventing serious falls on the job.
Director's Award for Extraordinary Intramural Science
Mark Stephenson, Mike Flynn and John Clark received the Director's Award for Extraordinary Intramural Science, which recognizes outstanding collective contributions to science excellence at NIOSH by individual intramural scientists and support staff.
Stephenson received the award in the category of Distinguished Career Scientist. Stephenson, a senior research audiologist in the Division of Applied Research and Technology, and the coordinator of the NIOSH Hearing Loss Prevention Program, is a recognized leader in work-related hearing loss.
At NIOSH, Stephenson was one of the first practitioners to apply health communication theory to hearing conservation, the agency notes. He spearheaded the development of two NIOSH numbered publications that continue to serve as standard references in hearing conservation.
In recognition of Stephenson's leadership, the American Academy of Audiology has asked him to develop recommendations to update audiometric monitoring procedures for the first time in more than 50 years.
Flynn, a social scientist in NIOSH’s Education and Information Division, received the award in the category of Early Career Scientist.
Flynn is a leader in innovative research that seeks to improve the occupational health of immigrant workers, a growing segment of the U.S. workforce. He serves as the NIOSH assistant coordinator for the Priority Populations and Health Disparities Program; the principle investigator for several major field studies; and a member of the National Advisory Committee for the Ventanillas de Salud health promotion program operating in Mexican consulates across the United States.
Flynn’s research and participation recognizes the role of work as a critical health determinant for Mexican workers and their families in the United States, and incorporates that dimension into effective strategies for preventive care.
Flynn is co-editor of a forthcoming book from the American Psychological Association on research needs and directions for addressing occupational health disparities. He has widely presented at professional meetings and published numerous journal articles and book chapters in this area of research and outreach, and is increasingly recognized as a leader in research translation, NIOSH notes.
John Clark, a biological sciences laboratory technician in the Division of Applied Research and Technology, received the award in the category of Scientific Support.
Most recently, Clark has been involved in assessing the effects of occupational exposures on human reproductive health.
“As a senior technician with 42 years of federal service at NIOSH, Clark executes the critical research tasks of organizing human field studies, and collecting and processing biological specimens once in the field,” NIOSH explains. “He has shown to execute these tasks accurately, professionally, and expeditiously. Clark's talents are in great demand by investigators across NIOSH, and he is widely recognized for his resourcefulness, his initiative and his perseverance.”
Alice Hamilton Award
The Alice Hamilton Award, for scientific excellence of technical and instructional materials by NIOSH scientists and engineers is given for outstanding NIOSH contributions in the areas of biological sciences, engineering and physical sciences, human studies and educational materials.
The awardees for 2014 have contributed the fields of workplace violence prevention; ladder safety; taxicab security; occupational exposures to respirable crystalline silica; and nanotechnology.
“As the workforce becomes increasingly diverse, it is critical that scientific research be conducted by dedicated and passionate researchers, like those we honor today, ready to address the challenges we face in ensuring the safety and health of all people who work,” NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard said.