John Howard, M.D., director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), is the recipient of the International Safety Equipment Association's (ISEA's) Robert B. Hurley Distinguished Service Award for 2007.
Dr. Howard was honored at ISEA's 2007 Fall Meeting in Arlington, Va. The annual award recognizes individuals who have dedicated their professional lives to worker safety and health. Hurley was a long-time safety product manufacturing executive who died in 2002.
“Under Dr. Howard's leadership, NIOSH refined its research efforts to focus on sectors with similar safety and health issues, and on emerging technologies that present unknown potential hazards to workers,” said ISEA Chairman Bill Lambert of Mine Safety Appliances Co. “He developed a new initiative called research-to-practice, or r2p, to encourage the transfer of research results, technology and information into prevention practices and products that reduce worker health and safety risks.
“He fought successfully to preserve the independence of NIOSH within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and thus its ability to pursue its mission as a unique institution devoted to worker safety and health. And he has been a tireless advocate for improving working conditions, and for technological advances in injury and illness prevention, improving the lives of working men and women across the country.”
Dr. Howard began his career in occupational health in 1979 as an internist at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine pulmonary fellowship program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. His clinical work involved asbestos-exposed shipyard workers, and he published research findings related to workplace exposure and occupational lung disease. Prior to his appointment as NIOSH director in 2002, Dr. Howard served as chief of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health in the California Department of Industrial Relations.
Dr. Howard has a doctorate in medicine from Loyola University, a master's in occupational health from the Harvard School of Public Health, a Juris Doctor from UCLA and a master's in administrative law and economic regulation from the George Washington University.