What's Next for NIOSH When Rosenstock Leaves?

Find out who will take Dr. Linda Rosentock's place as director of NIOSH when she leaves Nov. 1 to become dean of UCLA's School of Public Health.


Dr. Linda Rosenstock, director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) officially begins her new position as dean of the School of Public Health for UCLA on Nov. 1.

So, who will take over as the head of NIOSH? The answer to that question is yet to be determined.

Rosenstock will remain active as director through the end of October, according to a NIOSH spokesperson.

Then, an interim director will be appointed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), NIOSH''s parent agency.

At this time, deliberations are going on to determine who that interim person will be, said Fred Blosser, NIOSH director of media relations.

"We expect that the interim director will be named by the end of this month," said Blosser. "The permanent director position is appointed by the secretary of health and human services and involves a national search for a candidate, which will take some time."

Although an interim director will take over in Novemeber and a permanent director will be named later, Blosser said he anticipates a smooth transition from one to the other.

"I expect that the day-to-day activities of the Institute will not be disturbed by the change," said Blosser.

Rosenstock began her tenure as NIOSH director in April 1994.

Katherine Kirkland, executive director of the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (AOEC) said she has received many comments from board members saying Rosenstock will be missed.

"We are sorry to see Dr. Rosenstock leave NIOSH. She has been a wonderful leader of that agency," said Kirkland. "There have been a number of positive results of her tenure, especially the increased partnerships not just with labor and industry, which is a major accomplishment on its own, but the academic community, non-governmental organizations and other government agencies. It is this spirit for collaboration that has encouraged positive voluntary changes. For a non-regulatory agency, this is vital."

Bonnie Rogers, associate professor and director of the Occupational Health Nursing Program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, echoed Kirkland''s sentiments about Rosenstock.

"I am happy Linda will be heading up a position that she desires, but I am saddened that she is leaving NIOSH," said Rogers. "She has managed to not only move the occupational and safety community in a progressive direction in illness and injury prevention through spearheading the development of the National Research Agenda, but has done this by creating alliances within the field, bringing together many disciplines who can actually collaborate on problems."

Rosenstock will replace Dr. Abdelmonem Afifi, who served as dean of the UCLA School of Public Health until June 30 after 15 years, the longest term in the school''s history.

Rosenstock, 49, said she expects to have many of the same responsibilities she has as NIOSH director, such as working as a chief executive officer responsible for funding and resource needs and speaking out on public health issues.

"I am thrilled at the chance to work at an outstanding school on a premier campus," said Rosenstock. "I''ve had an exciting and productive six-and-a-half years in Washington, D.C. However, when I left my lifelong professional association with universities, I always thought I''d return, and I am very excited to be doing it."

Officials at Rosenstock''s new home at UCLA are pleased to have her as part of their staff as well.

"Dr. Rosenstock''s distinguished leadership of NIOSH and her career in teaching and research provide the School of Public Health with a dean whose expertise and vision will enable the school to continue playing a vital role in our community and our nation," said UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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