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NIOSH’s Hamilton, Keogh Awards for 2003 Recognize Scientific Excellence, Service

NIOSH Update:

Contact: Fred Blosser (202) 401-3749
April 23, 2003

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) presented annual awards on April 23, 2003, to recognize the scientific excellence of technical and instructional materials by NIOSH scientists and engineers, and to honor exceptional service by an individual in the occupational safety and health field.

The Alice Hamilton Award for 2003 was presented to four NIOSH publications of superior scientific merit that were produced in 2002. NIOSH presents the award each year, on the basis of rigorous reviews by panels of scientific experts from outside the Institute, for outstanding NIOSH contributions in the areas of biological science, engineering and physical science, human studies, and educational materials. The award is named for Dr. Alice Hamilton, a pioneering researcher and occupational physician.

NIOSH also presented Dr. James A. Merchant with the 2003 James P. Keogh Award for Outstanding Service in Occupational Safety and Health. Dr. Merchant is the first Dean of the University of Iowa College of Public Health and an internationally known expert on occupational and environmental health, rural health, and public health policy. Dr. Merchant chairs NIOSH’s Board of Scientific Counselors and led NIOSH’s program of lung disease research as a past director of NIOSH’s Division of Respiratory Disease Studies.

The Keogh Award each year recognizes a current or former NIOSH employee for outstanding service in protecting safety and health on the job. The award is named for the late Dr. James P. Keogh, a scientist and advocate for occupational safety and health.

The four NIOSH publications that received the 2003 Alice Hamilton Award were these:

  • A study that identifies and explores a key process in lung cells through which exposures to widely used isocyanates may cause occupational asthma, the most frequently diagnosed respiratory disease among patients visiting occupational health clinics.
  • A new mathematical model, based on two simple chemical properties, that can be used to predict whether given chemicals will enter the body through skin contact – an important tool for protecting workers from potentially harmful chemical exposures, given that skin penetration measurements are not available for most chemicals used in the workplace.
  • A study which finds that mental stress increases loading on the spine during heavy lifting, a risk factor for potentially painful and disabling back injuries.
  • A practical, reader-appropriate manual for electrical trades courses to help high school and other students recognize and control risks for electrocution, the third leading cause of work-related deaths among 16- and 17-year olds, before the students enter jobs involving work with electrical circuits.

“Selected by outside judges from numerous contenders, these winning materials demonstrate the sterling quality, versatility, and utility of NIOSH’s science,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “In one way or another, all of these products significantly advance the search for, or use of, interventions to reduce the risk of occupational injuries, illnesses, and deaths.”

NIOSH announced the winners in a ceremony at the Institute’s Morgantown, W.Va., research facility. For additional information on the winning publications, Alice Hamilton Award winners from past years, and other NIOSH research and recommendations, call toll-free 1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674) or visit NIOSH on the web .