NIOSH logo and tagline

NIOSH Presents 2018 Awards for Significant Scientific Contributions

April 26, 2018
NIOSH Update:

Contact: Nura Sadeghpour (202) 245-0673

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has awarded several NIOSH researchers and partners for their significant contributions to the field of occupational safety and health in 2017.

NIOSH presents the annual awards to honor researchers for excellence in science that informs and supports the prevention of work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. The awards include the following:

  • Alice Hamilton Award, for scientific excellence of technical and instructional materials by NIOSH scientists and engineers
  • Bullard-Sherwood Research-to-Practice Award, for exceptional efforts by NIOSH researchers and partners in applying occupational safety and health research to the prevention of workplace fatalities, illnesses, or injuries
  • Director’s Intramural Award for Extraordinary Science for outstanding contributions by intramural scientists and support staff to science excellence at NIOSH.
  • Plain Language Award, for NIOSH fact sheets, brochures, or web pages that exemplify the content and design principles of the Plain Writing Act of 2010
  • James P. Keogh Award, for outstanding service by an individual in the occupational safety and health field

“The annual NIOSH Science Awards provides an opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding contributions NIOSH staff and partners have made to the field of occupational safety and health,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “The award ceremony is placed purposefully before Workers Memorial Day as both share a mission to remember and honor the safety and health of workers in all that we do.”

Alice Hamilton Awards

Named after Dr. Alice Hamilton, a pioneering researcher and occupational physician, NIOSH presents the Alice Hamilton Award for exceptional contributions in the areas of biological sciences, engineering and physical sciences, human studies, and educational materials. The submissions go through a rigorous review by panels of scientific experts, including peers from both outside and inside NIOSH.

The work of this year’s award recipients reflects the key to occupational safety and health—prevention. NIOSH research contributed to new crash test methods and improvements to ambulance design, in order to reduce the risk of injuries to the patients and workers from loose equipment and supplies due to high speed and movement. The effects of disinfecting ambulances using ultraviolet germicidal irradiation instead of traditional wipe-downs has also been explored by researchers, determining the efficacy of this method in reducing the infectious microorganisms shed by patients during transport.

Additionally, researchers contributed to the understanding of the commonly known theory coined as the Heinrich Safety Triangle and its implications for occupational safety and health policy and management. Researchers investigated the contamination of firefighters’ turnout gear and skin following controlled residential fire responses and their exposures to combustion byproducts. And the science would not be complete without looking at the potential toxicity of materials that are smaller than what the human eye can see. Scientists sought to better understand the lifecycle of carbon nanotubes and the potential health effects on the lungs of workers, beyond their pure native form.

James P. Keogh Award

The James P. Keogh Award for Outstanding Service in Occupational Safety and Health recognizes a current or former NIOSH employee 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.”

For 2018, NIOSH honors Peter Kovalchik, currently the Branch Chief of the Electrical & Mechanical Systems Safety Branch in Pittsburgh, for his 40 years of service to mining science. His strategic direction to the mining program at NIOSH, as well as his focus on diversity, transparency, workforce development and collaborative partnership within the mining industry has been instrumental to ensuring relevant and timely research. His experience in mining research has driven work in hearing loss prevention for miners, looking at noise controls for mining equipment, and he has engaged in a similar focus around disaster preparedness, prevention, and response. One of Mr. Kovalchik’s key accomplishments has been promoting workforce development through formal training, mentoring, and job shadowing, where employees have enhanced their skills and improved their career opportunities. The impact of these efforts are evident in the development of researchers into formal leadership positions, adding to the value, depth and expertise of the mining program.

Bullard-Sherwood Research-to-Practice Award

The Bullard-Sherwood Research-to-Practice Award, named for the inventor of the hard hat, Edward W. Bullard, and the inventor of the personal industrial hygiene sampling pump, R. Jeremy Sherwood, recognizes recipients for outstanding contributions in three categories: Knowledge, Interventions, and Technology.

This year’s awards honor outstanding projects to protect miners and individuals who work in extreme heat or hot environments. In the Knowledge category, NIOSH researchers were honored for their efforts to design proximity detection systems to help prevent miners from becoming struck or pinned by underground mobile mining equipment. In the Interventions category, research that led to safer refuge chambers to provide miners with a place to take shelter in the event of a mine disaster took top honors. A redesigned mobile app that provides life-saving information to protect workers from heat stress, the OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool, received the award in the Technology category.

Plain Language Award

NIOSH added a new award category for 2018—the NIOSH Plain Language Awards recognizing products that demonstrate excellence in using clear communication that the public can use and understand. Awards are given in two categories: Original, which honors a product that was created using plain language principles, and Before-and-After, which honors a product that was redesigned using plain language principles. The Original award was given to the Heat Stress: Hydration fact sheet, and the redesigned World Trade Center Health Program website received the Before-and-After award.

Director’s Intramural Award for Extraordinary Science

The Director’s Intramural Award for Extraordinary Science recognizes outstanding collective contributions to science excellence at NIOSH by individual intramural scientists and support staff. Dr. Anna Shvedova, an internationally recognized leader in nanotoxicology, received the Distinguished Career Scientist award for her pioneering work in the field, which has been instrumental in paving the way toward a better understanding of the occupational safety and health implications and applications of nanotechnology. Dr. Matthew Wheeler received the Early Career Scientist award for his innovations in a broad array of statistical modeling techniques for use in quantitative risk assessment. His work has improved NIOSH risk assessments and the NIOSH authoritative recommendations that they support. Mr. Glenn Doyle, a distinguished and key member of the NIOSH web and new media program who oversees website operations, received the Scientific Support award for his innovative work and commitment to excellence that has been vital to NIOSH’s mission to deliver high quality research to those who can affect worker safety and health.

For more information about the NIOSH Science Awards, including winners and nominees for all categories, or for more information about NIOSH research activities, visit the NIOSH website

NIOSH is the federal institute that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. For more information about NIOSH visit The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).