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NIOSH Presents 2014 Awards for Significant Scientific Contributions


May 1, 2014
NIOSH Update:

Contact: Christina Spring (202) 245-0633

Today, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) awarded several NIOSH researchers and their partners for their significant contributions made to the fields of occupational safety and health over the past year.

The annual awards are an opportunity for NIOSH to honor researchers for excellence in science. The awards presented include the Alice Hamilton Award, for scientific excellence of technical and instructional materials by NIOSH scientists and engineers; the James P. Keogh Award, for outstanding service by an individual in the occupational safety and health field; and the 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. In addition, the Director’s Award for Extraordinary Intramural Science is also presented.

“Much as our Nation commemorated Workers’ Memorial Day earlier this week, today NIOSH honors the innovative and impactful work demonstrated by our researchers and their commitment to preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “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.”

Named after Dr. Alice Hamilton, a pioneering researcher and occupational physician, the Alice Hamilton Award is given for outstanding NIOSH 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 awardees for 2014 have contributed to an array of sectors, highlighting the broad range of occupational safety and health. This year’s awardees have contributed to the fields of workplace violence prevention, ladder safety, taxicab security, occupational exposures to respirable crystalline silica, and nanotechnology.

The James P. Keogh Award for Outstanding Service in Occupational Safety and Health 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.” For 2014, NIOSH honors Dr. Albert E. Munson, a pioneer in toxicology, one of the founding fathers of immunotoxicology, and the first director of NIOSH’s Health Effects Laboratory Division, which has grown into an organization of over 200 staff dedicated to interpreting the causes and mechanisms of occupational disease. Dr. 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. Dr. Munson is also a leader in nurturing new generations of young scientists. He set a high standard for NIOSH, in training and encouraging talented students and post-doctoral fellows.

The Bullard-Sherwood Research-to-Practice Award, named for the inventor of the hard hat Edward W. Bullard, and R. Jeremy Sherwood, the inventor of the personal industrial hygiene sampling pump, is given to recognize recipients for outstanding contributions in three categories: Knowledge, Interventions, and Technology. This year, the awards went to a project that used 3-D body scans to update specifications for seat belts, fire truck cabs, and personal protective equipment to better fit today’s firefighters, to research that examined the potentially explosive environment of underground coal mines and battery safety, and 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. The awards were presented by Jed Bullard, grandson of Edward W. Bullard.

The Director’s Award for Extraordinary Intramural Science recognizes outstanding collective contributions to science excellence at NIOSH by individual intramural scientists and support staff. The award in the category of Distinguished Career Scientist was presented to Mark Stephenson, Senior Research Audiologist in the Division of Applied Research and Technology, and the Coordinator of the NIOSH Hearing Loss Prevention Program. Dr. Stephenson is a recognized leader in work-related hearing loss. In his capacity at NIOSH, Dr. Stephenson was one of the first practitioners to apply health communication theory to hearing conservation. He spearheaded the development of two NIOSH numbered publications that continue to serve as standard references in hearing conservation. In recognition of Dr. Stephenson’s leadership, the American Academy of Audiology has asked Dr. Stephenson to develop recommendations to update audiometric monitoring procedures for the first time in more than 50 years.

The award in the category of Early Career Scientist was presented to Mike Flynn, Social Scientist in the Education and Information Division. Mr. 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 U.S. His research and participation recognizes the role of work as a critical health determinant for Mexican workers and their families in the U.S., and incorporates that dimension into effective strategies for preventive care. Mr. 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.

The award in the category of Scientific Support was presented to John Clark, Biological Sciences Laboratory Technician in the Division of Applied Research and Technology. Mr. Clark works most recently on studies assessing the effects of occupational exposures on human reproductive health. As a senior technician, with 42 years of federal service at NIOSH, Mr. Clark executes the critical research tasks of organizing human field studies, and collecting and processing biological specimens once in the field. He has shown to execute these tasks accurately, professionally, and expeditiously. Mr. Clark’s talents are in great demand by investigators across NIOSH, and he is widely recognized for his resourcefulness, his initiative, and his perseverance.

For more information about the NIOSH Science Awards, including winners and nominees for all categories, go to

For more information about NIOSH research activities, go to