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Previous Director's Intramural Awards for Extraordinary Science (DIA)

2012

Print or view program for 2012 ceremony. This is in brochure format, so please print pages 1&2 and 3&4 back-to-back (in landscape) and then fold into a booklet.

Award Announcement for 2012

Distinguished Career Scientist:

Winner:

Dr. Hongwei Hsiao's contributions have significantly enhanced the scientific quality and rigor of the NIOSH Human Factors and Safety Engineering (HFSE) research program, bringing national and international recognition to the Division of Safety Research (DSR) and the Institute. He began his DSR career in 1991 as a biomechanical engineer. He was instrumental in developing the HFSE program and planning new laboratories for virtual reality, three-dimensional (3D) laser scanning anthropometry, impact testing, motion studies, sensor development, and digital human modeling. In 1996, Dr. Hsiao became Chief of the DSR Protective Technology Branch. His efforts to combine scientific excellence with a proactive approach for developing practical external partnerships have moved the results of NIOSH research to practice through the manufacturing and marketing of new, safer equipment and technologies. He has authored more than 140 publications and inventions and delivered numerous technical presentations. He is a Fellow of the Ergonomics Institute and Honorary Fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. In 2011, he was recognized as the Federal Public Health Service Engineer of the Year. He is a recipient of the prestigious Liberty Mutual Prize, a three-time recipient of the Alice Hamilton Award, and a two-time recipient of the Bullard-Sherwood Award for his pioneering research to advance the design of fall-arrest harness devices for diverse worker populations. Dr. Hsiao introduced the concept of immersed virtual reality simulation to study human behavior, physical response, and decision-making skills during elevated work. His research has been well cited in the international literature and has been featured in the media several times. In the mid-1990s, Dr. Hsiao initiated a mentoring program in his branch that improved the development and retention of junior researchers and technical staff by providing them the opportunity to shadow more senior staff. During the 2000s, he supported technical training for scientific staff in dual areas, which enhanced staff productivity and individual career advancement. Dr. Hsiao has mentored three National Research Council Fellows, four Service Fellows, three international scholars, and five graduate interns over the past 15 years; all are now successful professionals. Dr. Hsiao would use any monetary award received to support enhancement of DSR laboratories, especially engineering software development.

Early Career Scientist:

Winner:

Dr. Taekhee Lee is a Fellow in the Health Effects Laboratory Division (HELD) and as a young researcher has made extraordinary contributions to the field of occupational safety and health. He received his Ph.D. in Environmental Health from the University of Cincinnati in late 2006, and published seven related peer-reviewed articles. He is the NIOSH lead of a collaborative project with the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) in the UK that examines the sampling accuracy of newly designed high flow rate samplers for measurement of respirable crystalline silica. Dr. Lee published two papers that concluded differences from calibrations carried out by HSL. Because without reconciliation both organizations would risk publishing disparate results, Dr. Lee was detailed to HSL at their request and was able to account for experimental differences and fully harmonize the results. A manuscript is in preparation, with joint US-UK recommendations that will be the basis of an international (ISO) standard. Dr. Lee also has participated significantly in three projects led by other NIOSH researchers. The first project provided guidance on the selection and use of samplers for the assessment of exposure to wood dust. The second project examined whether the size distributions of lead aerosols deposited on filters differed from those deposited on internal walls of the sampler, and whether the outcome was the same for both laboratory and field environments. The third project determined whether a sampling pump that modified sample collection according to a workers' breathing rate would provide more appropriate exposure data when used in environments where exertion and exposure are correlated. As a result of working on these projects, Dr. Lee published five articles, three as a first author. He has successfully competed for intramural funding, made award-winning presentations, and been a reviewer for several journals and an Editor in the Korean Society of Environmental Health. He provided support to the US Technical Representative in meetings of an ISO technical committee on silica, and is co-organizing an upcoming international symposium on silica. Dr. Lee would use any monetary award received to attend training to become a Certified Industrial Hygienist and to extend his current silica project.

Scientific Support:

Winner:

Shirley Robertson has provided extraordinary scientific support to research activities during her 32 years at NIOSH. Ms. Robertson began her career at NIOSH as an animal care technician and in 1979 started working in the laboratory as a scientific technician in immunochemistry, a new scientific area for her in Division of Applied Research and Technology (DART). She is currently a Biological Science Laboratory Technician. Ms. Robertson's scientific support includes her work on an intervention study for asphalt pavers and a latex allergy study. The first study involved a large collaborative group that included academicians, industry, unions, several large paving companies, and NIOSH. Ms. Robertson assisted in developing the sampling plan, coordinated the acquisition of sampling supplies, and packed worker sampling kits that contained all the supplies and media for each sampling week in the field where she collected biological and environmental samples, serving as the study manager on site. Once back in the laboratory, she logged in, prepared, and analyzed thousands of samples. As her contribution to the second study, Ms. Robertson was on the team that tested participants for latex allergy, identified a previously unknown protein as a major allergen, and re-tested participants to determine if their allergy had waned in the five years since they were no longer exposed to latex. She was also responsible for the testing of thousands of samples. In addition to her contributions in large studies, Ms. Robertson has assisted in the development of a number of methods produced by her team, including methamphetamine detection methods, detection of anthrax exposure, and multiplex immunoassay for pesticides. She also has shown great initiative in a number of activities within and outside her Branch. During the Environmental Tobacco Smoke Health Hazard Evaluation conducted in Las Vegas Ms. Robertson suggested that creatinine and cotinine analysis be run in house rather than at a contract laboratory, which resulted in substantial savings in money and time. Ms. Robertson is planning to use any monetary award she may receive to participate in training that will enhance her skills, and to fund travel to a scientific meeting.

2011

Print or view program for 2011 ceremony. This is in brochure format, so please print pages 1&2 and 3&4 back-to-back (in landscape) and then fold into a booklet.

Award Announcement for 2011

Distinguished Career Scientist:

Winner:

Kenneth Wallingford has made extraordinary contributions to the understanding of indoor environmental quality in the workplace and the assessment and control of exposures to hazardous substances, including asbestos and formaldehyde. He has worked in NIOSH since the beginning of his career as an industrial hygiene technician in 1970, with the exception of four years spent in the private sector in the 1980s. He subsequently completed undergraduate and master's degrees in industrial hygiene. Interested in applying his scientific knowledge and skills to problem solving in field investigations, Mr. Wallingford moved on to the Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch (HETAB) of the Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies, where he has served as the Deputy Branch Chief since 2002. He had the vision to approach the field of indoor environmental quality holistically, bringing together expertise in industrial hygiene exposure assessment, building design, ventilation design and operation, occupational medicine, epidemiology, aerosol science, and psychology. He is an internationally recognized expert on this topic and has applied his knowledge to several public health crises in the past 10 years, including the SARS outbreak, the NIOSH response to the World Trade Center attacks, and pandemic H1N1 influenza. Mr. Wallingford has been active in thirty or so industrial hygiene professional organizations, interagency expert working groups, and CDC and NIOSH teams. He has been lead author or co-author on over 30 peer-reviewed articles and nearly 20 published conference proceedings, and is certified as an Industrial Hygienist, Indoor Environmental Quality Specialist, Asbestos Hazard Abatement Specialist, and Asbestos Hazard Evaluation Specialist. He has lectured for many years at the University of Cincinnati and in training programs/workshops for professionals in other U.S. agencies and other countries. He is a strong believer in the value of collaboration and mentoring in scientific organizations. The monetary award would facilitate his continued participation in scientific training and conferences, and allow him to continue to grow and share his expertise with other scientists.

Early Career Scientist:

Winner:

Jessica Streit is an exceptional young researcher. Since joining the Division of Applied Research and Technology as a psychology technician in late 2005, she has co-authored 11 journal articles and two book chapters, made 20 professional presentations, and is widely known in her division for her accomplishments. Jessica currently leads a four-year NORA (National Occupational Research Agenda) project for translating results from prior NIOSH studies into marketable materials on the importance of rest breaks for services sector workers who use computers intensively. She is also co-investigator on a NORA project to develop Spanish language tools for assessing musculoskeletal risks in hotel workers, works on several other projects, and has served as executive assistant to the program and assistant coordinators of the NIOSH Program on Work Organization and Stress since 2006 and in many roles in the planning of the 2008, 2009, and 2011 APA (American Psychological Association)/NIOSH Work, Stress, & Health conferences. She obtained her B.S. in Psychology Magna Cum Laude in 2004; M.S. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology in 2007; and is pursuing a B.S. in mathematics in preparation for application to a Ph.D. program in biostatistics. The award funding could be used to implement a rest-break program among administrative personnel in Toyota, part of a recent agreement with NIOSH to facilitate implementation of various workplace interventions. Toyota's corporate operations center in Erlanger, Kentucky, employs 2500 workers, most of whom use desktop computers, and who can be included in the rest-break project currently being lead by Ms. Streit.

Scientific Support:

Winner:

Pam Schumacher in the Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies, who provides extraordinary scientific support toward the advancement of industry and occupation (I&O) coding of health and vital statistics records that are essential in ongoing occupational health studies. Her efforts have directly impacted research by NIOSH and external partners by expanding the utility of datasets that previously included no information on occupation or industry. Pam started working on I&O coding in the late 1980's to support the National Occupation Mortality Surveillance (NOMS) project that links cause of death to the occupation of the decedent. Her attention to detail has influenced the success of NOMS. Ms. Schumacher's responsibilities and expertise have since grown. She is now a recognized expert in I&O coding, and the only NIOSH expert qualified to provide related training and consultation services for internal and external researchers. NIOSH, in cooperation with states, maintains several databases, including NOMS, the National Occupational Respiratory Mortality System (NORMS), the Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risk (SENSOR) Pesticide database, and the Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance Program (ABLES). Together these databases contain more than 11 million records, all of which contain I&O information. Ms. Schumacher and the team she has trained have provided the I&O coding support that has made these initiatives so successful. She is a key member of the NORA project to develop a new NIOSH Industry and Occupation Computerized Coding system (NIOCCS); her work on NIOCCS has resulted in a 30-50% increased productivity in coding records. Current and known upcoming projects requiring I&O coding include more than 1.3 million additional records and it is anticipated that this number will greatly increase once NIOCCS has been implemented and electronic health records become a reality. The monetary award would facilitate Ms. Schumacher's continued participation in scientific training and conferences, which would allow her to continue to grow and to share her expertise with other scientists.

2010

Print or view program for 2010 ceremony. This is in brochure format, so please print pages 1&2 and 3&4 back-to-back (in landscape) and then fold into a booklet.

2010 Announcement

Distinguished Career Scientist:

Winner:

Dr. Paul Baron (Division of Applied Research and Technology), was a career NIOSH scientist who passed away in early 2009. He was a pioneer in aerosol measurement and a world leader in the area of occupational aerosol sampling. Instrumentation he developed includes the Fibrous Aerosol Monitor, the Aerodynamic Particle Sizer, the Personal Dust Exposure Monitor, and the Portable X-Ray Fluorescence Analyzer. He was a strong public health advocate, and his research in asbestos sampling and analytical research garnered international acclaim. Paul Baron's strong leadership and outstanding contributions in the area of occupational health-related aerosol research made him a recognized national and international leader in the field of aerosol physics. He published over 80 peer-reviewed journal articles and proceedings. Through his tireless and dedicated research efforts, he made tremendous strides toward improving the protection of worker health. The monetary award will be used to further the research efforts of the aerosol group that Paul worked in, primarily with a view to improving techniques for monitoring of nanoaerosols.

Early Career Scientist:

Winner:

Dr. Jennifer Lincoln (Alaska Pacific Regional Office) attended Johns Hopkins University and received a Ph.D. in Health Policy Management in 2006. Since completing her doctorate, she has built a highly-respected national research program focused on three areas: 1. identifying regional and fishery specific risk factors through surveillance; 2. preventing fatalities from falls overboard; and 3. designing engineering controls to reduce fatality risk in the fishing industry. Dr. Lincoln is recognized nationally as the leading safety researcher for the commercial fishing industry and is regularly consulted by the United States Coast Guard, National Transportation Safety Board, National Marine Fisheries Service, industry groups, safety organizations and the news media. The monetary award will be used to support the Improving Stability of Commercial Fishing Vessels project to support a trip to go out on a vessel enrolled in the study during sea trials as well as to attend a graduate course on intervention evaluations.

Scientific Support:

Winner:

Mr. Douglas Cantis (Division of Safety Research) is an integral participant in many laboratory and field studies that take place as part of DSR projects. He is the lead technical person responsible for studies conducted in the High Bay Laboratory. Over the years, Mr. Cantis has built numerous test apparatus for conducting drop tests, performing static and dynamic testing on rollover structures for tractors, for conducting human subject tests involving scaffold end frames, construction stilts, and aerial lifts, and numerous other studies. During these studies, he made numerous innovative recommendations to address and correct problems that are encountered. He has made countless improvements to improve the operations of his assigned laboratories. This includes activities such as organizing toolboxes and cabinets with identification labels, inventorying items for accountability, and rearranging stored items for easy access. Mr. Cantis is always seeking new innovative ways of conducting tests in the laboratories. The monetary award will be used to purchase scientific equipment and supplies for use on DSR projects.

 
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