James P. Keogh Award for Outstanding Service

photo of James P. Keogh

James P. Keogh, MD

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is pleased to recognize one current or former NIOSH employee each year for exceptional service to the field of occupational safety and health. This award honors the contributions made by public health workers who fight long odds to achieve safer and healthier workplaces.

James P. Keogh, MD was a tireless advocate for worker safety and health who died in June 1999 at the age of 49. His earliest work in academic medicine identified dimethylaminopropionitrile as the causal agent in an outbreak of bladder neuropathy in the 1970s. Dr. Keogh was able to make this determination because, unlike many of the clinicians initially contacted by the workers, he took their complaints seriously and applied clear public health principles to his investigation. Throughout his life, he listened carefully to workers, characterized hazards and diseases, and then fearlessly worked to identify compensation for the individual and prevention strategies for others. Dr. Keogh was instrumental in the inclusion of construction workers in the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health lead standard, a full decade before the Federal standard did the same. He was a leading medical educator who always focused on the need to incorporate clinical compassion with public health prevention. His most outstanding legacy, however, was his fierce determination to put knowledge into practice to benefit the worker.

Page last reviewed: April 26, 2013