William Edward Halperin, James P. Keogh Award 2001

photo of James P. Keogh

James P. Keogh, MD

Dr. William Halperin’s career at NIOSH exemplifies the high ideals of the James Keogh Award. During his more than 20 years at NIOSH, Dr. Halperin contributed to the health of the nation’s workers by conducting research to identify workers at increased risk and making recommendations for their protection. Within NIOSH, he held diverse positions of responsibility: Chief of the Industrywide Studies Branch; Acting Chief of the Surveillance Branch; Director of the Division of Safety Research; Associate Director for Surveillance, and Deputy Director.

Dr. Halperin initiated and oversaw much of NIOSH’s groundbreaking efforts in epidemiologic studies of occupational cancer including studies of dioxin, benzene, and beryllium. Dr. Halperin significantly advanced the field of surveillance with his book Public Health Surveillance. This text is now used in schools of public health and state health departments throughout the United States, as well as internationally. He was the architect and co-chair of the First National Conference on State-based Occupational Safety and Health Activities, providing national leadership in fostering better working relationships with state health departments. He has consistently advocated for greater emphasis on occupational injury as a leading occupational safety and health problem, influencing the NIOSH agenda. In addition, Dr. Halperin brought about the first phase of NORA implementation, translating the stakeholder process into action.

Dr. Halperin is a three-time winner of the Alice Hamilton Award for Excellence in Occupational Safety and Health. He has authored more than 125 scientific publications and his paper “Medical Screening in the Workplace: Proposed Principles,” published in the Journal of Occupational Medicine, won the American College of Occupational Medicine’s Adolph G. Kammer Merit in Authorship Award for 1988.

Dr. Halperin and a small group of NIOSH colleagues collaborated to develop the “The Sentinel Health Event (Occupational): A Framework for Occupational Health Surveillance and Education.” This innovative article regarding the role of the medical practitioner in occupational and environmental medicine is one of the most cited in occupational disease surveillance literature.

Throughout Dr. Halperin’s career, he has promoted research on special populations that are not regularly included in occupational health research such as children, women, and minority workers. He has been, and continues to be, a strong advocate for public health and the safety and health of working people. He has been active in research, influencing practice, training new researchers, and guiding policy. Dr. William Halperin is a fitting person to receive the James P. Keogh Award for Outstanding Service in Occupational Safety and Health.

Now, as Chairman, Department of Prevention Medicine and Community Health at the New Jersey Medical School, Dr. Halperin continues to be a strong advocate for public health and the health and safety of working people.