James A. Merchant, James P. Keogh Award 2003
Dr. James A. Merchant is the first dean of the University of Iowa College of Public Health and a nationally known expert on occupational and environmental health, rural health, and public health policy. A native of Ames, Iowa, Dr. Merchant received a bachelor’s degree in bacteriology from Iowa State University in 1962 and an M.D. degree from the University of Iowa in 1966. He completed his internal medicine residency at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital, followed by a fellowship in pulmonary and environmental medicine from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Trudeau Fellowship from the American Thoracic Society for study at the University of London’s Brompton Hospital and Cardiothoracic Institute.
Dr. Merchant directed the Appalachian Laboratory for Occupational Safety and Health and the NIOSH Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, and taught and practiced pulmonary medicine at the University of North Carolina and West Virginai University (adjunct appointment) before returning to the faculty of the University of Iowa College of Medicine in 1981. At Iowa, he served as head of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, directed the department’s Division of Occupational and Environmental Health and Institute for Rural and Environmental Health, and led the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health, and Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, the Injury Prevention Research Center, the Center for International Rural and Environmental Health, and the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center.
At the national level, Dr. Merchant chairs the NIOSH Board of Scientific Counselors and serves on the Advisory Committee to the Director of CDC and the Institute of Medicine’s Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine. He has been awarded a commendation medal from the US Public Health Service, a Health Policy Fellowship with the US Senate, and the William Steiger Memorial Award from the ACGIH. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 1999.
Dr. Merchant’s research interests include the epidemiology of occupational/environmental lung disease, environmental and occupational health, rural health, agricultural disease and injuries, international health, and public and rural health policy. He has received numerous grants from the CDC, the National Institutes of Health, private foundations, and corporations.