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NIOSH honors staff, partners, and collaborators at 2022 Science and Service Awards ceremony

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has awarded NIOSH researchers, staff, partners, and collaborators for their significant contributions to the field of occupational safety and health in a virtual ceremony held today.

James P. Keogh Award

The James P. Keogh Award for Outstanding Service in Occupational Safety and Health recognizes a current or former NIOSH employee 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 2022, NIOSH honored retired Captain Alan Echt, DrPH. In 2020, Dr. Echt retired from a distinguished career in the U.S. Public Health Service. He dedicated his entire 30-year uniformed service to NIOSH. First, as an investigator in the Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance Branch. Then, for more than 20 years as a research industrial hygienist in the Engineering and Physical Hazards Branch, and finally as a senior research industrial hygienist with the Office of Construction Safety and Health. Dr. Echt led an extensive portfolio of research projects aimed at reducing worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica to prevent construction workers from developing silicosis, a progressive and often fatal lung disease.

Alice Hamilton Award

Named after Dr. Alice Hamilton, a pioneering researcher and occupational physician, NIOSH presents the Alice Hamilton Award for outstanding publications in the areas of behavioral and social science, communication and guidance, engineering and control, epidemiology and surveillance, exposure and risk assessment, methods and laboratory science, and research service.

Award-winning publications:


Bullard-Sherwood Research-to-Practice Award

The Bullard-Sherwood Research-to-Practice Awards, named for the inventor of the hard hat, Edward W. Bullard, and the inventor of the personal industrial hygiene sampling pump, R. Jeremy Sherwood, recognize recipients for outstanding contributions in applying occupational safety and health research to prevent work-related injury, illness, and death. These awards highlight efforts that demonstrate noteworthy impact through partnerships in three categories: Knowledge, Intervention, and Technology.

In the Intervention Category, researchers were awarded for developing engineering guidelines for shale gas wells influenced by longwall mining. When shale gas wells are drilled through coal reserves it can introduce explosive gas into underground mine workings. The team disseminated critical engineering guidelines for longwall-induced subsurface deformations, gas well casing cementing alternatives, gas well setback distance, shale gas inflow and migration, and separating shale gas from coalbed methane. These guidelines are now used by regulatory agencies and coal and gas operators to safeguard workers.

In the Knowledge Category, researchers were awarded for developing new guidance for preventing work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Musculoskeletal disorders are a significant health problem and economic burden in the workplace. While ISO adopted NIOSH’s revised lifting equation in 2003, there was no clear guidance in relation to low back disorders. To address the gap, NIOSH joined an ISO team to develop new guidance on interpretating lifting risk data. To date, the updated standard has been included in many ergonomic training materials. In the absence of a national standard, industry stakeholders in the U.S. have also used the updated standard to protect workers from lifting-related low back disorders.

In the Technology Category, a group of engineers were awarded for developing engineering controls for additive manufacturing/3D printing. NIOSH engineers collaborated with one of the world’s largest 3D printer manufacturers to develop a low-cost control that could be retrofitted to one of the most common 3D printers on the market. Instructions and part files are publicly available and can be downloaded and assembled by any 3D printer user.

NIOSH Plain Language Award

The NIOSH Plain Language Awards recognize communication products, such as fact sheets, brochures, and webpages, that demonstrate excellence in applying plain language principles, so that science can be accessible to all who need it. Awards are given in two categories, representing both an original project that was created using plain language principles, and a “before-and-after,” which honors a product that was redesigned to be better understood or communicated.

A revised webpage, “The Respiratory Protection Information Trusted Sourcewas awarded in the Before and After Category. The revised webpage provides answers to frequently asked questions ranging from basic respirator facts to more complex subjects on respirator function and performance. A fact sheet, “How to Prevent Motor Vehicle Collisions” was given the award in the Original Category.

Service Excellence Award

The Service Excellence Awards recognize NIOSH staff who demonstrate excellence in administrative and managerial support to the Institute. The following individuals were recognized for their significant contributions:

  • Lewis Underwood – Excellence in Administration
  • Andrea Steege, Ph.D. – Excellence in Leadership
  • Jennica Bellanca, M.S. – Excellence in Leadership
  • Kellie Pierson, M.S. – Excellence in Workforce Development
  • The NIOSH Blueprint for Action Transition Team and Blueprint in Action Network – Excellence in Workforce Diversity

Director’s Intramural Award

The Director’s Intramural Awards for Extraordinary Science recognize outstanding contributions to scientific excellence at NIOSH by intramural scientists and support staff.

Paul Schulte, Ph.D. received the Lew Wade Distinguished Career Scientist Award. Dr. Schulte has been a scientific leader and visionary at NIOSH for more than 45 years. He is widely recognized for his scientific expertise in occupational epidemiology, genetics, risk assessment, workers’ rights and ethics, and nanotechnology. His research contributions have had a tremendous impact on workers, employers, researchers, and the occupational safety and health community.

Kaitlin Kelly-Reif, Ph.D. received the Early Career Scientist Award. In just three years at NIOSH, Dr. Kelly-Reif has enhanced the cancer epidemiology program, developed a robust cancer and chronic disease research portfolio, secured intramural funding, and represented NIOSH nationally and internationally.

Jeanette Novakovich, Ph.D. received the Scientific Support Award. Dr. Novakovich is a productive and valued member of the NIOSH Writer-Editor Team who provides scientific support across NIOSH’s divisions, laboratories, and offices. She is frequently sought by researchers across the Institute for her expertise in health communication, educational technologies, curriculum development, and her superb writing capabilities.

For more information about the NIOSH Science and Service Awards, including a full listing of awardees and nominees for all categories, visit the NIOSH website.

NIOSH is the federal institute that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths. For more information about NIOSH visit

Page last reviewed: April 28, 2022