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Environmental Factor, April 2012

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National Research Center honors Birnbaum

By Eddy Ball

Logo for National Research Center for Women & Families
Linda A. Birnbaum, NIEHS Director

With her message of promoting environmental public health through translation of research into primary prevention, Birnbaum is a natural choice for NRC’s 2012 Health Policy Hero Award. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

NIEHS/NTP Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., will receive the 2012 Health Policy Hero Award May 11 during the annual awards luncheon of the National Research Center for Women & Families (NRC), held at the historic Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C. Katharine Weymouth, publisher of The Washington Post, will serve as the emcee for the program, which is held each year on the Friday before Mothers Day.

Notifying Birnbaum of the award, NRC president Diana Zuckerman, Ph.D., wrote, “We’d be honored to honor you for your outstanding leadership at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program. We are inspired by your work on behalf of all Americans, as groundbreaking research, prevention, and intervention efforts make our homes and communities safer across the country.”

Women at the forefront of public health and human rights

Birnbaum joins a select group of influential women who have been so honored for their contributions to public health, including last year’s winner, Margaret Hamburg, M.D., commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Catherine DeAngelis, M.D., former editor in chief of JAMA; and two members of Congress, Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Sen. Chuck Grassley.

During the awards luncheon, the NRC will also honor what it calls Foremothers, influential women in public health over the age of 70, for their lifetime achievements on behalf of women and families. This year’s honorees are Joan Claybrook, former president of Public Citizen; economist Alice Rivlin; and Beatrix Hamburg, M.D., a leading children’s health advocate. Previous honorees have included Eunice Kennedy Shriver; Dorothy Height, a national leader in the civil rights and women's movements; lawyer, administrator, activist, and author Mary Frances Berry; and children’s author Judith Viorst.

A mission of advocacy and education

The NRC is dedicated to improving the health and safety of adults and children, by using research to encourage more effective programs and policies. The organization achieves its mission by gathering, analyzing, critiquing, and explaining scientific and medical research.

The NRC Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund focuses on preventing cancer by reducing exposure to carcinogens and other risk factors, reducing the risk of recurrence, and improving the quality of medical care. The group prides itself on translating research results into everyday language, and then sharing that for free with the public, the media, opinion leaders, and policymakers.

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