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Environmental Factor, January 2013

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Suk honored for leadership by Society of Toxicology

By Eddy Ball

Bill Suk, Ph.D.

2013 Founders Award winner Suk (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

The Society of Toxicology (SOT) has selected NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) Director Bill Suk, Ph.D., to receive its 2013 Founders Award. SOT will present Suk with a plaque and a stipend at a ceremony March 10 during its 52nd annual meeting in San Antonio.

In her announcement of Suk’s award, SOT Awards Committee Chair Mary Ann Smith, Ph.D., described the award as a well-deserved honor. “The Founders Award is awarded to a full member of the society who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in fostering the role of toxicological sciences in safety decision-making, through development and/or application of state-of-the-art approaches that elucidate, with a high degree of confidence, the distinctions for humans between safe and unsafe levels of exposures to chemical and physical agents,” she wrote.

Superfund’s 25 years of leadership in toxicology

Suk has served as SRP director since the program’s inception in 1987. He has led the development of comprehensive research, remediation, education, translation, and outreach efforts, to prevent disease and illness related to exposure to toxic substances generated at the more than 15,000 federally managed hazardous waste sites in the U.S. The program has nurtured productive relationships with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees hazardous waste cleanup at Superfund sites, and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, which shares the SRP public health mission.

In recognition of its milestone anniversary, SRP produced a commemorative booklet (4MB) on its accomplishments in the U.S. and abroad for its annual meeting Oct. 22-24, 2012 in Raleigh, N.C. (see story). At the meeting, grantees, trainees, and friends of the program looked ahead to the future directions of SRP as a model for global health interventions in developing countries where at least 20 percent of deaths are directly attributable to preventable environmental exposures.

Honoring a pioneer in applying toxicology to public health

Suk received his Ph.D. in microbiology from the George Washington University and his Masters in Public Health in health policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has also been a National Science Foundation fellow.

Affiliated with a number of organizations and committees concerned with toxic exposures and public health, Suk is a member of the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies; International Advisory Board of the Chulabhorn Research Institute in Bangkok; and World Health Organization Consultation on Scientific Principles and Methodologies for Assessing Health Risks in Children Associated with Chemical Exposures. He also serves on a number of trans-NIH committees.

He is a member of the editorial boards of a number of international journals, including Environmental Health, Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry, International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, and the Central European Journal of Public Health.

In addition to his recognition by SOT, Suk has received NIH honors for his many efforts, as well as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service. He is a recipient of the Roy E. Albert Memorial Award for Translational Research in Environmental Health from the University of Cincinnati; the Child Health Advocate Award from the Children’s Environmental Health Network; the John P. Wyatt Lecture Award in Environmental Health and Disease from the University of Kentucky; and the Adel F. Sarofim Award for Excellence in Combustion Research. He is a fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini.

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