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Environmental Factor, December 2013

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Birnbaum honored with key APHA Environmental Section award

By Eddy Ball

Vinci and Birnbaum

Vinci, left, presented Birnbaum with the award. (Photo courtesy of Liam O'Fallon)


An important part of the NIEHS experience at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA) (see related story) was the presentation of a prestigious public health award to NIEHS and NTP Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D.

Along with receiving the 44th annual APHA Homer N. Calver Award, Birnbaum gave the annual flagship presentation for the APHA Environment Section at an award luncheon Nov. 4, with her discussion of “When Environmental Chemicals Act Like Uncontrolled Medicine.” She was introduced by Leon Vinci, D.H.A., DEO and President of Health Promotion Consultants, who is head of the APHA Environmental Section.

“I am deeply honored by this recognition from APHA,” said Birnbaum. “But the truly important aspect of this award is the growing recognition of the central importance of chemical exposures, even at very low doses, in persistent health problems, especially those that have risen dramatically in incidence over the past few decades.”

APHA named the award in honor of Calver, an environmental scientist and APHA leader. The award recognizes exemplary environmental health leadership, and the lecture is an opportunity for the winner to highlight late-breaking — and often controversial and paradigm-shifting — issues in environmental health science.

The Calver Award is the latest in a long list of honors and awards for Birnbaum. In October 2010, she was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, one of the highest honors in the fields of medicine and health. She was elected to the Collegium Ramazzini, and received an honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Rochester and a Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of Illinois.

Other awards include the 2011 NIH Director’s Award, Women in Toxicology Elsevier Mentoring Award, Society of Toxicology Public Communications Award, EPA’s Health Science Achievement Award and Diversity Leadership Award, National Center for Women’s 2012 Health Policy Hero Award, Breast Cancer Fund Heroes Award, 2013 Children’s Environmental Health Network Child Health Advocate Award, and 14 Scientific and Technological Achievement Awards, which reflect the recommendations of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency external Science Advisory Board, for specific publications.

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