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Environmental Factor, August 2014

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Tilson honored as retiring editor-in-chief of EHP

By Kelly Lenox

Rick Woychik, Ph.D. and Hugh Tilson, Ph.D.

“He served with remarkable professionalism,” said Woychik, left, of Tilson. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

  • Jane Schroeder, Ph.D.

    Schroeder presented the gifts, including the traditional photograph of the Institute, bordered with signatures and well-wishes. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

  • Judy Hanson

    EHP program specialist Judy Hanson, with the assistance of publications director Joseph Tart, brought hilarity to the event, enacting the song Tilson would no longer need to sing, “It’s a Five O’Clock World.” (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

  • Susan Booker

    Susan Booker, EHP news editor, thoroughly enjoyed Hanson’s skit. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

  • Jim Burkhart, Ph.D., Tracey Glazener and Jennifer Garner

    Former scientific editor Jim Burkhart, Ph.D., left, with Tracey Glazener, senior science production coordinator, and Jennifer Garner, science production coordinator, noted that another of Tilson’s contributions to the journal was bringing on a strong team of associate editors. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

  • Hugh Tilson, Ph.D.

    Tilson was genuinely touched by the book of photographs and quotes, prepared by his staff. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

  • Cassandra Carter and Tanya Tillett

    Cassandra Carter, EHP publication specialist, and Tanya Tillett, writer and editor, wished Tilson well in his retirement. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

  • Audrey Pinto, Ph.D., Stephanie Holmgren and Martha Dimes, Ph.D.

    The EHP team and other NIEHS staff joined the celebration, including from left, Audrey Pinto, Ph.D, EHP technical editor, with Stephanie Holmgren, informationist in the Office of Scientific Information Management, and Martha Dimes, Ph.D., EHP children’s health editor. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

When is good-bye not good-bye? When you’re Hugh Tilson, Ph.D., retiring from six-plus years as editor-in-chief of the NIEHS journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), but continuing a nearly 40-year tradition of federal service by helping out until a replacement is found. NIEHS and NTP leadership and staff celebrated Tilson’s tenure with a good-natured retirement celebration July 25.

Jane Schroeder, D.V.M., Ph.D, EHP science editor and interim editor-in-chief, welcomed the crowd and set a warm and generous tone. “I’ve had many bosses, and honestly, Hugh is the best boss I have ever had,” she said.

Managing an evolving journal

Rick Woychik, Ph.D., NIEHS deputy director, referring to Tilson’s agreement to continue on for a time, quipped, “This is retirement with an asterisk.” Becoming more serious, Woychik ticked off the improvements and advances to EHP that Tilson oversaw, especially bringing the journal into compliance with federal requirements that it be accessible to citizens with disabilities, known as 508 compliance; going paperless, as one of the first scientific journals to publish in an online-only format; and managing through the uncertainties of sequestration while continuing to meet standards of scientific quality.

Perhaps most notably, the impact factor of the journal increased under Tilson to 7.26, a track record his successor will be challenged to match. “Sometimes superlatives don’t suffice,” said Woychik.

Tilson, not one to grab the spotlight, spoke briefly. “These six and a half years are the most rewarding and most productive of my career,” he said. “They allowed me to make a difference.” The assembled group heartily agreed.

January 2008 EHP cover

The January 2008 issue was first with Tilson’s name as editor-in-chief on the masthead. (Photo courtesy of NIEHS files)

Tilson retirement cake

Almost too beautiful to cut into — but not quite — the cake was just one of the refreshments assembled by Tilson’s staff. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

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