On March 31, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) announced that Capt. Jeff Church of the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) was one of only eight members selected for the 2020 class of fellows. Church leads the NIEHS Health and Safety Branch.
In that role, he directs institute efforts in biological, chemical, and laboratory safety; emergency planning and preparedness; radiation safety; and other measures that protect the institute’s workforce from illness and injury.
“It means so much to be recognized by my industrial hygiene peers,” said Church. “I love my work, and this profession’s strong humanitarian bent means I get to help take care of people.”
His career includes accomplishments such as emergency responses to disaster scenes, leadership on toxicology in the industrial hygiene field, as well as his authorship of definitive texts on toxicology for industrial hygienists.
“We are very proud of Jeff and appreciate the leadership he continues to provide to our health, safety, and environmental sustainability programs,” said NIEHS Deputy Associate Director for Management Mitch Williams.
“This is a very significant honor, and it says a lot about Jeff’s distinguished career and well-deserved professional reputation,” Williams added. He noted that the nomination came from peers who recognized his long-term and significant contributions to the industrial hygiene field.
Recognized by peers
Larry Wylie, Ph.D., nominated Church on behalf of the AIHA Toxicology Committee. Wylie noted Church’s achievements in policy, leadership, and other exemplary contributions. For example, Church served as an author and editor during the five-year effort to update and publish the book Toxicology Principles for the Industrial Hygienist, 2nd edition, which was completed in 2019. Across his 20-year membership in AIHA, Church has served in each of the officer roles of the committee, including 18 months as chair.
Church’s work beyond the association includes both PHS and NIEHS. Church worked on the NIEHS Climate Resiliency Plan, completed in 2017 and the first of its kind for the institute. The team’s work on the plan received a Green Champions Award from the Department of Health and Human Services.
“[His] response missions have included exposure assessments at Ground Zero after 9/11 and during month-long deployments to Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina and Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” Wyle wrote. He also noted that Church’s services span the Atlantic to Pacific oceans, and the Arctic to Antarctica.