Annual NIEHS awards recognize outstanding 2015 achievements
The annual NIEHS awards ceremony took on a special significance in 2016 with the theme “Legacy of Discovery,” commemorating the 50th anniversary of the institute. Individuals and teams were recognized at the Jan. 27 event for their 2015 accomplishments.
“I love this event and enjoy doing it every year,” NIEHS and National Toxicology Program (NTP) Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., told the audience. “I really like to review all these accomplishments and affirm that we are really the best team at NIH [National Institutes of Health].”
Birnbaum cited a long list of accomplishments in public health and awareness, from safety training for workers, scientific discovery, training and mentoring, technical innovation, and community engagement and outreach, to a highly successful active shooter exercise and special seminars for nonscientists. “I saw a common thread of leadership by NIEHS,” she concluded. “I’d say 2015 was a pretty good year.”
Birnbaum then turned the program over to NIEHS Chief of Staff Mark Miller, Ph.D., who prefaced his announcement of the winners with a tongue-in-cheek monologue about the last 50 years, quips about NIEHS colleagues, and the tough acts he followed from previous emcees.
As Miller read off awardee names, Birnbaum handed out certificates, along with a personal expression of her gratitude. A reception in the NIEHS cafeteria followed the awards.
Awards for individuals and groups
There are various types of awards given out every year.
The Unsung Hero Award recognizes employees whose contributions have had a substantial impact on the programs of the institute. These are given out on an individual basis. “It’s a way to highlight people who work hard behind the scenes, and whose contributions might otherwise go unrecognized,” Birnbaum said.
The Peer Award, established in 1999, provides a unique mechanism for NIEHS employees to recognize colleagues who have consistently provided notable assistance to their fellow workers. These are also given out to individuals.
The Merit Award is the highest honor a director of one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) can give to employees. It celebrates scientific and administrative achievements that support and advance an institute’s mission. It recognizes both individuals and groups.
Also recognized were recipients of awards given out at NIH in 2015, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Green Champions Award, NIH Director’s Award, and Fellows Award for Research Excellence.
And the winners from NTP were …
Unsung Hero Award — Chad Blystone
Individual Merit Awards — Scott Auerbach, Stephanie Holmgren, Suramya Waidyanatha
Divisional Group Merit Awards
Division of the National Toxicology Program — David Allen, Warren Casey, Patricia Ceger, Xiaoqing Chang, Jon Hamm, Brett Jones (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), Nicole Kleinstreuer, Eileen Phillips, Judy Strickland, and Dan Zang, for validating the use of computational tools to replace a regulatory requirement for animal-based testing, thereby demonstrating the utility of Tox21 efforts.
Cross-Divisional Merit Awards
For outstanding leadership and oversight of the CLARITY-BPA Program — John Bucher, Jerry Heindel, Retha Newbold, Thaddeus Schug, and Nigel Walker.
For development of the Big Picture, Small Talk seminar series, creating opportunities for staff to learn about the institute's work — Gary Bird, Abee Boyles, Rebecca Boyles, Margaret Mooring, Geoff Mueller, Kristi Pettibone, Cynthia Rider, and Elizabeth Ruben.
For developing an innovative trans-NIEHS program to support critical environmental and worker health issues during disasters — Stacey Amesen (National Library of Medicine [NLM]), April Bennett, Miranda Chien-Hale, Betsy Eagin, Stavros Garantziotis, Heather Henry, Chip Hughes, Richard Kwok, Joy Lee Pearson, Cindy Love (NLM), Scott Masten, Aubrey Miller, Liam O'Fallon, Joan Packenham, Steve Ramsey, Les Reinlib, Jim Remington, Richard Rosselli, Claudia Thompson, and Kevin Yeskey.
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