Environmental Health News

People and Places 2016, Issue #2

Return to 2016, Issue #2 issue

Photo of Dean Howard Frumkin.

School of Public Health Dean To Step Down in September

Dean Howard Frumkin announced he is stepping down after “six wonderful and rewarding years” at the helm of the University of Washington School of Public Health. He plans to resume his research, teaching and writing in his home department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, effective Sept. 23. Learn more.

Professor Joel Kaufman Named Interim Dean of UW School of Public Health

Professor Joel Kaufman has been named interim dean of the UW School of Public Health, effective Sept. 24. A long-time faculty member and researcher at the School, Kaufman is an internationally recognized expert in the relationship between environmental factors and cardiovascular disease, and in the health effects of exposure to ambient air pollutants, such as diesel exhaust. He will succeed Howard Frumkin, who is stepping down Sept. 23. A national search for a permanent dean will begin in summer 2017, with the goal of hiring a new dean by autumn 2018. Read more.

Leaders Call for Prison Divestment

Dean Howard Frumkin, the chairs of the School’s five departments, and other senior School of Public Health leaders wrote a memo on prison divestment on July 15, 2016, to UW President Ana Mari Cauce, Provost Gerald Baldasty and Board of Regents Chair Patrick Shanahan. The School’s action came after an active group of students, staff and faculty had raised the issue.

Photo of the biennial report cover.

Department’s New Biennial Report Released

Check out DEOHS's 2013–2015 Biennial Report: Defining a New Tomorrow! Through research, teaching, and service, the department aims to create healthy, safe, and sustainable communities and workplaces. We have a great stake in the long-term health and vitality of the Pacific Northwest—its environment, its public, and its workforce. For this reason, we must plan and act sustainably, with the future of our region in mind.

Photo of DEOHS folks at the department retreat.

Current and Future Research Directions the Subject of Department Retreat

Current and future research directions were highlighted and discussed at the July 2016 DEOHS Retreat at the UW Center for Urban Horticulture. Small group discussions made up of faculty, staff, and students discussed the top themes from a department-wide survey. Professor Gerard Cangelosi headed the retreat's organizational committee. View some of the photos from the retreat.

Photo of the award winners.

2016 Award Winners

Department faculty, staff, and students were honored with awards from our department (DEOHS), the School of Public Health (SPH), and the University of Washington this spring. Read more about our award winners and view photos from the award ceremony.   Photo by Elizabeth Sharpe.

Magali Blanco, Russell L. Castner Endowed Student Research Fund (Master’s degree category)
Megan Cartwright, SPH Communicating Public Health to the Public Award
Shilpa Gowda, DEOHS Outstanding Master’s Student Award
Elizabeth Guzy, DEOHS Distinguished Staff Award
Terrance Kavanagh, DEOHS Graduate Student Advisory Committee’s Outstanding Faculty Mentor

Alexandra Kossik, SPH Outstanding Community Service by Staff Award
Sara Mar, Jack Hatlen Scholar (DEOHS)
Jane Pouzou, DEOHS Outstanding PhD Student Award
Kristen Slodysko, DEOHS Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award
David Scoville, Russell L. Castner Endowed Student Research Fund (Doctoral degree category)

Photo of Marilyn Hair.

Lifetime Leadership Award for Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva

Marilyn Hair received the Jeannie Peeper Presidential Lifetime Leadership Award for her contributions to Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP) patients and families. She works as an outreach manager for the Interdisciplinary Center for Exposures, Diseases, Genomics and Environment, which was formerly called the Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health.

Photo of Kenneth Thummel.

Rawls-Palmer Progress in Medicine Award

Adjunct Professor Kenneth Thummel was awarded the Rawls-Palmer Progress in Medicine Award from the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. The award--founded in 1978 through the generosity of the late Dr. and Mrs. W.B. Rawls--to further Dr. Rawls’ commitment to continuing medical education and its impact on patient care.  The goal of the Rawls-Palmer Progress in Medicine Award is to incorporate the efforts of modern research in patient care and to help bridge the gap between the results of research and its application in patient care.

Photo of Lianne Sheppard.

EPA Advisory Committee on Traffic Pollutant

Professor Lianne Sheppard was selected to chair a 17-member committee that advises the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on air quality standards for oxides of nitrogen. Nitrogen oxides come primarily from traffic emissions. Sheppard is on the EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee; its members are appointed by the EPA administrator for three-year terms. She and the others on the committee provide independent advice to the administrator on the scientific evidence to support the EPA’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards, including this one on nitrogen oxides.

Photo from 2016 AIHce Reception.

2016 AIHce Event for Industrial Hygiene Professionals, 2017 Reception Looking for Sponsorship

The department’s Continuing Education Programs organized and hosted a University of Washington reception for alumni, faculty, staff, students, and friends of the department at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo (AIHce) in May in Baltimore, Maryland. Sponsors of the event included Aeroteck, Alaska National Insurance Company, Amec Foster Wheeler, FACS, NVL Labs, Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety, Pacific Northwest Section - American Industrial Hygiene Association, Puget Sound Energy, Rick and Suzzane Gleason, SeaCast, and Veritox. The 2017 AIHce will be held in Seattle, Washington. We are extending the opportunity to sponsor the 2017 DEOHS Reception. This is a great opportunity to gain visibility with the worldwide industrial hygiene and safety community, and reconnect with alumni, colleagues, friends, students, and faculty at DEOHS. Learn more.

OSHA training in Spanish

We are proud to be offering OSHA 7405: Fall Hazard Awareness for the Construction Industry in Spanish free of charge! OSHA 7405 cover the identification, evaluation, prevention and control of fall hazards in the construction industry. Course topics include identifying analyzing, and preventing fall hazards utilizing OSHA Fall Protection Standards. Learn more.

Photo of Temp Work Documentary.

Temp Work Documentary and Panel Discussion

At the end of March, our department sponsored a screening of the documentary film, A Day's Work, and hosted a panel discussion about the dangers of temporary work with the film’s producer and local experts. The panelists included Dave DeSario, executive producer of A Day's Work and founding member of the TemporaryEmployees.org; Philippe Boucher, co-founder and president of the Temporary Workers of America; Janine Rees, industrial hygienist at that Washington State Department of Labor & Industries; Tracy Davidson, safety coordinator for the Millionair Club Charity, and Dan Jacoby, labor economist and professor at University of Washington, Bothell. The event was organized by Trevor Peckham, a research scientist in the department, and Grant Quiller (MS student) with help from others in the department including Becky Yost, marketing manager for the Continuing Education Programs. Additional sponsors for the event were the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety, and Student Public Health Association

Photo of kid dressed up in PPE.

Paws on Science

A number of students participated in the Paws-on Science Husky Weekend at the Pacific Science Center, May 6-8. The Environmental Health booth, organized by graduate student Erika Keim, featured hands-on educational activities for kids. During the event, UW scientists share their work through interactive activities with thousands of adults and children. Participating students include Katie Fellows, Maggie Hughes, Rebekah Petrof, Arina Wu, Charlene Hsia, Tyler Nicolas, Nathan Phommavong, Vy Tran, Heather Fowler, and Darian Disrud. The Field Research and Consultation Group lent a huge array of personal protective equipment for kids to don and try on and learn about workplace safety.

20K Award for Computers

The DEOHS Graduate Program Office was awarded $20,000 from the UW Student Technology Fee Committee to buy new computers for our two graduate student computer labs.  The current computers were purchased in 2010 and failing fast. The successful proposal—written by Rory Murphy who collaborated with Brian High and Boris Reisswas among sixty submitted proposals across campus, all competing for a limited amount of money.

Alumni News

Don Garvey (MSPH, Industrial Hygiene, 1982) was the keynote speaker at the 2016 Korean Industrial Hygiene Association’s annual meeting in Seoul, South Korea.  He spoke on hearing conservation in the construction industry.  He is currently the construction technical specialist for 3M Company in St. Paul, MN.

Eyob Mazengia (MS, 1998 and PhD 2013) received the 2016 Phil Holmes award from Public Health Seattle King County's Environmental Health Division at this year's All Staff Conference. Mazengia is an environmental health services supervisor with the Environmental Health Division.

Herakles Li (MPH, Environmental and Occupational Health, 2014) was selected for the Public Health Associate Program with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a competitive, two-year, paid training program. As part of this program, he is working at Public Health - Seattle & King County in the Environmental Health Services Division, helping to develop a framework to address climate change, equity, and health for the county. His second year in the program will be focused on preparedness.

Faculty News

New faculty appointments


Catherine Karr was promoted from associate professor to professor.

New Positions

Affiliate Professor Matthew Keifer has been appointed Director of Occupational Health in the Hospital and Specialty Medicine Service Line at the VA Puget Sound.


Principal Lecturer Charles Treser retired from the faculty.
Professor John Kissel retired from the faculty.
Associate Professor William Daniell will retire from the faculty in September.

Staff Retirements

Senior Research Scientist Richard Beyer retired from the Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health and the Bioinformatics Facility.
Research Industrial Hygienist Don Lofgren retired from the Field Research and Consultation Group.
Research Scientist William Griffiths retired from Professor Elaine Faustman’s research team.
Graduate Program Advisor Rory Murphy retired from the Graduate Program Student Services.

Photo of Rachel Shaffer.

Rachel Talks Tox

Rachel Shaffer (PhD student, Environmental Toxicology) was featured on NPR as part of "Friends of Joe's Big Idea."  "Friends of Joe's Big Idea," which is associated with the NPR program "Joe's Big Idea," is a network of young scientists interested in science outreach and communication. Shaffer's blog, Rachel Talks Tox is also highlighted. Shaffer also co-authored a Seattle Times op-ed with Affiliate Professor Steven Gilbert. They encouraged a reexamination of Washington State's occupational lead standard because industries with high potential for lead exposure, including construction, can put workers at elevated risk of lead poisoning and their families may also be inadvertently exposed through take-home lead dust. Read the op-ed.

Photo of Kimiko Sasaki.

Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar

Kimiko Sasaki, MN, RN, a current PhD student and Northwest Center for Occupational Health & Safety trainee, specializing in occupational & environmental health, was selected for the Jonas Scholar Environmental Health in Immigrant Communities Award at the UW School of Nursing. The goal of the two-year Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program is to increase the number of doctorally-prepared faculty available to teach in nursing schools nationwide. Learn more.

Scientist Appointed Secretary-Elect

Research Scientist Elena Austin was appointed secretary-elect for the American Industrial Hygiene Association's Real Time Detection Systems Committee. In 2017, she will assume the role of secretary. 

Photo of EH REP students.

EH-REP Students Present on Summer Research

This year’s Environmental Health Research Experience Program (EHREP) students presented posters of their summer research at the Summer STEM Poster Symposium on August 17. The event includes undergraduates from 10 other STEM summer programs. Listed below are the EHREP students and their presentations, with faculty and staff mentors in parentheses. The mentors are from DEOHS, unless otherwise indicated.

  • Annika Anderson, Washington University in St. Louis. Degradation of Antibiotic Resistance Genes During Full-scale and Bench-scale Wastewaster Chlorination (Associate Professor Michael Dodd and Huan He, Civil and Environmental Engineering)
  • Aliyah Bennett, University of Buffalo. Antibiotic Resistance in E. Coli from the Intestinal Tract of Orcas, Wolves, and Coyotes in the Northwest (Professor Marilyn Roberts, David No)
  • Shounak Bose, Case Western Reserve University. Changes in Racial Segregation and Disparities in NO2 Air Pollution Exposure in U.S.Urban Areas between 2000 and 2010 (Professor Julian Marshall, Lara Clark, Civil and Environmental Engineering)
  • Elise Hickman, University of California, Davis. Developmental Modulation of Reelin Expression in Diesel Exhaust Exposed Mice (Professor Lucio Costa, Rachel (Yu-Chi) Chang)
  • Miriam Juarez-Vargas, University of California, Berkeley. Reaching the Hard-to-Reach: Working and Social Conditions of Low-Wage Workers in Seattle, WA (Professor Noah Seixas, Trevor Peckham)
  • Henry Sluka, The College of St. Scholastica. Exposure of mouse hepatocyte cell lines with differential GSH synthesis to glycidol and 3-bromo-1-propanol (Professor Terry Kavanagh, Dianne Botta, Claire Chisholm)

Return to 2016, Issue #2 issue