Federal agencies

2020 NIOSH Science and Service Awards: Agency honors scientists, researchers


Washington — NIOSH recently recognized seven individuals, one team, nine publications and three projects/tools as recipients of the agency’s 2020 Science and Service Awards for significant contributions to the field of occupational safety and health.

Chris Coffey, a researcher in respiratory protection, was presented with the James P. Keogh Award, which recognizes a current or former agency employee whose career “exhibits respect and compassion for individual workers, with tireless leadership, courage and a fierce determination to put knowledge into practice to enhance their well-being.”

Over Coffey’s four-decade career, his laboratory and workplace studies on respirator performance served to reduce exposures to inhalation hazards, with an emphasis on filtering facepiece respirators. His research “improved the state of worker protection and helped lead to the establishment of a classification scheme for particulate air-purifying respirators that was established by NIOSH in 1995 and incorporated into federal regulation.” Coffey concluded his career this year, serving as the associate director for science for NIOSH’s National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory – a role he has filled since 2011.

The Director’s Intramural Award for Extraordinary Science, which honors outstanding contributions to scientific excellence by intramural scientists and support staff, was awarded to epidemiologist and certified health physicist Robert Doug Daniels (Lew Wade Distinguished Career Scientist Award), research industrial hygienist Brie Hawley Blackley (Early Career Scientist Award) and biologist Jeffrey Powell (Scientific Support Award).

Recognized for excellence in administrative and managerial support of NIOSH, Service Excellence Award winners are:

  • Diane Papes, management and program analyst (Excellence in Administration)
  • The Human Capital Management Team (Excellence in Human Capital Management)
  • Imelda Wong, senior service fellow, and Suzanne Alison, program operations assistant (Excellence in Leadership)

The Bullard-Sherwood Research-to-Practice Award – recognizing outstanding contributions in knowledge, intervention and technology – were presented to two projects. One projects was designed to better understand the exposures and health impacts of firefighting and reduce exposure and health risks, preparedness and response efforts to ensure NIOSH-approved air-purifying respirator canisters can protect emergency responders against emerging hazards. The other is the EXAMiner Hazard Recognition Tool to help mine workers identify the safety and health hazards at their jobsite.

The Alice Hamilton Awards for scientific excellence of technical and instructional materials by NIOSH scientists and engineers during 2019 covered topics such as traffic-related collisions among law enforcement, hearing health in various industries, a new e-tool for assessing workplace chemicals, methods for measuring vibration transmission, and protecting miners from dust, birth defects and lung disease.


The Slip-Resistant Shoes Reduce Food Services Worker Slip Injuries infographic (original category) and the topic page “World Trade Center Health Program, How to Apply” (before and after category) were given NIOSH’s Plain Language Award, which recognizes communication products that demonstrate excellence in applying plain language principles so science can be accessible to all who need it.

“Dedication to the NIOSH mission has taken on a new meaning this year, as NIOSH demonstrates the ability to adjust and apply its expertise to a global cause,” NIOSH Director John Howard, who presented the awards virtually, said in a June 24 press release. “Today, we take time to recognize the talented and dedicated staff at NIOSH and the important work happening across the institute that helps us accomplish our mission of generating new knowledge in the field of occupational safety and health and transferring that knowledge into practice.”

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