Dr. John Howard has been appointed by the White House as the new director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

NIOSH's top position had been vacant since the departure of Dr. Linda Rosenstock in November 2000. Rosenstock headed the institute for six years.

Dr. Howard is a well-respected occupational safety and health professional who is both a physician and a lawyer. Since 1991, he has served as Chief, Division of Occupational Safety and Health, Department of Industrial Relations for the state of California.

Acting NIOSH director Kathleen Rest, Ph.D., MPA, stated, "Dr. Howard brings a wealth of professional experience to NIOSH, as well as a strong commitment to occupational health and safety. We are fortunate to have a person of such strong credentials joining us."

NIOSH conducts research on occupational diseases and injuries ranging from lung disease in miners to carpal tunnel syndrome in computer users. Headquartered in Washington, DC, NIOSH has offices in Atlanta, Ga., and research divisions around the country.