Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the selection of John Howard, M.D., as the new director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), effective immediately. Dr. Howard will assume a dual role. In addition to being the director of NIOSH, he will also serve as the World Trade Center Programs coordinator for HHS.
Dr. Howard, who is currently a distinguished consultant at the CDC, served as NIOSH director from 2002 through 2008. He also served as coordinator of HHS’ World Trade Center Health Programs from 2006 to 2008.
“Dr. Howard brings a wealth of administrative experience from his service in both state and federal governments and a long history of personal dedication and professional achievement to the field of occupational health and safety,” Secretary Sebelius said. “His leadership will serve NIOSH well in a time of unprecedented challenges and opportunities.”
In 2002, HHS began to administer $125 million that Congress set aside for screening and monitoring of more than 50,000 World Trade Center responders, recovery workers and volunteers, and recently expanded the program to include residents, students, and other non-emergency responders impacted by the 9/11 disaster. Howard was instrumental in the allocation and release of more than $390 million dedicated to treatment and in working with the medical and scientific communities to develop a plan to help those who are or became ill from 9/11.
“All workers should be protected against all known job and workplace hazards,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, CDC director. “Dr. John Howard is one of the nation's leaders in occupational health and worker safety. He’s worked with the scientists, medical professionals, and workers to effectively lead investigations into new and potential health hazards, and to address workplace health and safety concerns. Importantly, he brings to this position the dedication and passion needed to achieve the safest workplaces possible.”
Dr. Howard is board-certified in internal medicine, legal medicine, and occupational medicine. He is also admitted to the practice of medicine and law in the state of California and in the District of Columbia, and he is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court bar. He has written numerous articles on occupational health, law, and policy, and serves as a professorial lecturer in environmental and occupational health in the School of Public Health and Health Services at The George Washington University.
Dr. Howard received a doctor of medicine degree from the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University of Chicago in 1974, a master of public health degree from the Harvard University School of Public Health in 1982, a doctor of laws from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1986, and a master of laws degree in administrative law and economic regulation from George Washington University in 1987.
NIOSH is the part of the CDC that conducts scientific research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related illnesses and injuries. NIOSH is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and has facilities in Atlanta, Ga.; Morgantown, W.Va.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Spokane, Wash.; Denver, Colo., and Anchorage, Alaska.