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American Society of Safety Engineers Urge Bush to Reappoint Howard Director of The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health

Posted in on Thu, May 22, 2008

Des Plaines, IL (May 22, 2008) — After learning changes may be made in D.C. despite the advances in workplace safety efforts at the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) under the leadership of Dr. John Howard, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) urges President George Bush to renew Howard’s appointment.

“ASSE has seen a significant advancement of the mission of NIOSH within the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Centers for Disease Control (CDC) under the creative and dedicated leadership of Dr. Howard,” ASSE President Michael W. Thompson, CSP, said in his letter to President Bush. “Dr. Howard has been instrumental in unleashing a wealth of talent at NIOSH and helping bring together the research and educational resources of NIOSH to the day-to-day practice of our members in workplaces across the nation.”

ASSE recently learned that CDC’s leadership will not renew Dr. Howard’s six-year appointment as NIOSH Director.

“We do not know why such a highly competent leader and administrator of an agency that has been, by any measure, a success in the eyes of our members and the entire safety and health community should not be reappointed,” Thompson wrote. “The very positive impact your Administration has had on occupational safety and health through Dr. Howard should be allowed to continue to the end and beyond this Administration. We can think of no more fitting legacy for your Administration’s success in providing leadership in occupational safety and health than by allowing Dr. Howard to continue in this role.”

In his letter Thompson reviewed a number of NIOSH accomplishments under Dr. Howard including 1) greatly improved integration of the safety and health community in setting NIOSH’s research agenda as evidenced by the significantly increased involvement of ASSE members and others in safety and health in the NORA agenda-setting process; 2) leadership in addressing the safety and health risks of emerging technologies, most notably nanotechnology; 3) increased accountability for NIOSH’s research programs by inviting examination through the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, thereby assuring that this nation’s investment in occupational safety and health research is well placed; and, 4) active outreach to safety and health practitioners and bringing the research results funded through NIOSH directly to the job site where ASSE members work.

ASSE, an organization founded in 1911 with more than 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental safety professionals, urges you to ensure that Secretary Mike Leavitt reappoints Dr. Howard as Director of NIOSH, wrote Thompson.

The Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the largest and oldest professional safety organization and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its more than 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor and education. For more information please go to

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