28 October 2016
Richard Lemen honored with the Irving J. Selikoff AwardThe Collegium Ramazzini and the Town of Carpi are proud to recognize Richard Lemen, Ph.D. as the Irving J. Selikoff Award recipient for 2016. Dr. Lemen was presented with this award during the annual Ramazzini Days meeting in Carpi, Italy on 28 October 2016. Collegium Ramazzini President Philip J. Landrigan shared the following highlights from Dr. Lemen's career.
Dr. Richard Lemen has worked for over 50 years as an epidemiologist and leader in occupational and environmental health. He has dedicated his career to promoting the improvement of working conditions for people all over the world, thus embodying and extending the great legacy of Irving Selikoff, co-founder of the Collegium Ramazzini.
Dr. Lemen began his public health career with the United States Army and the Missouri Department of Health. He then joined the United States Bureau of Occupational Safety and Health, the predecessor to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). His early work included some of the initial field investigations and epidemiological studies on asbestos, visiting some of the highest exposure industrial facilities in the United States. His work at NIOSH included many other pioneering epidemiological studies including Bischloromethyl ether (BCME), benzidene dyes, and styrene-butadiene in the rubber industry. During this time, he also began working on his PhD in Epidemiology, earning his degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1991. Meanwhile, he was promoted to another position at NIOSH as head of the division publishing criteria documents and other exposure limit recommendations. He then became Deputy Director of the agency before retiring in 1996.
In 1991, Dr. Lemen received the Distinguished Service Medal from the US Public Health Service and the Surgeon General's Exemplary Service Medal. He authored many scientific publications on asbestos and other occupational exposures and was the US Government's official expert on the health effects of asbestos. He served on many scientific advisory committees and also testified before Congress numerous times.
Rather than opting for a restful retirement, Dr. Lemen has instead become a tireless advocate for the prevention of asbestos-related diseases in the United States and throughout the world. His scientific knowledge has made him a formidable expert in legal proceedings on behalf of the victims of asbestos. He has also continued to lecture on the hazards of asbestos to scientific groups and work with asbestos victim advocacy organizations in the United States and in Europe. He has been a key contributor to the Collegium Ramazzini Statements on asbestos. Dr. Lemen also serves on the United States Presidential Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health.
Richard - Dick to his Collegium colleagues - has continued in the footsteps of the Collegium founders, combining scientific achievement with public service and advocacy. He worked closely with Dr. Selikoff on the original efforts to eliminate asbestos-related diseases and has never given up on that ongoing fight. It is a great privilege for the Collegium Ramazzini to bestow this well-deserved honor upon our friend, colleague and public health hero.