HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has named John Howard, M.D., as director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Howard, who is certified in internal medicine, legal medicine and occupational medicine; is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court bar; and is a lecturer in environmental and occupational health at George Washington University. Howard had served as director of NIOSH in the previous administration for a full six-year term from 2002 until 2008. Since that term ended, Christine Branche served as acting director at NIOSH, says Fred Blosser, a spokesman for the CDC. This appointment is for another six years, Blosser says. As director, Howard will serve in a dual role, as he will also be the World Trade Center Programs coordinator for HHS, a position he held from 2006 until 2008. In 2002, HHS began to administer $125 million that Congress had set aside for screening and monitoring of more than 50,000 World Trade Center responders, recovery workers and volunteers. That program has expanded to also include residents, students and other nonemergency responders affected by the Sept. 11 attacks. According to HHS, Howard was “instrumental” in helping to allocate and release more than $390 million that was dedicated to treatment and planning to help those who are or became ill as a result of the events on Sept. 11, 2001. “Dr. John Howard is one of the nation's leaders in occupational health and worker safety,” Thomas Frieden, M.D., director of the CDC, said in a news release from HHS about Howard's appointment. “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,” he said, adding that Howard brings “dedication” and “passion” to the position.
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