27 October 2013
Kathleen Ruff given Special Award from the Collegium RamazziniThe Collegium Ramazzini and the Town of Carpi are proud to recognize KATHLEEN RUFF as the recipient of a Special Award to honor her steadfast and effective advocacy in the international effort to ban the ongoing use of asbestos and for promoting better occupational and environmental health protections throughout the world.
Kathleen Ruff has been active in human rights law for many years. From 1972 to 1979, she served as director of the British Columbia Human Rights Commission. She was the founding publisher and editor of the Canadian Human Rights Reporter and host of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television program Ombudsman. From 1986 to 1993 she published the Canadian Human Rights Advocate. She was also the director of the Canadian Court Challenges Program which supported precedent setting legal cases on equality and language rights under the Canadian Constitution. She is also the founder of the human rights website RightOnCanada.ca and Senior Advisor on Human Rights to the Rideau Institute.
Kathleen Ruff's human rights work intersected with the work of the Collegium when she turned her attention to environmental and occupational health and in 2007 organized a social movement to close the asbestos mines in Canada. Her report, Exporting Harm: how Canada markets asbestos to the developing world, focused on the damage done by Canada's defense of its continued export of asbestos, largely to developing countries and its role as a propagandist for the asbestos industry. Her efforts working with supporters from Canada and elsewhere led the Quebec and Canadian governments to eventually change their policies on asbestos. In 2012, she led the fight against the attempt to reopen the Quebec asbestos mines.
She founded the Rotterdam Convention Alliance in order to provide a voice and vehicle for environmental, labor, and health organizations to defend and promote the full and effective implementation of the Rotterdam Convention. Working with several fellows of the Collegium, she has been a leading advocate for a worldwide ban on asbestos and has been a key voice in countering the efforts of Canada, India, and later Russia to block the inclusion of chrysotile asbestos under the convention.
Kathleen Ruff's efforts on asbestos have been recognized by the Canadian Public Health Association in presenting her with their National Public Health Hero Award in 2011. The Collegium Ramazzini is proud to present this special award to someone who has partnered with us and has done so much to ban the further use of this deadly material. In bringing the perspective of human rights to the global asbestos struggle, her advocacy efforts have already helped to save countless lives and exemplify the mission of the Collegium to be a bridge between scientific work and the social and political efforts to protect public health.
26 October 2013
Dr. John Froines awarded 2013 Ramazzini Award by the Collegium Ramazzini The Collegium Ramazzini and the Town of Carpi are proud to recognize JOHN R. FROINES as Ramazzini Award recipient and Ramazzini Lecturer for 2013 for his outstanding career in occupational and environmental health research and advocacy, especially his pioneering work to develop the federal occupational lead and cotton dust exposure standards in the United States and his work in California that led to the recognition of diesel exhaust as a significant toxic air contaminant, preserving the health and the lives of millions.
Dr. John Froines has led a remarkable 45-year career. He is a scientist, a teacher, a public servant and a leader. John Froines has translated his research to inform policy in both occupational medicine and in environmental health, thus embodying and extending the indomitable legacy of Bernardino Ramazzini.
John Froines established his scientific credentials with an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in physical-organic chemistry from Yale. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Nobel Laureate Sir George Porter at the Royal Institution of Great Britain. Throughout the 1960's John was involved in social justice issues including civil rights and opposition to the Vietnam War. He was one of the Chicago 7, a trial of a generation which became widely recognized.
John combined his passions for social justice and for science by pursuing a career in occupational and environmental health. As Director of the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Program he developed effective regulatory standards for the state's nuclear power plant. He also established an occupational safety and health regulatory program and defended it against federal efforts to weaken state enforcement. Under the leadership of Dr. Eula Bingham, John joined the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 1977 as Director of its Office for Toxic Substances Standards. There he developed the lead and cotton dust standards, two of most comprehensive occupational health standards ever crafted. He then served as the Deputy Director of the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
In 1980 UCLA's School of Public Health recruited John to their faculty, where he chaired the School of Public Health's Department of Environmental Health Sciences and directed the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. During this time John always kept the policy applications of science in sight. He led an evaluation of MTBE use in gasoline in California that played a critical role nationally in phasing out this chemical. His work on fire stations became a key evidence-based document in government advisories on fire station design. Since 1999, Dr. Froines has focused on air pollution and conducted research on the mechanisms of pollution's health effects. As chair of the California State Scientific Review Panel on Toxic Air Contaminants, he was a key player regulating diesel as a human lung carcinogen. He also led a committee to review the state's risk assessment for methyl iodide which led to its removal from the entire US market.
In 2011 the California Air Resources Board honored John Froines as an "outstanding individual who has made significant contributions toward improving air quality through his lifetime of commitment, perseverance, leadership, and innovation in research and environmental policy." In 2012, Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles chapter recognized his "courageous commitment to scientific integrity and to increasing understanding of the impacts of toxic chemicals on the health of workers and communities."
John Froines' extraordinary public health accomplishments - which continue to this day - have never before been recognized with an international award. It is the great privilege of the Collegium Ramazzini to be the first to bestow this well-deserved honor upon our friend, colleague and public health hero.
12 August 2013
Collegium Ramazzini Fellow Ana Soto named Blaise Pascal Chair in Biology at the Ecole normale superieure in ParisThe Collegium Ramazzini extends its most sincere congratulations to Fellow Ana Soto, who was named Blaise Pascal Chair in Biology at the Ecole normale superieure in Paris.
The Blaise Pascal Chair, (Chaires Internationales de Recherche Blaise Pascal, France) was established in 1996 by the Government of the Ile-de-France Region for internationally acclaimed foreign scientists in all disciplines. A scientific committee annually selects the most outstanding candidates from all over the world. Since its inception a number of famous scientists were the Blaise Pascal Chair laureates: G?rard Debreu (UC Berkeley, 1983 Nobel Prize in Economics), Ahmed Zewail (Caltech, 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry), Igor Mel'čuk (University of Montreal, the world leading researcher in linguistics), George Smoot (LBL, 2006 Nobel Prize in experimental Astrophysics), Robert Langlands (UBC, 1996 Wolf Prize, one of the most influential mathematicians of the 20th century), outstanding theoretical physicists Gabriele Veneziano (CERN/College de France), Alexander Zamolodchikov (Rutgers), and others.
Each year four scientists are chosen for this great honor; Collegium Ramazzini Fellow Ana Soto is this year's recipient of the biology chair. Her predecessor in biology is Elizabeth Blackburn, a Nobel Laureate. Professor Soto will spend 12 months in France at Ecole Normale Superieure over two years, working on a project to develop theoretical insights on the complexity of development. Her host is Professor Giuseppe Longo, a member of the European Academy of Sciences.
See announcement (in French) on Ecole normale superieure website.
01 July 2013
Prestigious Paracelsus Medal awarded to Emeritus Fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini, Professor Hans-Joachim Woitowitz (Germany)The prestigious Paracelsus Medal awarded to Emeritus Fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini, Professor Hans-Joachim Woitowitz (Germany), for his outstanding contribution to occupational health, his life's work on Asbestos research and regulation and his unbending fight for Asbestos-victims and their compensation. The Paracelsus Medal is the highest distinction of the German Federal Medical Association, the chamber representation of all 400.000 German physicians. Among the recipients are distinguished names such as Albert Schweitzer.
The award has been granted annually since 1952 during the General Medical Assembly, usually to three physicians for outstanding academic achievement, for exemplary conduct or for contribution to the medical profession. Hans Joachim Woitowitz has fulfilled not only one, but all three selection criteria: He received the honor for his clinical and scientific work as well as for his great commitment to occupa-tional and general public health and for his diligent work towards ensuring good professionalism among the generation of occupational physicians to come.
Hans Joachim Woitowitz was the chair of the Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational and Social Medicine of the University Giessen for nearly 30 years. His main interest focused on occupational cancer risk, especially through the exposure to Asbestos. He was one of the first to raise his voice against the uncontrolled and ubiquitous use of Asbestos and has significantly contributed to Asbestos regulation and compensation practice in Germany through high-level policy advice. He still provides expert opinion on suspected Asbestos-related disease to most of the German Social Law Courts and voluntarily assists Asbestos victims in their fight for receiving justice and compensation, often in charity work.
Hans Joachim Woitowitz was born in Allenstein (East Prussia) on October, 18, 1935 and grew up in Saxo-ny and later Westphalia where his family had taken refuge. He attended Medical School in Marburg and Koln. After finishing his doctoral thesis, he followed Helmut Valentin, his scientific teacher at that time, in 1965 to the University Erlangen-Nurnberg to establishing a new Institute for Occupational Medicine and Social Medicine. After board qualification in Internal Medicine in 1969 and later in Occupational Medicine, he received the E. W. Baader Award for outstanding scientific work by the German Association for Occupational Medicine. His PhD Thesis "Occupational medial and epidemiologi-cal investigations of the immediate health risks of Asbestos" was honored again with the E. W. Baader Award. Work on Asbestos became his calling. The intensive research and occupation with the intricacies of Asbestos soon lead to the recognition of the severe danger to human health through ubiquitous use of the substance and helped to elucidate also the more hidden and delayed forms of Asbestosis-related disease such as the various forms of malignancies in several organ systems. In 1974, Hans Joachim Woitowitz became Chair of the Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational and Social Medicine of the University Giessen and filled the position until his retirement in 2004.
His profound expertise was widely recognized far beyond the world of science. He has served as a key policy advisor, participating and chairing various high-level working groups. His advice was essential in leading to the German Ban of Asbestos in 1993. Of equal importance was his influence on the regulation of the recognition occupational disease.
He was extremely committed to the formation of a future generation of occupational physicians through personal teaching, as well as through using all influence to establish an Academy for Occupational Medicine and Social Medicine in Bad Nauheim, and through his active involvement into the modernization of the occupational physicians' training curriculum in adaptation to the changing world of work during recent decades. He served as a longstanding member of the Permanent Conference on Occupational Medicine of the German Federal Medical Association.
Hans Joachim Woitowitz was an influential member of the executive board of the German Society for Occupational Medicine from 1991 to 2000. In 1987 he was elected Fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini. He was member of the executive board of the Ramazzini Institute for Occupational and Environmental Health Research in Solomons, Washington, USA. He is author of more than 500 scientific publications.
His untiring commitment was publicly recognized and honored at many occasions: The double decoration with the E. Baader Award was followed by the Federal Cross of Merit, the Ernst-von-Bergmann-Plakette of the German Federal Medical Association, the Ramazzini Award of the Collegium Ramazzini, and others more.
He has been married to physician Dr. Rotraud Helga Woitowitz for 54 years, they have two daughters and three grandchildren.