February 26th 2019
Emeritus Fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini Stanislaw Tarkowski passed away on 21 January 2019.
Prof. Tarkowski had been a Fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini since October 2001. He was elected to Fellowship in recognition of his high scientific stature and authority and lifelong commitment to the public's health. He was a Fellow Emeritus of the Collegium Ramazzini from 2012 until the time of his death.
Professor Tarkowski served as a member of the scientific staff of the Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine in Lodz, Poland for nearly 60 years beginning in 1960. He received a Doctor of Science degree from the University of Lodz in 1967. In 1972, Professor Tarkowski was appointed as a head of the Toxicology Laboratory at the Nofer Institute and in 1973, head of the Institute's Department of Biochemistry. During the years 1973-1976 Prof. Tarkowski coordinated a project for the development of industrial toxicology within the Nofer Institute which was implemented in co-operation with UNDP and WHO through an agreement between UNDP and the Polish Government. In consequence of this project, modern laboratories for experimental toxicology, chemical analysis and epidemiology were established at the Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine and Prof. Tarkowski was appointed as Director of the Institute's Division of Industrial Toxicology.
During the 1970s, Prof. Tarkowski served the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a consultant and expert in the areas of toxicology and occupational health. In 1981, WHO invited Prof. Tarkowski to take a post as Scientific Advisor on Toxicology and Chemical Safety to the WHO European Regional Office and asked him to develop and co-ordinate implementation of a Toxicology and Chemical Safety Programme across the European Region. Since 1984, this Programme has also included a Workers' Health Programme.
In 1988, the Director General of WHO nominated Prof. Tarkowski to the post of Director of the Department of Environment and Health at the WHO Regional Office for Europe. This responsibility included development and implementation of the WHO programme in Europe concerning policy and strategy for prevention of health risks associated with environment pollution, occupational health hazards, promotion of health supporting environments, studies on environmental health risk, developing scientific health based criteria for prevention and control of environmental and occupational health hazards. On Prof. Tarkowski's initiative and with his active participation, WHO issued their first Report on Environment and Health in Europe, including a review of European occupational health services and air quality guidelines. He was also the initiator of the first European Conference of Ministers of Health and Environment in Frankfurt in 1989, which resulted in adoption of the European Charter on Environment and Health. From his initiative the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health and the European Committee for Environment and Health were established.
Following his retirement from WHO in 1996, Prof. Tarkowski resumed his work in the Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine in Lodz Poland where he was appointed Professor of the Institute and Head of the Department of Environmental Health Hazards. From 2004 he became a Professor at the School of Public Health of the Nofer Institute. In 2000, he was elected President of Polish Association of Public Health, and in 2007 he joined the Executive Board of European Public Health Association (EUPHA) as President-Elect. In 2009/2010, he served as President of the EUPHA and organized in his home town of Lodz, Poland an extremely successful European Public Health Conference. He was especially concerned about the need to strengthen the public health workforce to make it fit for the future. He had been arguing for over many years the importance of understanding the influences of the environment for health. In this respect, the European Public Health Conference in Lodz was an opportunity to look to the future and especially to anticipate the threat posed by climate change. Even after his retirement, Prof. Tarkowski continued to support the work of EUPHA until the time of his final illness.
Stan Tarkowski had a great passion for classical music and photography. He left a legacy of countless photographic images to let others know how he saw the world and how to remember.
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