Environmental Factor, November 2009, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
WETP Grantee To Be Nominated for FEMA Post
By Eddy Ball
On October 9, President Barack Obama announced his intention to make several high-level nominations, releasing a list that includes NIEHS Worker Education and Training Program (WETP) grantee Elizabeth M. Harman. The President nominated Harman to fill the post of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistant Administrator for the Grant Programs Directorate (GPD) in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
A former firefighter and paramedic in Fairfax City, Va., and a member of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 2702, Harman has served as the director of the NIEHS-supported Hazardous Materials Training Program at the IAFF(http://www.iaff.org/) since 2005. She has also worked extensively with the emergency management community in the areas of administration, exercise and evaluation, and she has taught at various institutions of higher education.
In her FEMA position, Harman will oversee the management of more than 50 grant and financial assistance programs representing approximately $4 billion in non-disaster grant funding annually. She will work to ensure that the grants process is transparent, collaborative and consistent with the Department's major responsibilities and priorities.
In his announcement(http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/President-Obama-Announces-More-Key-Administration-Posts-10/9/09/) about Harman and four other nominees, President Obama said, "As we take on the 21st century challenges facing our nation, I am confident that these individuals will work to keep our nation safe at home, and strengthen our partnerships abroad. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead."
The nomination quickly drew praise from the office of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. "Elizabeth's years of experience in emergency management and program administration will help the Department maximize every security dollar to protect our nation," Napolitano said in a press release(http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/releases/pr_1255449451347.shtm) about the nomination.
Harman's long-time friend and colleague, WETP Director Chip Hughes, pointed to Harman's "frontline experience as a firefighter and paramedic, as well as her involvement in administering state and federal emergency response programs" as reasons to applaud her nomination.
"With her clear focus on responders at the local level," Hughes said, "Elizabeth will bring a wealth of talent and dedication to DHS and FEMA and be a great asset for integrating training and response programs at all levels."