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October 28, 2002
28 Oct 2002: Pioneering Environmental Health Investigator James Huff Named to Receive Annual David P. Rall Award
James Huff, Ph.D., a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences investigator who helped launch federal programs that categorize the potential hazards of chemicals for scientists and laymen, will receive the American Public Health Association's third annual David P. Rall Award for Advocacy in Public Health.
The 55,000 member association's top advocacy award will be presented at its 130th annual meeting in Philadelphia on Nov. 10.
The award was established in memory of Dr. Rall, who directed the institute beginning in 1971 and who created and directed the National Toxicology Program, headquartered at NIEHS in Research Triangle Park, N.C., from its inception in 1978 until his retirement from both posts in 1990. The evident need for the NTP was to bring together the various toxicology efforts of DHHS. Dr. Rall died after an automobile accident in France in 1999.
Dr. Huff, like Dr. Rall, has been associated with NIEHS and the NTP for much of his scientific career. He was the first employee hired for the National Toxicology Program by Dr. Rall, whom he fondly calls a key mentor, model and friend.
Under Rall, Dr. Huff helped modernize and bring together the federal toxicology program's series of reports on environmental chemicals and other agents. More than 500 two-year, two-species, both-gender rodent studies have been published, resulting in revised labeling, standards setting, and restrictions on some of the materials. Twenty-two years ago, he helped launch the production of the first Congressionally mandated Report on Carcinogens, which now lists more than 200 cancer-causing substances requiring regulation, labeling or restriction. Dr. Huff also categorized the levels of evidence to interpret and communicate study results to the public.
Before joining NIEHS/NTP, Dr. Huff under the leadership of Dr. Lorenzo Tomatis, was chief of the Monographs Program evaluating cancer risks to humans at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France. Before that he was chief of four units involved in the assessment of health effects of chemicals and other environmental and occupational exposures at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
Before he had a high school diploma, he was a medic and pharmacist in the U.S. Air Force. He later graduated and then earned his B.S. and M.S. from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science in 1963 and 1965 respectively, and earned his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1968.
NIEHS/NTP Director Kenneth Olden, Ph.D., said, "I am very pleased that Dr. James Huff is the recipient of the David P. Rall Award. James worked with Dr. Rall for a number of years and I can think of nobody more appropriate to receive this award than Dr. Huff. It is a great honor to both Dr. Huff and NIEHS."
Dr. Mohammad Akhter, MD, MPH, Executive Director, APHA stated in his letter "For your outstanding record of accomplishments in the application of scientific research findings to public health policy and prevention, APHA is honored to recognize you as the recipient of the David P. Rall Award for Advocacy in Public Health. The Award Committee acknowledged your wealth of knowledge and experience in chemical carcinogenesis and toxicology . . . that have guided our nation's efforts at public health protection for more than twenty years."
In addition to his scientific career, Dr. Huff has pursued many interests over the years. He was a semi-pro baseball catcher; in recent years he has followed a rigorous running regimen, running in various distance races and a marathon, and working out with running partners decades his junior. He is a painter and poet, and resides in Chapel Hill with his wife Jackie and daughter Hannah. Huff has four other grown children.
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