Purdue Prof to Speak on IH Profession's Challenges, Rewards, Vibrancy

This year's recipient of the Donald E. Cummings Memorial Award honoring outstanding contributions to the industrial hygiene profession is Neil J. Zimmerman, Ph.D., PE, CIH, of the Purdue University School of Health Sciences in West Lafayette, Ind. As one of the highlights of today's AIHce 2010 lineup, Zimmerman is set to deliver the Cummings Award Lecture today from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 401 of the Colorado Convention Center. The timely but potentially misleading title of his lecture is "Sustainability and Industrial Hygiene."

"No, I am not going to discuss the topic of sustainability as most people think about it: making AIHce more 'green,' climate change, energy resource conservation, technology innovations, LEED certification, recycling, etc.," Zimmerman said of his presentation. "I am, however, going to discuss what I think is a much more critical and important topic: the sustainability of our profession. I will focus on three needs: 1) to expand our efforts to nurture and encourage young people to consider industrial hygiene as a profession; 2) to expand our efforts to advertise our contributions to society more widely and effectively; and 3) to provide outreach services to benefit others, which will also contribute to our public relations efforts."

Zimmerman has been a guiding force at Purdue for 20 years. He developed most of the undergraduate curriculum, combining academic rigor with training in practical skills. Through his leadership, Purdue became the only school in the country to receive ABET accreditation of both undergraduate and graudate programs. AIHce organizers say his teaching and research exemplifies the interdisciplinary nature of occupational and environmental health, and that his research applies industrial hygiene methods to assess exposure and health risks in both workplace and community environments.

"Ours is a noble, rewarding, challenging, exciting, worthwhile, and vibrant profession," he said. "Unfortunately, in the past we have, through our own lack of action, allowed this information to be a fairly well-kept secret! That has certainly improved in recent years, but our efforts need to be redoubled."

The Cummings Memorial Award was established in 1943 as a tribute to AIHA's third present.

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