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President Obama Appoints Hunter Professor Emeritus Kotelchuck to Key Post

President Obama has announced the appointment of Hunter College Professor Emeritus, Dr. David Kotelchuck, to the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health.

The Board, established in 2000 as part of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act, advises the Secretary of Health and Human Services on guidelines for assessing whether an employee's cancer diagnosis can be traced to work performed at a Department of Energy or Atomic Weapons Employer facility. 

Kotelchuck, who is expected to be sworn in this month, was surprised to hear the President's announcement.  "I was not expecting to be nominated, much less appointed. I am absolutely honored," he said.

The founder and former director of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at Hunter College, Kotelchuck was honored in 2008 with the Alice Hamilton Award from the American Public Health Association for his role in improving and advocating for worker health and safety.

Kotelchuck said that his work at Hunter, specifically his time as director of the Hazardous Substances Academic Training Program, prepared him well for his membership on the advisory board.  He also made particular mention of his time in the classroom, saying that, "For over 20 years I taught the graduate course Noise and Radiation Hazards and Controls, and through that I was able to keep up with what was going on in the field."  He added, "I would tell my classes that I had personally been exposed to radiation and appear to have escaped the bullet," referring to some of his earliest work as an experimentalist in high-energy physics, often in environments where radiation exposure was part of the job.

While at Hunter, Kotelchuck also served as the deputy director of the New York/New Jersey Education and Research Center and as an adjunct associate professor at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.  He received a BA in physics from Johns Hopkins University, a PhD in physics from Cornell, and an MPH in occupational health from the Harvard School of Public Health.

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