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Section Editor(s): Dreger, Marianne Department Editor

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: January 2011 - Volume 53 - Issue 1 - p 107-108
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3182098f2b
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The Western Occupational and Environmental Medical Association (WOEMA), an American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) component society, presented two of its prestigious awards last October at the 2010 Western Occupational Health Conference (WOHC) in Newport Beach, California. WOEMA Awards Chair, James Seward, MD, presented the Rutherford T. Johnstone Award to John R. Balmes, MD, and the Jean Spencer Felton Award to Marc B. Schenker, MD, MPH.


Dr Balmes is Professor of Medicine at the University of California in San Francisco, Chief of the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital, and Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, where he serves as Director of the Northern California Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. He is also a member of the California Air Resources Board.

Dr Balmes was the 41st recipient of the Johnstone Award that recognizes outstanding contributions to furthering the medical specialty of occupational and environmental medicine. In accepting this award from WOEMA, he recalled similarities in his career with that of Dr Johnstone, as both were clinicians and authors, neither served as a corporate medical director, and only to a limited extent was either responsible for routine activities at an industrial plant. Dr Balmes also stated the need for employers and OSHA to be accountable for worker safety and the belief that a safety culture must be fostered in a way that it becomes unacceptable to cut procedural corners putting worker safety at risk to save either time or money.

Dr Balmes, an ACOEM member since 1982, was also the recipient of the ACOEM Robert A. Kehoe Award of Merit in 2006 and the WOEMA Jean Spencer Felton Award for Excellence in Scientific Writing in 2002. He received his MD from Mount Sinai School of Medicine and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in pulmonary medicine.


Dr Schenker is Professor of Public Health and Medicine, Department of Public Health Sciences, at the University of California Davis School of Medicine. He is Director, at UC Davis Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, Director of the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety Center, and Director of the Migration and Health Research Center.

Dr Schenker was the 30th recipient of the Felton Award for Excellence in Scientific Writing that is bestowed in memory of the late Dr Felton, Professor Emeritus of the University of California Irvine, School of Medicine, and presented to a WOEMA member who has contributed significantly to the body of knowledge in the field of occupational and environmental medicine. Dr Schenker received the award in recognition for his publications in the areas of environmental and occupational risk factors for respiratory disease and lung cancer, health hazards of agricultural exposures, occupational reproductive hazards, migration and health, and international issues in occupational and environmental health.

Dr Schenker joined ACOEM in 2009. He received his MD from the University of California at San Francisco and his MPH from Harvard School of Public Health. He is certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine in occupational medicine and by the American Board of Internal Medicine in pulmonary medicine.

ACOEM component, Western OEMA, has announced its new officers and directors for 2011. The following members took office on January 1: Paul Papanek, Jr, MD, Chairman of the Board; Roger Belcourt, MD, President; Walter Newman, Jr, MD, President-Elect; Leslie Israel, DO, First Vice President; Ellyn McIntosh, MD, Second Vice President; Peter Swann, MD, Secretary; and Dinesh Govindarao, MD, Treasurer.

Fulfilling positions as WOEMA Directors are Pat Luedtke, MD; Ramon Terrazas, MD; Rupali Das, MD; Peter Vasquez, MD; Scott Levy, MD; and Paula Lenny, MD.

ACOEM's Commercial Driver Medical Examiner Course will be held on February 11, 2011, at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, Atlanta Airport, Atlanta, Ga. Course Director, Natalie Hartenbaum, MD, will provide the latest information about the upcoming Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME). When the NRCME is established in 2011, only those examiners on this roster will be allowed to perform medical examinations on commercial drivers, and to become NRCME-designated, examiners will be required to successfully complete training and pass a certification test.

This single-day course is for the physician, physician's assistant, advanced practice nurse, occupational health nurse, or other health care professionals responsible for, or involved in, certifying the more than 8 million commercial drivers on today's US highways. It will review the federal regulations for evaluating driver medical fitness and teach participants how to apply these rules effectively during an examination.

For additional information and online registration, visit the ACOEM Web site at Call ACOEM at 847/818-1800 with course questions (ext. 391) or for registration via telephone (ext. 374).

The 2011 American Occupational Health Conference (AOHC) will be held on March 26–29 (schedule included in this issue) at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC. Eight preconference courses will be offered on March 24–25, as follows:

The full-day Medical Review Officer (MRO) Assistant Course on March 24 is for those who provide support to MROs. This training is offered in conjunction with MRO training and is unique in that both MROs, and MRO Assistants will participate in certain segments of the training together. In addition, each group will have separate training tailored to their specific duties and responsibilities as MROs and MRO Assistants.

Health and Productivity Management (HPM) Clinic, also a single-day course on March 24, will present the latest in research and practical applications related to HPM. This training program is designed for HR/benefits professionals, physicians, and other occupational health professionals who want to know how to assess and manage the value from an investment in workforce productivity and be able to make their case for change to senior management.

Work Disability Prevention for Clinicians: Mastering Your Role in the SAW/RTW Process is offered on March 24. This course aids physicians who must make the challenging decision about a patient's return to work. It builds confidence to provide accurate guidance about ability to work, medical restrictions, and functional limitations to patients, their employers, insurers, and government agencies.

The Medical Review Officer (MRO) Fast Track Course will be held on March 24–25. This course offers current and aspiring MROs an excellent opportunity to increase their knowledge and familiarity with changes in substance abuse testing and federal regulations affecting the role of MROs and complies with the Department of Transportation requirements for MRO qualification and requalification training.

Occupational Medicine Board Review Course will take place March 24–25. This course provides expert assistance and instruction in advance of the board certification examination. It refreshes knowledge related to examination content, helps identify strengths and weaknesses in preparation, and provides insight on how to concentrate on areas needing additional review. The American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM) will hold an examination in the afternoon of March 25 (visit for separate examination information and registration).

Foundations in Occupational Medicine—Segment 2, to be held on March 24–25, is for physicians interested in, but not particularly familiar with, occupational medicine (OM). The Foundations in OM series provides an excellent and comprehensive introduction and is composed of two segments that do not need to be taken in order.

The single-day NIOSH-Approved Spirometry Refresher—Physician Update on March 25 covers spirometry's pitfalls and optimal interpretative algorithms, as well as diagnostic tests used to establish or rule out a diagnosis of lung disease, and includes case examples to illustrate the use of spirometry along with other tests to evaluate workers for lung disease. The 2010 ACOEM and 2005 American Thoracic Society spirometry guidelines are highlighted, techniques and equipment will be demonstrated, and participant spirometry reports will be critiqued. This course, however, does not confer formal NIOSH spirometry certification unless a full NIOSH-approved course was completed since 2000 and other conditions have been met.

OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Process is also a single-day course offering on March 25. This course covers review of the recordkeeping rules and requirements, underlying concepts, case analysis process, recording criteria and mechanics, and auditing process as they relate to the Occupational Safety and Health Act. It also discusses OSHA's recent Recordkeeping National Emphasis Program along with a question and answer period.

For more information, visit the ACOEM Web site at or call the ACOEM Education Department at 847/ 818-1800, ext. 391. Registration is available online, or by calling 847/818-1800, ext. 374.

©2011The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine