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Editor(s): Dreger, Marianne Department Editor

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: July 2011 - Volume 53 - Issue 7 - p 824-825
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3182276798
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The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) presented its annual awards March 26 during the Opening Session of the 2011 American Occupational Health Conference in Washington, DC. Recognized for their contributions to the field of occupational and environmental medicine (OEM) were four physicians and the authors of the paper judged an outstanding Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM) article. Award recipients are as follows.

William S. Knudsen Award

The highest award in OEM, the Knudsen Award was created in 1938 by William Knudsen, then president of General Motors and an advocate for worker health and safety, to recognize an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of OEM.


Douglas A. Benner, MD, FACOEM, Coordinator of Occupational Health, Kaiser Permanente Regional Occupational Health, Oakland, CA, was recognized for his OEM contributions through his exemplary efforts as a member on various ACOEM committees and component leadership at the Western Occupational and Environmental Medical Association (WOEMA) that was responsible for leading their Board in strategic planning efforts resulting in its current mission—Education, Leadership, and Service. Dr Benner is also a valued advisor on such diverse topics as utilization review, medical provider networks, and the permanent disability rating schedule grounded in his years of experience and vast knowledge of occupational medicine. In addition, through his work at Kaiser Permanente, Dr Benner has given freely of his time and expertise to the state of California's efforts on workers’ compensation reform.

Dr Benner received his MD from Indiana University School of Medicine and is certified in occupational medicine by the American Board of Preventive Medicine. A long-time ACOEM member, he earned his Fellow designation in 1988. He is also a past president of WOEMA and was bestowed their Rutherford T. Johnstone Award in 2005.

Meritorious Service Award

The Meritorious Service Award was established in 1945 to recognize an ACOEM member who has provided laudable service to the College.


Kurt T. Hegmann, MD, MPH, FACOEM, Professor and Center Director, Dr Paul S. Richards Endowed Chair in Occupational Safety and Health, Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, was honored for his tireless work to expand the visibility of ACOEM and OEM. His exceptional work as the editor of the ACOEM Occupational Medicine Practice Guidelines has resulted in major revisions to all of its chapters, and as editor-in-chief, he has been responsible for maintaining the highest scientific standards for reviewing evidence-based literature, thus ensuring the most rigorous, reproducible, and transparent occupational health guidelines available. He has generously donated his time and expertise in helping the College advance its mission.

Dr Hegmann earned his MD from the Medical College of Wisconsin and his MPH from the University of Utah. He is certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine in occupational medicine and by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr Hegmann joined ACOEM in 1991 and was elevated to Fellow status in 1996.

Health Achievement in Occupational Medicine Award

Created in 1948, this annual award is presented to recognize an ACOEM member for a specific or unique achievement in the field of OEM.


Jennifer H. Christian, MD, MPH, FACOEM, President and Chief Medical Officer of Webility Corporation in Wayland, MA, received this award for her achievements in OEM, specifically her efforts in disability prevention and as an emissary of occupational medicine to the world of industry, government, and disability management. Dr Christian was also cited for her leadership roles at ACOEM, including chairing the group that developed the guideline “Preventing Needless Work Disability by Helping People Stay Employed” and leading the task group that authored a consensus opinion on “The Attending Physician's Role in Helping People Stay Employed.” She was also recognized for her work as chair of ACOEM's Work Fitness and Disability Section, as a member of the Disability Panel for the ACOEM Occupational Medicine Practice Guidelines, as former chair of the Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work Process Improvement Committee and Workers’ Compensation Committee, and service as a Delegate to the ACOEM House of Delegates.

As founder and chair of the nonprofit 60 Summits Project, Dr Christian has promoted occupational medicine visibility—the growth of this social movement promises benefits to both workers and society, while the Work Fitness and Disability Roundtable that she founded and moderates devotes itself to work disability prevention and management and has grown to more than 1000 members.

Dr Christian received her medical degree and MPH from the University of Washington School of Medicine. A member of ACOEM since 1982, Dr Christian was elevated to Fellowship in 2006. She is certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine in occupational medicine.

Robert A. Kehoe Award of Merit

Created in 1957 and named for a past president of ACOEM and a pioneer in the field of OEM, this award is bestowed annually to an individual who has shown distinction in and made significant contributions to OEM.


Edward J. Bernacki, MD, MPH, FACOEM, Director, Division of Occupational Medi-cine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, was recognized for his work at Johns Hopkins, where his leadership revitalized the Division and his work on the design of an Internet-based workers’ compensation claims management system allows claims to be tracked and linked to safety so that a hazardous situation, once reported, can be promptly corrected to protect workers. He was also honored for his contributions to academic excellence and research during his years of service on the ACOEM Board of Directors, in particular, the work during his presidency when ACOEM signed an alliance with OSHA to focus on musculoskeletal disorders and published numerous scientific papers related to hearing loss, depression screening programs, and mold, among others. In addition, Dr Bernacki made it a major initiative to make occupational medicine a significant force in ensuring productivity.

Dr Bernacki received his medical degree from the New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry and his MPH from Yale University School of Medicine. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Preventive Medicine, certified in both occupational medicine and general preventive medicine. Dr Bernacki was elevated to Fellowship in 1978 and served a term as ACOEM President in 2002 to 2003.

Adolph G. Kammer Merit in Authorship Award

Named in honor of Adolph Kammer, MD, first editor of the College's JOEM, this award recognizes outstanding articles published in JOEM.


This year's Kammer Award was presented to Reiner Rugulies, PhD, MPH, of the National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark, and coauthors Birgit Aust, DrPH, Johannes Siegrist, PhD, Olaf von dem Knesebeck, PhD, Ute Bültmann PhD, Jakob B. Bjorner, MD, and Hermann Burr, PhD, for their outstanding contributions to the medical literature as exemplified by the paper, “Distribution of Effort-Reward Imbalance in Denmark and Its Prospective Association With a Decline in Self-Rated Health,” which was published in the August 2009 issue of JOEM.

Eliminating Health and Safety Disparities at Work, a NIOSH conference, will be held September 14 to 15, 2011, at the Doubletree Hotel Magnificent Mile, Chicago, IL. This conference is hosted by the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health and cosponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The keynote address will be given by Linda Rae Murray, MD, MPH, President of the American Public Health Association and Chief Medical Officer of Cook County Department of Public Health. The conference goal is to bring together representatives from multiple disciplines and perspectives to understand the social, cultural, and economic factors that create and perpetuate occupational health and safety disparities. Topics will include work organization; workplace injustice; approaches to education and training; health of the low-income workforce; effects of social, economic, and labor policies on occupational health; and interventions that work, etc.

Additional sponsors include the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics, Institute of Medicine of Chicago, ACOEM, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, and American Society of Safety Engineers. More information and registration are available at

The Annual Fall Seminar of the Central States Occupational and Environmental Medical Association (CSOEMA) on “Occupational Medicine in the Heartland” will be held at the Holiday Inn, Coralville, Iowa, on September 9 to 10, 2011.

Presentations will include the following topics: fingertip injuries; effects of pesticide exposure; platelet rich plasma injections; radon; nanomaterials; shift work and sleep; vocal cord dysfunction associated with workplace exposures; and ADA and GINA, among others.

For more information, contact Marlyce Nutt, CSOEMA Executive Director, 6 Phillippi Creek, Elgin, IL 60120; telephone: 630/497-0286; fax: 630/497-0364; e-mail: [email protected]; Web site:

The Pennsylvania Occupational and Environmental Medical Society (POEMS) and Tri-State Occupational Medical Association (TSOMA), two of ACOEM's components, will meet jointly on September 16 to 17, 2011, at the Pennsylvania Medical Society in Harrisburg, PA.

For additional details, contact Evamaria Eskin, MD, POEMS President, at 856/325-5306 or [email protected]; or contact Ed McVay, MD, TSOMA Secretary-Treasurer, at 814/375-3000 or [email protected].

The Southeastern Atlantic College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (SEACOEM), an ACOEM component society, will hold a fall symposium September 24 to 25, 2011, at the Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston, SC.

The SEACOEM business meeting will take place Saturday afternoon, September 24. Presentations on Saturday and Sunday include “Radiology of Pneumoconiosis”; “Taking Care of the Older Worker”; “Delusional Parasitosis”; “South Carolina Workers Compensation Commission: Historical Trends”; “Shift Work and Sleep”; “Current Issues with Occupational Medicine”; “Long Distance Telemedicine Practice: A Challenge to the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners”; “New Drug Update: 2010-2011”; “U.S. Merchant Marine Credentialing: An Updated State of the System Address”; “The Role of the Occupational Medicine Specialist in Managing Workers Compensation Cases”; “Duke OEM Residency Update”; and “What Is the Horizon in Medical Toxicology?”

Contact Marian Swinker, MD, SEACOEM President, at [email protected], or by telephone at 252/744-2070, for additional information.

©2011The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine