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Huff selected for APHA's Rall Award. (NIEHS News).

NIEHS toxicologist James Huff, an internationally recognized expert in chemical carcinogenesis, is the 2002 recipient of the David P. Rall Award for Advocacy in Public Health, given by the 50,000-member American Public Health Association (APHA). The annual award was created in memory of David P. Rall, who died in 1999. Rall was NIEHS director from 1971 to 1990, and founder and director of the National Toxicology Program (NTP).

The Rall Award recognizes individuals whose accomplishments have advanced health promotion and disease prevention through policy change. Nominees may include those working in government, academia, or nongovernmental organizations from any nation. In his letter to Huff announcing the award, APHA executive director Mohammad Akhter stated, "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."

Huff earned a bachelor's degree in pharmacy and a master's degree in pharmaceutics from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science in Pennsylvania. He earned a doctor of philosophy in bionucleonics from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Following an 18-month postdoctoral appointment at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in Bethesda, Maryland, he joined the faculty of the University of Rochester Medical School in New York, where he worked with toxicologist Harold Hodge. While at the University of Rochester, Huff decided to discontinue his basic research efforts and concentrate instead on public health aspects, which he believed would be more meaningful and immediately useful from a global perspective.

From the University of Rochester he joined Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. While there he helped develop online TOXLINE databases with Henry Kissman at the National Library of Medicine. In 1977, he accepted the invitation of Lorenzo Tomatis to join the Lyon, France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer, where he was chief of its Monographs Programme on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, which evaluates carcinogenic risks posed to human health by chemical agents, mixtures, and other environmental and occupational exposure circumstances.

In 1980, at the behest of Rall, Huff joined the NIEHS, where Rall had recently established the NTP. Huff concentrated on the NTP carcinogenesis program to identify chemical carcinogens and on the congressionally mandated Report on Carcinogens. He established the levels of evidence of carcinogenicity used by the NTP for interpreting experimental chemical carcinogenesis bioassay findings. During his tenure with the NTP he led the effort and was involved in the publication of more than 200 carcinogenesis bioassay technical reports, and in helping establish the NTP Report on Carcinogens. Huff has published more than 300 scientific papers, indicating a penchant for both science and public health and the need for integration and interaction.

Huff says receiving the Rall Award is overwhelming and at the same time very humbling. He adds that there is no professional, scientific, or public health accolade he could receive that would mean more to him, because of his working with Rall and particularly the mentoring influence Rall had on him. "Dr. Rall was first and foremost and above all dedicated to public health, no compromise," Huff says. "He was a compassionate man who was both a brilliant scientist and caring physician. `Do your best scientifically solid work,' Rall would say, `and stand by it and use it for the protection of workers and the public.' That's what I learned from David."

The award was presented at the APHA annual meeting, held 9-13 November 2002 in Philadelphia (Huff's hometown). The Rall award announcement and recipient are profiled in the APHA publication The Nation's Health. The award consists of an engraved plaque, a travel allowance and complimentary meeting registration, and a $1,000 cash prize, which Huff donated to the David P. Rall Education Fund of the Collegium Ramazzini, located in Carpi, Italy.
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Author:Dooley, Erin E.
Publication:Environmental Health Perspectives
Date:Nov 1, 2002
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