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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

Maryland Faculty to Advise HHS/CDC on Environmental Health and Toxic Substances

Dr. Devon Payne-Sturges, assistant professor in the University of Maryland School of Public Health, has been appointed to the Board of Scientific Counselors at the National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (NCEH/ATSDR), which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Outgoing U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Sylvia Burwell invited Dr. Payne-Sturges to serve on the 16-member board.

[Photo: Dr. Devon Payne-Sturges]

“It is an honor to serve on the NCEH/ATSDR Board of Scientific Counselors, especially given the current threats to environmental protections and support for scientific research. It is critically important for our public health agencies to consult with and solicit advice on scientific matters from independent federal advisory committees such as this one,” Dr. Payne-Sturges said.

The National Center for Environmental Health was first established by CDC in 1980 to focus on preventing disability, disease, and death due to environmental factors. Created in 1985, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry focuses on minimizing human health risks associated with exposure to hazardous substances.  Its functions include public health assessments of waste sites, health surveillance and registries, emergency response, as well as health consultations, education and training concerning specific hazardous substances.

The NCEH/ATSDR’s Board of Scientific Counselors advise the HHS Secretary, and the directors of the CDC and NCEH/ATSDR, regarding the program goals, objectives, strategies, and priorities needed to fulfill these agencies’ mission to protect and promote people’s health such as prevention of childhood lead poisoning, protecting drinking water in rural areas from chemical contamination, and responding to the Zika virus outbreak.

Dr. Payne-Sturges is an assistant professor in the University of Maryland School of Public Health’s Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health and Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Before joining the faculty of the School of Public Health, Dr. Payne-Sturges held leadership positions in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. An expert on cumulative risk and environmental health disparities, Dr. Payne-Sturges has authored foundational articles and governmental reports on integrating the social and environmental sciences to further understand environmental health disparities and protecting children’s environmental health in regulatory decision-making.