GW Professor Appointed to National Academies’ Board on Environmental Studies & Toxicology

Professor George Gray, a widely respected expert on risk analysis and toxicology, has been named to the National Academies’ Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology (BEST).  Gray is currently serving as the Interim Chair of the Milken Institute School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, where he has been a professor since 2010. 

BEST is the principal unit for organizing and overseeing studies of environmental pollution problems affecting human health, human impacts on the environment, and the assessment and management of related risks to human health and the environment for the National Research Council, the research arm of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.  The studies conducted under BEST leadership provide independent expert assistance to government and advice to the nation on matters of science and technology affecting public policy on important environmental problems.  The 20-member board’s overall mission is to improve the scientific and technical basis for environmental decision making and public understanding of environmental issues. 

In both academic and policymaking settings, Professor Gray has long been committed to the effective use of science to inform public health choices, and he emphasizes the importance of communicating those choices effectively to citizens, journalists, and lawmakers. Risk analysis, including the tradeoffs that must be made when risks exist on both sides of a decision, has been a core component of that work.

Prior to joining the Milken Institute School of Public Health in 2010, Professor Gray served as assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Research and Development and as the agency science advisor, promoting scientific excellence in EPA research, advocating for the continuing evolution of the agency's approach to analysis, and encouraging programs that provide academic research to support EPA's mission. His areas of focus included nanotechnology, ecosystem research, the influence of toxicology advances on testing and risk assessment and sustainability.

From 2001 to 2005, Professor Gray was executive director of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, and a member of the faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health. In addition to teaching, he applied the tools of risk analysis to public health problems ranging from mad cow disease to pesticides in food to the risks and benefits of fish consumption. 

Professor Gray is also Past President and a Fellow of the International Society for Risk Analysis. He has served on scientific advisory committees for the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Institute of Medicine.