OSHA Head Returns to GW’s Milken Institute School of Public Health

WASHINGTON, DC (January 11, 2017)— After leading the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for more than seven years as the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, David Michaels is returning to George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH).

"We are thrilled to have Dr. Michaels back at Milken Institute SPH’s department of environmental and occupational health,” said Lynn R. Goldman, MD, MS, MPH, dean of the Milken Institute SPH.  “As an epidemiologist with extensive experience in research, regulatory and public policy and program administration, Dr. Michaels brings a wealth of knowledge to our school.  His detailed understanding of how science is used and misused in government decision-making and legal proceedings also makes him an excellent resource for our students.” 

Dr. Michaels was the longest serving Assistant Secretary in OSHA’s history.  He was appointed by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate.  His achievements include strengthening the agency's enforcement in high hazard industries, promoting common sense worker protection programs and standards, expanding compliance assistance provided to small employers, improving OSHA's whistleblower protection program, and increasing outreach to the vulnerable populations who are at greatest risk for work-related injury and illness. He also increased OSHA's focus and capabilities in the areas of data analysis and program evaluation. 

From 1998 to 2001, Dr. Michaels served as Assistant Secretary of Energy for Environment, Safety and Health. In that position, he was the chief architect of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program, the historic initiative to compensate nuclear weapons workers who contracted occupational illnesses following exposure to radiation, beryllium and other hazards. The program has provided more than $13 billion in compensation to sick workers and the families of deceased workers.

In 2006, Dr. Michaels was awarded the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award, and, in 2009, the John P. McGovern Science and Society Award given by Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, for his work in scientific integrity and for gaining compensation for nuclear weapons workers.

Dr. Michaels is a graduate of the City College of New York, and he holds an MPH and PhD from Columbia University.  He is the author of Doubt is Their Product: How Industry's Assault on Science Threatens Your Health (Oxford University Press, 2008), as well as articles in Science, JAMA, Scientific American, the International Journal of Epidemiology, the American Journal of Public Health and numerous other scientific publications.