Professor Melissa Perry Appointed to CDC Board of Scientific Counselors

Melissa Perry, ScD, MHS, chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS), has been appointed by US Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to serve on the Board of Scientific Counselors, National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (NCEH/ATSDR) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Board provides advice and guidance to assist the HHS Secretary and Directors of the CDC and NCEH/ATSDR in fulfilling their agencies’ mission to protect and promote people’s health.

“I am honored to serve on the Board of Scientific Counselors, and look forward to working with two agencies whose work is so essential to safeguarding public health,” Perry said. “With environmental challenges from climate change to chemical spills affecting so many people in the US and worldwide, the work of NCEH and ATSDR has never been more important.”

Perry, an epidemiologist, has spent the past two decades studying relationships between environmental exposures and health conditions, from lacerations among meatpacking workers to sperm abnormalities related to organochlorine chemicals. She has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and is the current president-elect of the American College of Epidemiology.

The National Center for Environmental Health works to prevent disability, disease, and death due to environmental factors, while the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry addresses the effects of hazardous substances in the environment. The Board of Scientific Counselors provides guidance to these agencies’ directors regarding program goals, objectives, strategies, and priorities.

“The Board of Scientific Counselors not only contributes to the scientific quality of NCEH and ATSDR’s work; it also helps assure that these agencies work effectively with their various constituents,” explained Perry. “We learn more every day about how pollutants and contaminants can affect our wellbeing, and the goal is to use that information to address hazards promptly and protect public health.”