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[September 28, 2007]


An Authority on Occupational Safety, Women’s Health, Agent Orange, and 9/11

Jeanne Mager Stellman, PhD, an international authority on occupational health and safety, as well as women's health, has been appointed professor of preventive medicine and community health at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Dr. Stellman is also a prominent expert on the mental health of first responders to the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. At SUNY Downstate, she will also direct the Division of Environmental Health Sciences.

Dr. Stellman comes to Downstate after 27 years at Columbia University, where, most recently, she was director of the General Public Health Program and deputy chair of health policy and management.

Dr. Stellman brings with her a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to expand the model she developed for evaluating exposure to Agent Orange and other military herbicides used in the Vietnam War. The project includes creating a website that makes her software available to other researchers and is a continuation of work done collaboratively with her epidemiologist husband, Dr. Steven Stellman. In 1998 she was awarded a major contract from the National Academy of Sciences to develop research methodology for assessing exposure to herbicides used by the military in Southeast Asia. That work resulted in a cover article in Nature, an exhibit at the London Science Museum, and coverage in other publications.

“Downstate is a fine institution,” said Dr. Stellman, a longtime resident of Park Slope who is proud of her strong ties to Brooklyn. “The idea of building a public health program in one of the most significant places in the world was too good to pass up. It’s a perfect mix.”

Seeing a critical need for occupational health information and programs for women, Dr. Stellman created the Women's Occupational Health Resource Center at Columbia, which provided services, trained students, and published a newsletter for nearly a decade. During that period, Dr. Stellman developed a core curriculum on reproductive hazards in the workplace. She became editor of Women & Health, a peer-reviewed journal. The journal publishes articles on broad issues in epidemiology and women's health, as well as special themed issues, such as "Domestic Violence and Health Care."

A graduate of City College (CCNY), Dr. Stellman earned her PhD in physical chemistry at the City University in 1972. She was an instructor in the Department of Chemistry at CCNY. She also has held teaching positions at the University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers University in New Jersey and is a visiting professor at Mount Sinai School of medicine.

In 1988, Dr. Stellman was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to use her training as a physical chemist to break down barriers and improve understanding between the fields of chemistry and toxicology. She was also in the first group of awardees of a five-year National Cancer Institute (NCI) Preventive Oncology Award. In 1991, she became editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety, published by the International Labor Office in Geneva. Already a standard reference work around the world, the fourth edition of the encyclopedia broke new ground with its coverage of the health hazards of high technology, in addition to more traditional content such as information on organization of work; management and policy; and hundreds of industries, hazards, and chemicals.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center is the only academic medical center serving Brooklyn, Staten Island, or Queens, comprising Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, and Health Related Professions; a School of Graduate Studies; a Public Health Degree Program; the 376-bed University Hospital of Brooklyn; and a growing Advanced Biotechnology Park and Biotechnology Incubator.