Division Title

2015 Winners

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), Office of Research Services (ORS), Division of Occupational Health
 and Safety (DOHS) salutes a group of professionals making a difference in safety.  The NIH Mission First, Safety Always award was created to recognize NIH personnel who have demonstrated leadership, innovation and involvement in their organization’s safety culture. 


In 2015, we received 14 nominations! Each nomination went through an anonymous review process which included blind scoring, without names or institutes, against the following criteria:

  • Leadership attributes that set the nominee apart from his or her peers

  • Initiating and/or leading a successful safety initiative

  • Engaging peers and transforming the safety culture of the organization

  • Promoting safety as an important part of their program

  • Working to correct unsafe or unhealthful workplace conditions or hazards

On April 13, 2016, nominees and winners of the 2015 NIH Mission First, Safety Always Award were recognized at the quarterly IC Safety and Health Committee Chairpersons meeting.  Dr. Alfred Johnson, Director of the Office of Research Services, presented certificates to nominees; IC winners; team winners; and the top four overall winners present.  

IC Award Winners

The following winners of this competition represent nine institutes within the NIH community:


Ms. Sherry Wu (ORS):  Organized all the ORS division’s safety walk-through inspections, distributed assignments, updated the safety checklist, arranged training for all Safety Committee members on how to conduct a proper safety walk-through; and once all ORS divisions had completed their annual safety walk-throughs, reported deficiencies resulting in the repair of several deficiencies ensuring a safe work environment for ORS employees.              


Mr. Daniel Moses (ORF):  As part of the ORF Safety Committee, visits dig job sites to make sure that when there are dig ups for utility leaks, personnel use the proper PPE; and implement the correct shoring techniques thereby avoiding cave-ins which provides a safe work environment.


Mr. Anthony Gioio (NIMH): Chair of the NIMH DIRP Safety and Health Committee, oversaw the implementation of the NIMH DIRP safety policies requiring all PI’s to create and maintain an active website on the DOHS Tracking Data Base; to monitor safety training, dedicated time and energy to work with committee members; and DIRP researchers to make sure the process went smoothly which resulted in the accurate documentation of the required safety training for NIMH.      


Ms. Trevor Blake (NHGRI):  Took the initiative to make a safety slide presentation for office personnel to be posted on a safety website for NHGRI; tours the labs and talks about safety issues with managers and advises them on how to improve safety performance within the lab.


Mr. Crispin Hernandez (OD):  As a member of the NIH/DEP audit team, promotes proper chemical handling and storage; regular inspection of fire extinguishers in the lab; checking and flushing the safety eyewash and shower; and the proper labeling of the chemicals used each day and the chemical waste.


Dr. Daniel Appella (NIDDK):  Leads by example; initiated and led effort in IC to clean out, remove, renovate, rebuild and inventory the chemical stock room that serves many lab branches in the IC and across NIH; inspects the stock room on a regular bases and educates users on safe practices when using and storing chemicals.


Mr. Jeffrey Alderdice (NCI):  As the NCI Emergency Manager, set up an emergency response team of volunteers at NCI Shady Grove; doubled the number of trained volunteers; and created a new training program for the volunteers.


Ms. Elizabeth Wilson (NIDCD):  While training new arrivals and helping staff, emphasizes topics such as the use of PPE; the proper way to handle waste; the disposal of sharps in a safe manner; understanding hazardous materials and disinfection of the work space after an experiment as an important part of working in a lab. 

Team Award Winners

Dr. Rita Devine and Mr. Kris Sharer (NINDS):  During a flood and electrical shutdown in bldg.10, r. Devine and Mr. Sharer used extraordinary resourcefulness and leadership in ensuring that all freezers, refrigerators and other equipment had emergency electrical service.  Their efforts extended beyond their IC and included all IC’s needing help.  As a result, there was no loss of valuable clinical or research samples.   

Top Four Overall Award Winners

Ms. Trevor Blake (NHGRI)Mr. Anthony Gioio (NIMH)
Mr. Crispin Hernandez (DEP)Dr. Daniel Appella (NIDDK)

Honorable Mentions

Certificates of Nomination were awarded to Ms. Carrie Wertheim, OD, for her excellent customer service to the NIDA-IRP scientist in Baltimore at the BRC; Mr. James Spears, ORS, for his outstanding customer service during the annual ORS Safety Committee walk-through; Ms. Cathy Ribaudo, ORS, for her continued work on the ORS Safety Committee and her dedication to promoting the ORS Safety Committee’s mission; and Dr. Sam John, NCI, proactive member of the NCI Safety Committee who aided in ensuring that the chemical safety elements of the Global Harmonizing System (GHS) were met in the branch and individual labs.