Lek Kadeli, Acting Assistant Administrator, Office of Research and Development (ORD) US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) announced that on July 2, Kenneth Olden will direct both the National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) and the Human Health Risk Assessment Research Program (HHRAP). Mr. Kadeli noted that “Ken comes to EPA with a strong legacy of promoting scientific excellence in environmental health.” Dr. Olden served as the Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 1991–2005. He made history as the first African American to direct one of the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Olden has published extensively in the peer-reviewed literature, chaired or co-chaired numerous national and international meetings, and has been an invited speaker, often a keynote, at more than 200 symposia. Dr. Olden joined SOT in 1996 and served on the Science Strategy Committee (2005–2007) and on the Awards Committee (2006–2008). He was the recipient of the 2004 SOT Public Communications Award.
In 2005, he returned to his research position as chief of The Metastasis Group in the Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis at the NIEHS, and for academic year 2006–2007, held the position of Yerby Visiting Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Olden has received a long list of honors and awards including the Presidential Distinguished Executive Rank Award, the Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award for sustained extraordinary accomplishments, the Toxicology Forum’s Distinguished Fellow Award, the HHS Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award, the American College of Toxicology’s First Distinguished Service Award, and the National Minority Health Leadership Award. Alone among institute directors, he was awarded three of the most prestigious awards in public health—the Calver Award (2002), the Sedgwick Medal (2004), and the Julius B. Richmond Award (2005). He was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences in 1994 and appointed member of the Visiting Committee for the Harvard University Board of Overseers from 2007–2010. Dr. Olden received his Bachelor of Science in biology from Knoxville College, a Master of Science in genetics from the University of Michigan, and a Doctorate in cell biology and biochemistry from Temple University. He is currently the Founding Dean of the School of Public Health at the Hunter College, City University of New York.