Bernard D. Goldstein, MD, is the recipient of the 2017 Society of Toxicology (SOT) Public Communications Award. Dr. Goldstein’s public communications work began in the early 1980s at Rutgers Medical School as chair of the Department of Environmental and Community Medicine and as the founding director of the Rutgers Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI). Working with colleagues, a multidisciplinary program was developed that included a specific division devoted to environmental health education and outreach.
EOHSI activities included curriculum for K‒12 education and other efforts aimed at enhancing the environmental knowledge and course content of high school science teachers. EOHSI faculty also developed a speaker’s bureau to respond to requests from public groups for experts on New Jersey’s well-documented environmental issues and developed lectures and materials to specifically educate newspaper reporters.
Due to his passion and conviction that the public deserves to understand the risks and real-life impacts of toxic exposures, Dr. Goldstein published many op-ed pieces on subjects ranging from the importance of animal research to how to avoid summertime ozone. As a center director for the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and head of the organization of center directors, Dr. Goldstein encouraged the inclusion of outreach programs and created a template for communications components in future NIEHS centers.
While assistant administrator for research and development of the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), Dr. Goldstein developed proactive programs to explain the US EPA’s science to the public and to Congress. In addition to a multitude of testimonies before the US Congress, Dr. Goldstein made appearances on Good Morning America and 60 Minutes, as well as other local television and radio shows.
Throughout his career, Dr. Goldstein also has nurtured a rapport with the legal and judicial communities, including co-authoring the chapter on toxicology of all three editions of the Federal Judicial Center’s Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence. He has presented at numerous meetings of judiciary or attorney groups on topics ranging from understanding toxicology to agent-specific issues, such as the toxicology of benzene. His publications in classic law journals explain topics such as dose-response and risk assessment, as well as the role of the precautionary principle versus risk assessment in regulating hazardous chemicals. He has published papers and presented locally, nationally, and internationally on the importance of scientific research. He also has co-written peer-reviewed publications and book chapters on risk communications.
Moreover, Dr. Goldstein has chaired numerous committees for the US National Research Council, the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), and many other national and international organizations. He has been a member of numerous SOT committees, including the Public Communication Committee and Communication Committee Working Groups, and served as chair of the Communications Strategy Committee.
Dr. Goldstein is a professor emeritus of environmental and occupational health for the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh. He recently served as a visiting professor at the University of Cologne Department of Political Science and European Affairs, where he compared US and European Union approaches to unconventional shale gas drilling, including public communication issues. Similarly, his ongoing activities with the Gulf Region Health Outreach Program and the US National Academy of Sciences have included a focus on communication issues related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.