October 1, 2008

McAteer to Receive Rall Award for Health Advocacy

By Anonymous

IN RECOGNITION of his outstanding contributions to public health through sciencebased advocacy, J. Davitt McAteer, JD, will receive the 2008 David P. Rall Award for Advocacy in Public Health at APHA's 136th Annual Meeting in San Diego. McAteer is an attorney in private practice in Shepherdstown, W. Va., and holds a number of other positions, including serving as director of governmental affairs and legal advisor to Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, W. Va. His colleagues praise his 30-year career as a policy leader and social justice advocate.

"Davitt McAteer recognizes the importance of merging the core values of public health and social justice, with legal advocacy to realize social change," wrote Celeste Monforton, MPH, of George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, and Anthony Robbins, MD, MPA, of Tufts University School of Medicine, in a letter nominating McAteer for the Rall Award.

McAteer was appointed by West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin as a special advisor after the Sago Mine disaster killed 12 people in 2006. He served as assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health for the U.S. Department of Labor from 1994-2000 and as executive director of the Occupational Safety and Health Law Center from 1984-1993. He was director of the Mining Project at the Center for Law and Social Policy and solicitor of safety for the United Mine Workers of America, among his many public health advocacy positions.

As a young lawyer, McAteer teamed up with consumer activist Ralph Nader to advocate for mine safety reforms through the Center for the Study of Responsive Law. He worked with front-line coal miners to revitalize safety and health efforts within the United Mine Workers of America and has been appointed to numerous federal advisory committees.

In the mid-1980s, McAteer was asked by the South African National Union of Mine Workers to study safety issues and make recommendations for a comprehensive mine safety law. He has worked for health screening availability for miners and served as an on- site advisor to the International Union of Operating Engineers at the World Trade Center site in New York City.

Copyright American Public Health Association Sep 2008

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