Strengthened By Partnership: Celebrating our Outstanding Colleagues
The Center for Health, Work & Environment recognizes key partners in its annual recognition eventSep 15, 2023
Our center hosted our third annual recognition event to honor the commitment and achievements of some of our key partners. At our core, we partner with researchers, community groups, industry and government to collaborate across all we do.
Stephen Reynolds was awarded the Individual Lifetime Achievement Award.This award is given to one recipient per year who has demonstrated commitment and had a measurable impact on the field of occupational safety and health.
Steve Reynolds, PhD, MS, co-founded the Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC) with CHWE director Lee Newman, MD, MA, in 2006, served as deputy director for the MAP ERC for 20 years, is a professor in the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences at Colorado State University and directs the High Plains Intermountain Center for Agricultural Health and Safety. Reynolds has been at the heart of worker health and safety protection throughout his distinguished 40+ year career – from being a field industrial hygienist to director.
"Steve has an ability to work with anyone and bring together people to collaborate in a way that advances a greater mission," said Newman at the awards ceremony. "A multidimensional human being who has mentored many and contributed to science and to the betterment of workers around the world. Steve, thank you for your partnership."Joshua Schaeffer, PhD, a former student of Reynolds and an assistant professor of Occupational and Environmental Health at CSU remarked that beyond Steve's accomplishments as a scientist, industrial hygienist, and a researcher, "he is just an absolutely amazing person. He's generous, he's gregarious, and hilarious. No matter what is going on, Steve is looking for opportunities to connect. I'm grateful for the opportunity to work with Steve, but even more grateful for his friendship."
"Especially with an award like this coming from peers like you all, it means a lot because it's not just a rubber stamped thing. Its important for you and it helps me feel like I'm validated for the work i'm doing," said Reynolds. "I've had the pleasure of teaching and mentoring students but from learning from them as well. they've taught me the value of listening carefully, prioritizing tasks and taking advantage of opportunities.
I want to thank my family for everything they do. One of the things that I most treasure and feel most good about is building partnerships and fostering those relationships."
Cherry Creek School District's Safety and Security Team was awarded the Community Impact Award.
The community group was recognized for its exemplary commitment and leadership in addressing the health, safety, and well-being of workers in the region.Cherry Creek School District (CCSD) partnered with CHWE researchers on the Mental Health Emergency Preparedness for the School Workforce intervention study. Across six schools in CCSD, researchers created a psychological preparedness training for the public-school workforce, complimenting current emergency preparedness plans and drills. By working closely with the Safety and Security team to design and deliver this training, the director of Safety and Security, Ian Lopez, was extremely involved and ensured the team's success in garnering leadership approval, connecting the researcher team with the schools, and co-facilitating the trainings.
"Lopez ushered the school district through what was an incredibly challenging time during the pandemic and throughout that never lost sight of his vision which was to focus on empowerment, engaging the workforce, prioritizing psychological safety as well as physical safety," said Courtney Welton-Mitchell, PhD. "It was the sheer force of Ian's will that enabled this project to happen."
"We recognize that school safety in this modern era is much more complicated than what it might have been years ago," said Lopez. "You came to us at a good time when we were looking for some partnership and ways to better ourselves with both the mental health aspect of training our staff to be safety combined with our physical safety efforts."
San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council was awarded the Partner of the Year Award.This accolade is given to an organization that has demonstrated an exemplary impact on the field of occupational health and safety in partnership with CHWE.
San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council (SLVEC) has been a long-standing community partner of researcher and faculty member Kathy James, PhD, MSCE, MPH, and has been instrumental in her team's success over the past year. Their collaboration helped initiate our current study on the effects of drought and exposure to inorganic arsenic in the San Luis Valley and has continued to propel this project forward.
"Due to SLVEC's proxy to our research activities, they were quick to provide support in rallying community members for our agricultural worker Total Worker Health® study, despite being outside the scope of the SLVEC's field and usual activities," said Nicholas Stoll, MPH, professional research assistant on the James team. "Over the past year they have provided access to their historical water quality data; hired two staff members to help with on-the-ground community recruitment and engagement; and played a crucial role in pivoting our recruitment efforts when we were seeing a lack of community buy-in."
"I want to encourage everyone within the public health realm now because I know you're taking on a lot, to stay creative and courageous," said Christine Canaly, director of the SLVEC. "Public health will be leading the way as we face climate change and its impacts. You will be on the forefront of developing the necessary mitigation and tools and I thank you so much for your vision and leadership."
"Without [SLVEC], their vast network in the community, and their shared passion for the health and well-being for the agriculture workers in the community, we would not have been successful ... We can all learn from them and their example," said James.
Written by Laura Veith, media and communication program manager for the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health.