2011 Hansen Award

Kenneth Olden, PhD, ScD, LHD

Kenneth Olden, PhD, ScD, LHD, professor and dean of the City University of New York School of Public Health, received the 2011 Richard & Barbara Hansen Leadership Award and Distinguished Lectureship.

Dr. Olden visited the University of Iowa campus Sept. 7 and 8, 2011, to meet with students and deliver the Hansen Distinguished Lecture. The lecture was the keynote address at the “Engaging Communities to Advance Environmental Health Policy” conference and environmental justice listening session.

Biographical Information

Kenneth Olden, PhD, ScD, LHD, is professor and founding dean of the City University of New York School of Public Health. Olden previously served as director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the director of the National Toxicology Program from 1991-2005. Public health, community-based participatory research, children’s health, and environmental justice were strongly emphasized during Olden’s tenure as NIEHS director.

In 1994, NIEHS published a strategic plan,Vision for the Future, that set the stage for integrating the Institute’s basic research, toxicology, public health, and environmental justice initiatives and positioning NIEHS to play an increasingly important role as “public policy makers struggle to balance human health needs with the economic benefits of commercial processes that might endanger that health.”

A cell biologist and biochemist by training, Olden was director of the Howard University Cancer Center and professor and chairman of the Department of Oncology at Howard University Medical School (1985–1991) in Washington, D.C., before coming to NIEHS. After his retirement as director of NIEHS, Olden continued to pursue his interests in public health while also serving as a principal investigator in the Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis Metastasis Group. In 2008 he became the founding dean of the School of Public Health on the Hunter College campus of the City University of New York.

Because of Olden’s outstanding contributions to his field, he was elected to membership in the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1994. He was also the recipient of the DHHS secretary’s Distinguished Service Award in 1995. In 2002, Olden received the American Public Health Association Calver Award in recognition of his contributions to public health.

Lecture Video

“Environmental Context, or Neighborhood Matters for Human Health and Disease”