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November 11, 2013

Bloomberg Faculty Nominated to Head EPA Research


Thomas A. Burke, PhD, MPH, the Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Training at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has been nominated by President Obama to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development as Assistant Administrator. The nomination was announced on November 7, 2013, and requires confirmation by the Senate.

Burke’s expertise is in environmental epidemiology, and his interests include the development of new approaches to environmental health risk assessment and environmental health surveillance, and their applications to environmental health policy.

Burke is also a member of the EPA Science Advisory Board and was the chair of the National Academy of Science (NAS) Committee on Improving Risk Analysis Approaches Used by the U.S. EPA. He was also chair of the NAS Committee on Human Biomonitoring for Environmental Toxicants, Chair of the NAS Committee on Toxicants and Pathogens in Biosolids Applied to Land, and was a member of the NAS Committee on the Toxicological Effects of Methyl Mercury.  He is a lifetime National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis.

“As a scientist, Tom can skillfully meld basic research with its practical policy applications,” said Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH ’87, dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Tom is a great scientist, as well as a terrific mentor and teacher to so many of our students. His appointment reflects well on all of the work he has done for our School.”

In addition to his work as associate dean, Burke is the Jacob I. and Irene B. Fabrikant Chair in Health, Risk, and Society in Bloomberg School's Department of Health Policy and Management. He also holds joint appointments in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences and the School of Medicine’s Department of Oncology and is director of the Johns Hopkins Risk Sciences and Public Policy Institute.

Prior to his appointment at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Burke was Deputy Commissioner of Health for the State of New Jersey and was Director of the Office of Science and Research in the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. In New Jersey, he directed initiatives that influenced the development of national programs, such as Superfund, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Toxics Release Inventory.

Burke received his PhD in epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania, his MPH from the University of Texas, and his B.S. from Saint Peter's College.

Upon confirmation to the post, Burke intends to take a leave of absence from the Bloomberg School.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health media contact: Tim Parsons at 410-955-7619 or