Edward Ohanian receives Walter F. Snyder Environmental Health Award

Aug. 7, 2023
The prestigious award from NSF the NEHA honored Ohanian for his decades of deep commitment to the environmental health community and water quality.

NSF and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) have announced Edward V. Ohanian as the 2023 recipient of the Walter F. Snyder Environmental Health Award.

The award was presented to Ohanian at a ceremony on August 2 at the 2023 NEHA Annual Education Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

“My sincere thanks to NSF and NEHA for this prestigious award. I am honored to receive this recognition of my professional achievements in promoting the best available science while addressing emerging issues and challenges related to environmental and public health protection,” said Ohanian.

Founded in 1971, the Snyder Award honors Walter F. Snyder, co-founder and first executive director of NSF, and individuals who, like him, pioneer environmental and public health through their careers. Presented by NSF and NEHA, the award is presented annually after a rigorous selection process involving a nomination process covering four categories of accomplishments, reviewed by five jurors.

Ohanian has dedicated his career to protecting environmental health for more than three decades. He currently serves as the associate director for science for the U.S. EPA’s Office of Water in the Office of Science and Technology, and as senior science advisor to the deputy assistant administrator of the Office of Water.

In his current role with EPA, Ohanian provides leadership and expert oversight for the development of risk assessments required under both the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act. Recently, he was nominated by EPA for the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award for his sustained scientific accomplishments.

“Dr. Ohanian’s lifelong dedication to protecting environmental health through his numerous roles and accomplishments has helped to strengthen the quality and safety of drinking water across North America,” said Pedro Sancha, President and CEO of NSF. “Dr. Ohanian was instrumental in developing NSF drinking water standards as part of the NSF Health Effects Task Group, and subsequently in forming the NSF Health Advisory Board, which has established maximum drinking water action levels for hundreds of unregulated contaminants referenced in NSF’s drinking water health effects standards. Over the past four decades, Dr. Ohanian has improved the health and well-being of hundreds of millions of people. We applaud Dr. Ohanian and his many contributions to the drinking water community as he joins the ranks of Snyder Award recipients.”

Deeply committed to the environmental health community, Ohanian also serves as a professional lecturer at George Washington University’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at Milken Institute School of Public Health. He led the development of and currently chairs NSF’s Health Advisory Board, responsible for conducting peer reviews of the risk assessment basis for direct and indirect drinking water additives and promoting the application of state-of-the-art risk analysis methodologies. Additionally, for nearly 20 years, Ohanian has been a member of NSF’s Public Health Council, which ratifies all NSF standards as being protective of public health.

“Dr. Ohanian’s leadership and mentorship within the toxicology industry is unparalleled; he truly embodies the spirit and letter of the Snyder Award,” said David T. Dyjack, executive director and CEO of NEHA. “His life’s work as an educator, consensus builder, and subject matter expert is exemplary of a productive and impactful environmental public health career.”

Ohanian previously served as EPA Office of Water’s Director of the Health and Ecological Criteria Division, and the acting director of the National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) in the U.S. EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD), building robust partnerships and collaboration between ORD and EPA program offices and regions. He is the past chairman of the U.S. EPA Risk Assessment Forum, through which he was instrumental in promoting the agency-wide consensus on priority human and ecological risk assessment issues.

As past co-chairman of the Federal-State Toxicology and Risk Analysis Committee, Ohanian has fostered cooperation and consistency regarding improved risk assessment and management methodologies. He has also represented OW on several World Health Organization (WHO)’s technical panels and committees, helping to establish and update the WHO Drinking Water Guidelines.

A published author and editor, Ohanian has contributed articles and chapters on new and improved risk assessment methodologies to scientific journals and books. He previously served as a member of the editorial boards of Human and Ecological Risk Assessment and Hazard Assessment of Chemicals; and co-editor of Toxicokinetics and Risk Assessment.

Presently, Ohanian is an associate editor of Toxicological Sciences. He is the past president of the Society of Toxicology’s (SOT) Risk Assessment and Regulatory and Safety Evaluation Specialty Sections, as well as the recipient of the SOT’s prestigious 2010 Arnold J. Lehman Award for his contributions to risk assessment and regulation of chemical agents. He served as a member of The Toxicology Forum’s board of directors and chairman of the Scientific Meetings Committee. Currently, Ohanian serves as the Vice-President of The Toxicology Forum.

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