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New working group to assess environmental health and safety at Vanderbilt


Two engineering deans are members of a new working group formed to assess the current status and plan for the advancement of environmental health and safety at Vanderbilt University.

The Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Assessment and Planning Working Group will report to Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente and Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain. Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Mike Perez and Vice Provost for Research Padma Raghavan will chair the new working group.

Peter Cummings

Goals of the working group will include planning for an institution-wide laser safety program, compiling inventories of lab and non-lab spaces and equipment, and defining required training for university personnel.

Peter Cummings, John R. Hall Professor of Chemical Engineering and associate dean for research, and Duco Jansen, professor of biomedical engineering and senior associate dean for graduate education and faculty affairs, will represent the engineering school.

“Vanderbilt is a world leader in the fields of chemical and biological research,” Raghavan said. “It is critical that we also lead in environmental health and safety. As our research evolves and progresses, so too must our techniques for ensuring the well-being of our colleagues in the field.”

The assessment and planning done by working group members will be defined by Raghavan and Perez. The working group will create a final report that will include the results of their assessment and recommendations for further advancing environmental health and safety at the university.

Additionally, the group will define and implement reporting and key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor environmental health and safety and identify primary points of contact for ownership of VEHS business relationships.

The working group comprises a diverse set of faculty from various disciplines as well as staff from across the university to ensure that a broad array of experiences and viewpoints are considered. In addition to the co-chairs, other members of the working group are:

  • Andrea George (project lead), director, Sustainability and Environmental Management Office
  • Johnny Vanderpool, director, Office of Emergency Preparedness
  • Kurt Heinrich, cleanroom manager (VINSE/VPR)
  • Larry Cox, ESB building manager (VPR/VUSE)
  • David Wright, Stevenson Chair in Chemistry (A&S faculty rep.)
  • Shane Hutson, professor of physics and of biological sciences (A&S faculty rep.)
  • Chuck Sanders, Aileen M. Lange/Annie Mary Lyle Chair in Cardiovascular Research (SOM-BS faculty rep.)
  • Anthony Tharp, assistant director, Basic Sciences (SOM-BS staff rep.)
  • Kevin Warren, senior director of Vanderbilt Environmental Health and Safety (ex officio)
  • Doug Horr, associate vice chancellor for internal audit (ex officio)