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Advisory Board

Scientific Advisory Board

In an effort to conduct research that is of the highest caliber, unbiased, and free from outside influences, the University of Minnesota has retained four experts in the areas of environmental exposures and occupational health. These individuals are noted authorities and have appointments at academic institutions outside of Minnesota. They will provide objective feedback and guidance regarding the scientific soundness of the Taconite Workers Health Study.

Advisory board members:

Dr. Harvey Checkoway

  • Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and Epidemiology
    University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
  • Director, University of Washington Superfund Basic Research Program
  • Project Director, Training Grant in Environmental and Molecular Epidemiology

Dr. Checkoway's main areas of research and teaching are occupational and environmental risk factors for chronic diseases. He has led research projects which studied silica, silicosis, and lung cancer among workers in the silica industry; semen quality among lead smelter workers; environmental and genetic risk factors for Parkinson's disease as it relates to pesticide exposures; and cancer risks among textile workers. View Dr. Checkoway's full bio


Dr. Karl Kelsey

  • Chief of Epidemiology, Brown University

The aim of Dr. Kelsey's research is to understand what makes some individuals and populations susceptible to cancers of the lung, bladder, head and neck, as a result of genetic makeup and exposure to environmental factors, specifically radiation and asbestos.


In addition to serving on the faculty at Brown University, Dr. Kelsey is also a member of the Boston-based Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. View Dr. Kelsey's full bio


Dr. James A. Merchant

  • Dean, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
  • Professor, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
  • Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Iowa
  • Director, Environmental Health Sciences Research Center, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
  • Professor, College of Nursing, University of Iowa

Dr. Merchant was appointed the first dean of the University of Iowa College of Public Health in July 1999. He is a nationally known expert on occupational and environmental health, rural health, and public health policy. His research interests include the epidemiology of occupational and environmental lung disease, environmental and occupational health, rural health, agricultural disease and injuries, international health, and public and rural health policy.


Dr. Merchant previously directed the University of Iowa's National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-supported Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health, Iowa's Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, the Injury Prevention Research Center, the Center for International Rural and Environmental Health, and the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center.


At the national level, Dr. Merchant currently chairs the NIOSH Board of Scientific Counselors, serves as a Consultant member of the Advisory Committee to the Director for the CDC, and is a member of the Institute of Medicine's Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 1999. View Dr. Merchant's full bio


Dr. Carol Rice

  • Professor, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
  • Director, Midwest Consortium for Hazardous Waste Worker Training, Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati

Professor Carol Rice, a certified industrial hygienist, specializes in the assessment of current industrial exposures and the evaluation of working lifetime exposures. She has a special interest in the use of historical exposure data to reconstruct past human exposures for occupational epidemiology studies. She has written extensively on worker asbestos exposure for peer-reviewed scientific publications. View Dr. Rice's full bio