New working group to assess environmental health and safety at Vanderbilt

By Andrew Brodsky

A new working group has been 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.

Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Michael G. Perez

“Environmental health and safety are crucial considerations in our mission to create and maintain spaces that fulfill the mission of the university,” said Perez. “This partnership between the Division of Administration and the Office of the Provost will allow us to implement the best possible support for the research community.”

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. 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.

“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.”

Vice Provost for Research Padma Raghavan
Vice Provost for Research Padma Raghavan

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.

The working group members include:

  • Padma Raghavan (co-chair), vice provost for research
  • Mike Perez (co-chair), associate vice chancellor for facilities
  • 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)
  • Duco Jansen, professor of biomedical engineering (VUSE faculty rep.)
  • Peter Cummings, John R. Hall Chair in Chemical Engineering (VUSE faculty rep.)
  • 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)