Obituary: Doreen Hill

On June 12, 2012, Doreen Hill passed away at the age of 60.  She is known to BEMS members because she authored the epidemiology section of a cancer assessment on electromagnetic fields (EMF) from power lines and worked on revisions to EPA’s cancer risk assessment guidelines.  She was admitted to the hospital for a recurrence of symptoms that sidelined her for several months last year. Unfortunately she was unable to recover.

Doreen was highly respected by colleagues and managers in the radiation community and across the federal government for her knowledge and expertise in the field of public health. The majority of her 30+ year career was in the technical, highly specialized field of radiation. Her work focused specifically on epidemiology and the biological health effects of radiation exposure. In addition to her scientific and technical expertise, Doreen was renowned for her mastery of English grammar, spelling and punctuation; and colleagues frequently relied upon her for her writing and editing skills. She held four degrees: an A.B. in Biological Sciences from Indiana University; an M.S. in Biostatistics and Epidemiology from Georgetown University; an M.P.H. in Public Health from The Johns Hopkins University; and a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from The Johns Hopkins University.

Doreen joined EPA in 1973. She worked in EPA’s Offices of General Counsel, Research and Development, and Air and Radiation. She was the primary author, writer and editor on the technical team that developed EPA’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Radiofrequency Guidance. While at EPA, after the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident, she served as the chronologist and historian for the White House documenting federal activities on the Chernobyl accident.

In 2007, Doreen was hired by the Directorate of Standards and Guidance at OSHA/DOL to work on radiation issues; specifically, on OSHA’s efforts to revise its ionizing radiation standard. She also was working with the Transportation Security Authority (TSA) to research and develop OSHA’s x-ray security screening equipment guidance and working with EPA on occupational exposures to radiation (radon; uranium and thorium dusts along with silica) in granite fabrication workshops. Doreen represented OSHA/DOL on multiple interagency committees including the Interagency Steering Committee on Radiation Standards (ISCORS) and the Radiofrequency Interagency Working Group. Her colleagues on the ISCORS medical x-ray guidance work group are dedicating the “Federal Radiation Guidance for Medical Diagnostic and Interventional X-ray Procedures” to her in recognition of her significant contribution.

We remember Doreen for her technical knowledge and expertise, her professionalism and dedication to work, her ability to work well with others, her eternal optimism and her sense of humor. Her family has specified a charity for donations in her memory: the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Center, Johns Hopkins University, 600 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore, MD, 21287.