About Dr. Jerome J. Wesolowski
Dr. Jerome J. Wesolowski was one of the founding members of the International Society of Exposure Analysis and served as a Councilor on the Board of Directors from 1991 to 1993 and as the liaison with ISEA International Territorial Chapters from 1992 until his death in 1994. Dr. Wesolowski had a distinguished career in public health. He made many scientific contributions to the understanding of human exposures to environmental pollutants and was dedicated to using that knowledge to improve public health. Jerry received his Ph.D. in nuclear physics from Washington University in St. Louis, MO, in 1963. His early years of research on nuclear reactions and fission physics led him to the use of neutron activation and x-ray fluorescence for analysis of trace elements in ambient aerosols and to a career in environmental science. He was one of the original principal investigators of the lunar materials obtained by the Apollo 11, 12 and 13 mission astronauts. As one of the Co-Principal Investigators in the California ACHEX Study (Aerosol Characterization Experiment), he collaborated with a number of other distinguished scientists in a pioneering study of smog aerosols.
At the time of his death, Jerry had been Chief of the Air and Industrial Hygiene Laboratory of the California Department of Health Services for 21 years and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering of the University of California, Berkeley. While at the Department of Health Services, he was the founder of the California Childhood Lead Program, the California Human Monitoring Program and the California Indoor Air Quality Program. He was internationally recognized for his work on exposures to lead and indoor air quality, including passive smoking. He was the author or co-author of over 200 scientific research papers which contributed to the development of a better understanding of the human exposures to environmental pollutants.
Jerry served on many state and federal scientific advisory committees over the years, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board Committee on Indoor Air Quality and Total Human Exposure and the Clean Air Science Advisory Committee. While on the former, he helped to review EPA’s report on “Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer and Other Disorders.” He was also a member of the National Research Council’s Committee on Advances in Assessing Human Exposures to Airborne Pollutants, which prepared the report “Human Exposure Assessment for Airborne Pollutants: Advances and Opportunities.”
More recently, Jerry was one of the founders and directors of the U.S. Committee on Poland’s Environment (COPE), a non-profit organization whose purpose was to foster a better understanding of Poland’s environmental problems and their solutions. Among Jerry’s many COPE initiatives were: co-sponsorship of a conference on “Voluntary and Involuntary Smoking in Central and Eastern Europe,” in Warsaw; co-sponsorship of a scientific symposium in Pultusk, Poland, on “Protecting Workers, the Environment and Health in a Market Economy: Translating Science into Policy and Action;” a research study on the “Relationships between Residential Indoor Pollution and Housing Characteristics in Krakow;” and sponsorship of numerous Polish scientists and specialists to participate in training programs, exchanges and conferences in the U.S. and Europe. In recognition of his many contributions to Poland’s efforts to solve its many environmental health problems, Dr. Wesolowski was awarded Honorary Membership in the Polish Society of Hygiene, established in 1857.
Jerry cared deeply about high quality scientific research and use of such research to develop sound public policies to protect human health. His recurrent question at many research reviews, “What’s the hypothesis?” served to refocus many poorly designed research projects. In his career in public health, Jerry believed that you should “Always do the right thing. It will gratify some…and confound the rest!”
Those of us who had the privilege of knowing him and serving with him on various committees and boards will miss his good judgment, his ability to cut to the critical point of many a discussion, his generosity of spirit, and his wonderful dry sense of humor. In his honor and memory, the International Society of Exposure Analysis established the Jerome J. Wesolowski Award for sustained and outstanding contributions to the knowledge and practice of human exposure assessment. The first award was made at the Joint Conference of ISEA and ISEE (International Society of Environmental Epidemiology) at Research Triangle Park, NC, 18-21 September 1994.