Kristen Joyner and Ralph Scott were instrumental in giving a voice to the issue of childhood lead poisoning. Their dedication was unwavering and we are grateful for their friendship and support.
Dr. John Rosen was a pioneer in the field of lead poisoning prevention. His work helped to reduce the number of children affected by lead exposure and bring greater public awareness to the the issue of lead poisoning. We are very fortunate to have had someone like him fight so hard for this cause.
Kristin Joyner, a mother whose child suffers permanent neurological damage from lead poisoning, was a
co-founder of ALPHA. Kristen also founded UNited Carolinians for Lead Eradication (UNCLE) in 1997 (developed from United Parents Against Lead/NC), whose primary focus was intervention services for families of lead-diagnosed children and lead prevention.
UPAL/NC receives funding to teach parents how to navigate a lead-poisoned child through educational, medical, social, and legal issues, along with Lead 101, and provides lead outreach and education to migrant workers who come to NC during spring and summer months. Predominantly, these individuals are of Spanish heritage; UPAL/NC developed an entire Español outreach program for these families.
Over the past five years, UPAL/NC has successfully mentored numerous parent organizations in obtaining
501(c)3 status and some grant writing assistance. Kristin has received a Lead Star Award in 2000 and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006 for her contributions towards ending childhood lead poisoning. In
Ralph Mason Scott, Jr., 58, a community organizer known for his work in environmental health, died on January 12, 2012 at the Washington Home and Community Hospices in Washington, DC. Mr. Scott, a Washington, DC resident for many years, had kidney cancer. He was a tireless advocate for evidence-based federal policy on allowable blood levels of lead and other toxins in children, and for improved housing conditions, especially the reduction of lead hazards for children. He helped to write the Chicago tenant landlord ordinance while working at the Rogers Park Community Action Network in Chicago, and he was subsequently a co-founder and organizer at the Lead Elimination Action Drive in that city. He was lead poisoning project director at New Jersey Citizen Action and community projects director at the Alliance for Healthy Homes. He was a recognized expert in community organizing and lead abatement who supported and connected advocates throughout the US and around the world. One advocate said, “Ralph was a one-man social network before anyone knew what a social network was.” In 2010, The Childhood Lead Action Project awarded him the National Hero Award in recognition of his outstanding leadership in working to eliminate childhood lead poisoning. Most recently, he worked as policy and outreach coordinator at Parents for Nontoxic Alternatives, where he served as co-investigator on a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study to improve national policy on lead in drinking water. He also worked as a community organizer and national campaign manager at The Arc.
He was a regular contributor to the Washington Post Style Invitational and more proud of being a Loser than having an Inker. Family and friends will fondly remember him for his love of challenging crossword puzzles, dogs and cats (especially strays), local and national politics, a good chocolate chip cookie, and Converse “Chuck” sneakers. He was gentle and kind, just a really good guy. He was deeply loved and will be profoundly missed.
Mr. Scott was born in Elmira, New York. He graduated in 1976 from the University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics.He is survived by his wife, Eun Mi Yu of Washington, DC, his parents, Alice and Ralph M. Scott, Sr, MD, a sister, Susan Scott, of Louisville, KY, and a brother, John Scott (and wife Ann Torres) of Washington, DC.
Dr. John F. Rosen, Professor of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Head of the Division of Environmental Sciences at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore, was a pediatric metabolism expert who redefined the fight against childhood lead poisoning in America. He died on December 7 in Greenwich, Connecticut. He was 77.
After graduating from the Columbia University College of Physicians and surgeons, and while working in the 1960's on the metabolic processes of heavy metal poisoning at the Rockefeller University, Dr. Rosen began to see the harmful impact of metal toxicity in children. His research particularly began to focus on the effects of metal poisoning on underprivileged children living in New York City's substandard housing.
He had grown up in a household of social and medical activism. His parents, Dr. Samuel Rosen and Helen Rosen had been substantially involved in the liberal and civil rights movements of the post-World War II period, from Henry Wallace's campaign in 1948 to sheltering Paul Robeson after the Peekskill Riots and his father - an ear surgeon who invented the "Rosen Stapes" operation for addressing deafness - had been known for visiting China and meeting Chou En Lai before the country was opened to Americans in 1972.
Dr. Rosen broadened the family activism into an adjunct on the war on poverty by aiding children, moving professionally in 1969 to Montefiore Medical Center where he was to become a Professor of Pediatrics and the Head of the Division of Environmental Sciences at The Children's Hospital, which came to have the nation's largest lead clinic. In the 1970's, his work focused increasingly on pediatric lead poisoning, and he became, as The New York Times recognized in 1992, a national authority on lead hazards for children. His research, and that of others, increasingly demonstrated that traditional measures of lead poisoning were too lenient and needed lowering to counter the deleterious impact of lead poisoning on cognitive development.
In 1985 and in 1991, he chaired the Centers for Disease Control Committee on Preventing Childhood Lead Poisoning, which established new and lowered national guidelines on the definition of lead poisoning, and its treatment and prevention. He also worked with numerous other committees, including The National Academy of Science and the National Research Council Committee on Low level Lead Exposure in Susceptible Populations, as well as speaking at innumerable national and international conferences and publishing over one hundred studies. In addition, he was a pioneer of the use of x-ray fluorescence to measure bone lead levels and since the effects of lead poisoning are not reversible, Dr. Rosen focused on prevention by removing lead paint from apartments and schools.
His passion for protecting and aiding children was legendary, and often led to contentious situations. When he was not serving as an expert for the EPA in toxic waste lawsuits, he would take it and other governmental agencies to task for not doing enough. In 1992, when parents at PS 3 in Manhattan were concerned about the school's peeling paint, they reached out to Dr. Rosen, who termed the school a "toxic dump." At a press conference, he pulled paint chips off the wall and his efforts led to the school's widely publicized - and controversial - closing and clean-up.
In addition to his work in the United States, Dr. Rosen was instrumental in setting up lead poisoning monitoring programs internationally. He travelled to Nicaragua to address the problem of leaded gasoline. He worked with the Shanghai Children's Medical Center and the Shanghai Second Medical School from 1982 to 2010 to develop lead poisoning treatment centers in China.
One of Dr. Rosen's proudest accomplishments was the establishment of Montefiore's Safe House for Lead Poisoning Prevention. At the Safe House, a comprehensive approach to addressing lead problems is provided for families, including not just temporary shelter in a lead-free environment but also education and family support.
Dr. Rosen died in Greenwich after a four-year battle with cancer. He was the son of Helen Rosen and Dr. Samuel Rosen, a renowned ear surgeon. He is survived by his wife, Margaret Hiatt of Stamford, Connecticut, his three children, Carlo Rosen, M.D., Ellis Lesser, and Emily Reilley, and nine grandchildren.
Published in GreenwichTime on December 18, 2012
The New York Times also published an article on the life of Dr. Rosen which can be viewed here.