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Department of

Environmental and Public Health Sciences

In Memorium: Eula Bingham, PhD

by Eric McClintock | Jun 16, 2020
Eula Bingham, PhD, distinguished professor emerita in the Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences, died June 13. Bingham was 90. A member of the College of Medicine faculty since 1961, she served as the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health from 1977 until 1981 under President Jimmy Carter, the fourth Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) leader since its inception in 1970 and the first woman to lead the agency.
Eula Bingham, PhD, distinguished professor emerita in the Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences, died June 13. Bingham was 90.

Bingham was an authority on occupational disease and on cancer causing substances. A member of the College of Medicine faculty since 1961, she served as the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health from 1977 until 1981 under President Jimmy Carter, the fourth Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) leader since its inception in 1970 and the first woman to lead the agency.

During her OSHA tenure, she issued many new health standards for toxic chemicals. A significant contribution of hers was the establishment of the “New Directions Training Program,” which created grants for small businesses and worker groups to help educate about hazards in the workplace. It was this program that served as a model for the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in training their workers and communities. 

President Carter would recall her as “one of the best. She helped eliminate barriers to women in the workforce. Eula deserves credit as one of the unsung heroes giving women an important voice and place in our nation’s history.”

Returning to UC in 1981, Bingham served as vice president for graduate studies and research until 1990. Following that, she conducted research in worker safety and continued to be an excellent mentor to young scientists.

Bingham won numerous awards, including the Rockefeller Foundation Public Service Award (1980), American Industrial Hygiene Association’s Alice Hamilton Award (1984), the first recipient of the William Lloyd Award for Occupational Safety from the United Steel Workers (1984) and the David P. Rall Award for Advocacy in Public Health from the American Public Health Association (2000). In 1989, she was elected to the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences. She also was a member of the Collegium Ramazzini, an international Occupational Health Working Group.  
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