Dr. David Kotelchuck is Professor Emeritus of Occupational and Environmental Health in the Hunter College School of Health Sciences, City University of New York. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Physics from Johns Hopkins University and completed his Ph.D. in high-energy physics at Cornell University.

After leaving Cornell, he served on the faculty and conducted research in physics at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. While there he also participated in civil rights movement with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and helped found the Southern Student Organizing Committee (SSOC). In 1967 he married Ronda Stilley, a colleague in the civil rights movement.

Seeking a more immediate human health application of Dave’s research, the couple moved to Cornell University, where Dave pursued post-doctoral research in physical biochemistry and Ronda graduate study in Urban and Regional Planning. Later while working at Mount Sinai Medical School in New York City, Dave was introduced to the field of occupational health and safety by union leader Tony Mazzocchi. He went on to teach in one of the first worker-oriented health and safety programs in the post-WWII era and then joined the staff of the Health Policy Advisory Committee (Health/PAC), where he published extensively on worker health and safety, including numerous articles on asbestos and other carcinogenic substances. Later he entered graduate study and earned an MPH in Occupational Health at Harvard School of Public Health.

Upon returning to New York he worked as Director of Health and Safety in the Research Department of the United Electrical Workers union and wrote a regular health and safety column for the union’s national newspaper for the next two decades. In 1984 he was chosen to lead the graduate program in Occupational Health and Safety at the Hunter College School of Health Sciences, where he also founded the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. He has written numerous books, book chapters and scientific and policy articles. His research has addressed workers’ health issues including toxic exposures, needlestick injuries and public employee health and safety. He retired from Hunter College in 2006.

Dave has a long record of labor, health and safety, environmental and public health activism. After leaving his fulltime position at Health/PAC, he served on its Board for another two decades. He also helped found the New York Committee for Occupation Safety and Health (NYCOSH) and served as an elected Board member for over three decades. He has been an active member of the Occupational Health and Safety section of the American Public Health Association (APHA) since 1978, serving as Section Chair in 2003-2004, as well as on the APHA’s Governing Council, Action Board and Policy Committee. In 2008 he received the Section’s Alice Hamilton Award for lifetime service and achievement in worker health and safety. In 2012 Dave was appointed a member of the federal Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health. Over the years Dave has worked closely with unions including UE, UAW and the Professional Staff Congress of the AFT, of which he remains an active member in its Retiree Chapter.

Meanwhile his wife Ronda has had a distinguished career in preventive and primary care, working for the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), where she was Vice-President for Planning and Intergovernmental Affairs. She then left to become Founding CEO of the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC), from which she retired in 2015. Dave and Ronda have two children, Tamar and Shana Kotelchuck, and six beloved grandchildren.

In his retirement, Dave continues his dedication to building with others a just and healthy society. Recently, he has had the opportunity to look back at his and his family’s early life and has written a book about the persecution of his parents during the McCarthy/Hoover era, based on their Freedom of Information files.