November 5, 2020

In Memoriam: Dr. Marcus Key, NIOSH's First Director

Dr. Marcus Key, the first director of NIOSH, passed away Oct. 31 in Irvington, Virginia. He was 96.

During World War II, Key served in the U.S. Army Air Forces. He received a Master of Industrial Health degree in 1954 and entered the U.S. Public Health Service, where he specialized in occupational medicine. After serving as the Assistant Surgeon General and as director of the Bureau of Occupational Safety and Health, Dr. Key was appointed as director of NIOSH in 1971 and remained in the role until 1975. As director, Dr. Key issued recommendations for exposure limits for vinyl chloride. Occupational health issues addressed during his term included coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, liver cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma.

Dr. Key was a past president of ACGIH and of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. He later became a professor of Occupational Medicine at the University of Texas (UT) School of Public Health and was the first director of the NIOSH Educational Research Center at UT.

Read more about Dr. Key from Currie Funeral Home and Wikipedia.