Patricia Quinlan Retires from COEH

Photo: Patricia Quinlan
Patricia Quinlan

Patricia Quinlan, MPH ’82, announced her retirement as deputy director of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH) at a celebration held on January 11, 2017, at University Hall in Berkeley. The event, attended by more than 50 colleagues, friends, and family, capped three and a half decades of service with the University of California.

Quinlan has been the deputy director of COEH since 2011. As an industrial hygienist Quinlan taught workplace exposure assessment to generations of occupational medicine physicians, occupational health nurses, and industrial hygiene trainees at both UCSF and UC Berkeley. She has held multiple positions at UCSF since 1987 including academic coordinator, industrial hygienist, and clinical professor in the School of Nursing. Prior to 1987 she worked at the Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) from 1982-87.

In 2009, Quinlan was honored with the Occupational and Environmental Health Hero Award from the UCSF Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing Program in the School of Nursing.

She continues to teach as an academic coordinator/clinical professor in the occupational medicine and occupational health nursing programs at UCSF through 2017. She also continues as a member of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board and is editing the seventh edition of the Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene textbook.

Out-of-town friends sent tributes to welcome her to her new world of retirement, including former Deputy Director Marion Gillen and retired Director of Research to Practice Robin Baker.

Laura Stock, director of LOHP, who serves alongside Quinlan on the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, recalled the influence of working with her for over thirty years, starting in 1982 when Quinlan joined LOHP as an Industrial Hygenist.

“Patty has always been a role model for me, as someone who combined a high level of technical skill, and an ability to work with all kinds of communities, including technical experts, employers, OH professionals, regulators and policy makers, always maintaining her commitment to worker protection and empowerment,” Stock said in her tribute.

“Patty Quinlan and I have worked together for 35 years to try to improve workplace safety and health. I don’t think I ever could have found a more sympatico partner,” said COEH Director John Balmes.  “We know each other so well we even interrupt each other’s sentences because we know what each other will say. I will greatly miss working with Patty.”

“She has helped to knit together the multiple programs that comprise the COEH despite the lack of adequate budgetary resources to do so. To my knowledge, she is the only COEH member who actively taught in at least three of our core programs, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing, and Industrial Hygiene. I am proud of Patty’s appointment to the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board — it is recognition of her years of service in support of worker safety and health.”

“Patty gave her all to the COEH,” added Balmes. ”She agreed to come over to UC Berkeley become my deputy director after Marion Gillen retired. She took on more work than she expected when she accepted this job offer, but did the necessary work with dedication and purpose. To say that I will miss Patty is to put it mildly — she has been an incredible colleague and a great friend. I wish her the best in her well-deserved retirement.”

Quinlan says travelling, kayaking, and visiting friends are top on her list in this new chapter of her life.

Meet the new COEH deputy director Julia Buss

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