Former Members of the VBDR Board
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Former Chair: James A. Zimble, M.D.
VADM, USN (ret)
Dr. Zimble was selected as the fourth President of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in 1991, following his retirement as a Vice Admiral and the 30th Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy. After thirteen years of dedicated service to the university he retired with the title of President Emeritus. Upon his retirement, he was awarded the Department of Defense Civilian Distinguished Service Medal by the Secretary of Defense, and the USUHS University Medal. As the 30th Surgeon General of the Navy, he was the principal advisor to the Department of the Navy, responsible for developing and establishing overall Naval health care policies and priorities, contingency and wartime planning, and program development for a four billion dollar health care system affecting more than 2.8 million Navy and Marine Corps active duty and retired beneficiaries, and their families. Dr. Zimble was cited as "Health Leader of the Year" by the Commissioned Officers' Association of the Public Health service and was presented the American Medical Association's Nathan Davis Award as "Outstanding Member of the Federal Executive Branch in Career Public Service. In 2007, with the establishment of the Franklin and Marshall Society of Distinguished Alumni, he was inducted as one of the society's inaugural members. Dr. Zimble has received numerous honors, and in 2005 he was honored by the awarding of the Uniformed Services University's honorary Doctor of Military Medicine degree and the naming of the university library as "The James A. Zimble Learning Resource Center." Dr. Zimble served as a member of the Executive Board of the Friends of USUHS, as a Director on the Board of the National Association of Uniformed Services. Dr. Zimble passed away on 14 December 2011.
Former Senior Petty Officer, USN
A native of New Orleans, La., Mr. Ritter is a Korea Veteran who served honorably, as a former senior enlisted man in the U. S. Navy & U. S. Coast Guard, and was actively involved in the testing of nuclear weapons in the Pacific during the mid 1950’s. After obtaining his Marine Engineering licenses, he held several Management positions with three major corporations involved in the manufacturing and leasing of air and gas compression equipment to the international Offshore Oil & Gas exploration and production industries. During this period of time, and as an active member of the National Association of Energy Engineers, and the Society of Naval Architects & Marine Engineers, he received his Energy Audit & Management Certification, was a founding member of the International Thermal Energy Storage Advisory Council (San Diego, CA), and contributed to the development of the current "Best Practice," methods of Industrial and Commercial electrical energy utilization, conservation and demand-side load management. After official retirement in 2003, he continues to be active as a consultant in these areas, on a part time basis, and is also the current Managing Director and National Commander of the National Association of Atomic Veterans, Inc. As a member of the VBDR, Mr. Ritter represents the issues, concerns and views of the U. S. Atomic Veterans’ community. Mr. Ritter passed away on 22 August 2013.
Ronald R. Blanck, D.O.
LTG, USA (ret)
Dr. Blanck is currently a partner in Martin, Blanck and Associates, a health care consulting company. He was formerly the President of the University of North Texas Health Science Center and is a retired Lieutenant General in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. The presence of a medical expert on the Board is essential for addressing important issues such as the probability of causation of specific types of cancer and other diseases by ionizing radiation exposure. Dr. Blanck’s 32-year military career commenced as a General Medical Officer in Vietnam and concluded as The Surgeon General, US Army, and Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command. He has also held academic faculty positions at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Howard University School of Medicine, George Washington University, and Georgetown University.
David E. McCurdy, Ph.D.
Dr. McCurdy is an expert in quality management relevant to radiation biology and radiological health. He is a widely published technical consultant to government agencies, national laboratories, universities and the nuclear power industry in the areas of safety assessment oversight, quality assurance, radiochemical and radiometrological procedure development, environmental radiation monitoring, radiological site release/remediation programs and radioanalytical data verification and validation. A major criticism of the Nuclear Test Personnel Review (NTPR) program in a report issued by the National Research Council in 2003 was the lack of well-documented procedures and quality control. This criticism relates to both the dose reconstruction procedures that are used and the mechanisms of communications with Veterans. Dr. McCurdy will provide insight into quality assurance aspects of procedures used for dosimetry and dose reconstruction for Veterans.
Thomas J. Pamperin, MBA
LTC, USAR (ret)
Mr. Pamperin is currently the Deputy Under Secretary for Disability Assistance of the VA, having served on the Committee when he was Deputy Director of the VA’s Compensation and Pension Service. In his current position he oversees and coordinates the efforts of the VA’s Compensation Service, the Pension and Fiduciary Service, the Insurance Service and the Benefits Assistance Service. As a senior VA leader he works extensively with the Department of Defense and other Federal Departments and Agencies, oversight committees and agencies and stakeholder groups. Mr. Pamperin joined the VA in 1974. He has worked in the Milwaukee, Des Moines and Wichita Regional Offices of the VA as well as Central Office. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison with Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Business Administration as well as a graduate of the Army's Command and General Staff College and the Federal Executive Institute’s Leadership in a Democratic Society. He is a retired commissioned officer of the United States Army having served as an infantry officer in Vietnam.
David P. Ropeik
Mr. Ropeik is an Instructor at Harvard University and an international consultant, teacher, and speaker on risk communication to government, business, consumer groups, and educational institutions. He is a former Instructor of risk communication at the Harvard School of Public Health, and was co-director of the schools professional education course ‘The Risk Communication Challenge.’ He is co-author of RISK, A Practical Guide for Deciding What’s Dangerous and What’s Safe in the World Around You, published by Houghton Mifflin in 2002. He is creator and director of the program ‘Improving Media Coverage of Risk,’ a training program for journalists. He is a member of the risk communication working group of the Global Roundtable on Climate Change, part of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He writes a column entitled ‘The Fenway Insider’ for Boston.com. Mr. Ropeik was a television reporter for WCVB-TV in Boston from 1978 - 2000. He specialized in reporting on environment and science issues. He twice won the DuPont-Columbia Award, (often cited as the television equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize), and seven regional EMMY awards. He was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT 1994-95, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Environmental Journalists from 1991-2000. He has taught journalism at Boston University, Tufts University, and MIT.
George “Ed” Taylor
COL, USA (ret)
Mr. Taylor, a retired army Colonel and Distinguished Military Graduate of Clemson University, is a member of the National Association of Atomic Veterans (NAAV). Trained as a nuclear weapons employment officer, he participated in nuclear weapons testing exercises-including exposure to a 47 kiloton nuclear explosion less than one mile from "ground zero". A thirty-year career army officer, he gained extensive combat experience at several organizational levels-from company or troop to division and higher-both in command and operations. Mr. Taylor served in Korea late in the Korean War, completed two combat tours in Vietnam and served for seven years in West Germany and Berlin during the Cold War, earning numerous decorations and awards for valor, including the Silver Star with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters (OLC) (Nation's third highest award for valor-3 awards), and the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantry Badge (CIB). He also earned a MBA in human relations management from The George Washington University. With his active duty and more than twenty years involvement and leadership of Veterans' organizations, his experience and continued interest on military history (visiting battlefields and interviewing heroes) greatly enhances the Board. COL Taylor passed away on 01 March 2015.
Elaine Vaughan, Ph.D.
Dr. Vaughan is an expert in risk analysis and communication. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, with joint appointments in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy and the Department of Policy, Planning and Design at the University of California, Irvine, CA. Dr. Vaughan has published extensively in the areas of science and public policy, quantitative risk assessment and policy, risk communication and psychological response to risk, to include her book: Some Factors Influencing the Nonexpert’s Perception and Evaluation of Environmental Risks. Dr. Vaughan has served on several panels, including as a selected review panel member for the Department of Veterans Affairs National Centers for the Study of War-Related Illnesses, and as an appointed committee member for the National Academy of Sciences (Institute of Medicine) Committee on Strategies to Protect the Health of Deployed U.S. Forces. She received her Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford University. Dr. Vaughan passed away on 27 July 2013.