NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

NIH Takes Home 13 HHS Green Champion Awards

The library's patio featuring a sun sail and a garden

Photo:  Credit Eric Bock

NIH received 13 Department of Health and Human Services Green Champion Awards for fiscal year 2022. The awards are given to employees who take on the challenge of reducing energy use, saving natural resources and minimizing the carbon footprint of the federal government. Winners will be celebrated at a virtual ceremony this fall.

Through the annual Green Champion Awards, HHS honors federal employees and Native American tribal members, small groups and projects or programs that demonstrate measurable results towards integrating sustainability and climate resiliency principles into the HHS mission and its daily operations. This year, the awards program announced a new category, Climate Resilience and Health Equity.  

The Green Champions from NIH are:  

Sustainable Acquisitions Category


The Laboratory of Cellular and Developmental Biology, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, for reducing “the amount of single-use plastic generated, energy consumed and budget expenses by purchasing a CellDrop Automated Cell Counter from DeNovix to replace a traditional cell counter that used costly disposable slides.”

Change Agent Category


Timothy “Ty” Adkins of NIH’s Office of Research Facilities’ Division of Environmental Protection, for gathering “data from the entire waste management operations and building a Power BI (business intelligence) portfolio to convert all waste management data and reports into Power BI data analytics.”

Small Group

Willie Davis, Waquita Smith, Jessica Cullen, Margaret Straubinger and Edom Seifu of the NIH Division of Logistic Services’ Property Management Branch for creating “the Report of Survey Tracking System to automate all Report of Survey (HHS-342) forms, significantly reducing the amount of paper used for manually generated and processed Personal Property Forms.”

Electronic Stewardship Category

Small Group

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ Dr. Raja Jothi, Dr. Kevin Gerrish, Dr. David C. Fargo, Cheryl Thompson, Joseph D. Poccia, Justin P. Kosak, Stephanie L. Bishop, Kenneth T. Webb, Tina Berger and Steven R. McCaw for developing the “the Database of Laboratory Equipment for Sharing, an intranet-hosted searchable collection” that facilitates “timely sharing of equipment between laboratories.” 

Energy and Fleet Management Category

Small Group

The NIH fleet management section’s Mark Minnick, James Lewis, John Cheatham, Terrance Coates, Michael Jones, Matthew Fortier and Michelle Milligan for meeting and exceeding electric hybrid vehicle acquisition “targets set by executive orders and the HHS Sustainability Implementation Plan.” 

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ Kerri Hartung, Paul Johnson, Steve Novak, Bill Steinmetz, Alexander Santago, Kyle Askins, Bill Blair, Ben Hocutt, Lee Howell and Greg Leifer for completing “a Decarbonization Assessment, the first of its kind for NIH.”


NIH Freezer Challenge for going beyond the requirements of the NIH Freezer Policy “to further increase freezer and refrigerator reliability and reduce energy consumption.” 

Environmental Stewardship Category


Brandi McCoy Williamson of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseasesfor “creating a more sustainable research environment at Rocky Mountain Laboratories.” 

Mansi Mehta of the NIH Office of Research Facilities’ Division of Environmental Protection (DEP) for spearheading “coordination efforts to establish a partnership between the NIH DEP and Montgomery County to implement a pre-consumer food scrap recycling pilot at several NIH cafeterias.” 

Small Group

Willie Davis, Christopher J. Batzel Jr., Javier Arce-Colon, Kimarlo Burke, Michael Turner and Dawin Rodriguez in the property reutilization and disposal section of the Property Management Branch’s Division of Logistics Services for managing “excess property collected from the 27 institutes and centers.” 

The Office of Research Facilities and Health and Safety Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, for collaborating to “replace dated water fountains with 43 modern bottle fillers. The goal was to reduce single-use plastics on campus, improve the health of staff, provide filtered drinking water and increase employee satisfaction on-campus.” Awardees are Marcos Flores, Derrick Vest, Eric Frails, Barry Yancey, Fred Schwartz, Steven Todd Johnson, Greg Westmoreland, Kerri Hartung and Arrash Yazdani. 

Water Use Efficiency and Management Category


Mark Miller of the NIH Division of Environmental Protection’s Environmental Compliance Branch for being a “leader in the strengthening of sustainable water use management best practices throughout NIH operations.”

Climate Resilience and Health Equity Category


The NIH Climate Change and Health Working Group for spearheading the “NIH Climate and Health Initiative.” The purpose of the initiative is to “assist in the nation’s capacity to better address the health impacts of climate change and extreme weather events, especially focused on the most vulnerable populations.”

A full list of winners and award summaries can be found at

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

Published 25 times each year, it comes out on payday Fridays.

Assistant Editor: Eric Bock (link sends e-mail)

Staff Writer: Amber Snyder (link sends e-mail)