The William A. McAdams Award is given in recognition of significant contributions to the certification process and the promotion of professionalism in the field of health physics. This year the Award is given to Ms. Kathryn H. Pryor in recognition of her energetic dedication to the practice of health physics and her prolific professional accomplishments.
For the past 25 years, Kathy has provided management and technical support to radiation protection programs at radiological facilities regulated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (U.S. NRC), and Agreement States. Her well-rounded background includes assignments at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Trojan Nuclear Plant, University of Southern California Health Sciences Campus, and Southern California Edison Company.
Kathy attended the St. Andrews Priory School for Girls in Honolulu, HI, and was not particularly fond of science during her high school years. She was especially not fond of biology, having had to catch and transport a very large toad to school to disect in her biology class. Kathy began her college education in fashion design at the University of Hawaii. She came to the realization that perhaps a fashion design degree was not going to put enough food on the table, and instead switched to pre-medicine at Washington State University. Kathy graduated from the University of Washington with a B.S. degree in Biology, followed by a M.S. degree in Radiological Sciences.
Following graduation, Kathy was offered a position at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in San Clemente, CA. She worked with a large number of Certified Health Physicists, all of whom provided support and encouragement in pursuing certification by the American Board of Health Physics (ABHP). Kathy held technical support positions both at the plant and in Southern California Edison's corporate office. She then held the position of Radiation Safety Officer at the University of Southern California Health Sciences Campus, administering the school's radioactive materials license and managing the campus Radiation Safety Office. Kathy moved back to the Northwest for a position first as a Health Physicist and later as the Radaition Protection Technical Support Supervisor at the Trojan Nuclear Plant.
Kathy is currently a Chief Health Physicist at PNNL, with responsibility for regulatory analysis and technical support of the Radiological Safety and Health programs. Kathy also currently leads the Safety and Health task for the Pit Disassembly and Conversion Facility design project, managing the assessment of worker dose for the facility and the application of radiological controls to its design. Kathy previously held the position of Manager, Safety and Health Technical Support, managing a group of health physicists, industrial hygienists and safety engineers in providing technical support and field dosimetry services forhte Radiological Control and Worker Safety and Health programs at PNNL.
Kathy became interested in becomming a Certified Health Physicist while working as a technician in the University of Washington Radiation Safety Office. She has been certified by the ABHP since 1986, and was certified in both Comprehensive Practice and the Power Reactor specialty at the time. Kathy began her service to the ABHP on the Part II Examination Panel in 1990, including service as Vice Chair and Chair in 1993 and 1994. Following this, whe served on the ABHP as Board Member, Parliamentarian, Secretary, Vice Chair and Chair. Her service on the American Academy of Health Physics (AAHP) includes a term as the Secretary, as a Director, and on the Continuing Education and Nominating Committees.
While on the ABHP, Kathy actively provided oversight of the exam process in order to maintain a consistent level of quality. She also graded questions on the Part II exam each of the years that she was a Board Member, and frequently served as a Grading Group Leader. Kathy's goal as a Panel Member and subsequently as Panel Chair was to keep questions to a managable length, to strive for clarity and to maintain a balance of subject matter on the exam. Even years after her tenure, the ABHP continues to seek Kathy's counsel by asking her to perform final QA reviews of the certification examination in a process that has traditionally come to be know as the "Wise Person Review." She has ably served in this role many times.
During her tenure as Board Chair, the reengineering effort for the Part II Exam was underway. As a chief steward for the AAHP financial resources and the ABHP's reputation, it became important to reassess the progress towards reengineering of the Part II Exam. After carefully leading the Board through a rigorous analysis of the progress and status of this effort, the end result was that the Board voted to discontinue the reengineering effort and to examine alternate methods of achieving the goals of the Part II Exam. The succeeding Board did achieve this desired outcome through closing the Part II question bank and gathering statistics on the performance of the questions.
Kathy is currently serving as the Secretary-Elect of the Health Physics Society (HPS) and has previously served a term on its Board of Directors. She has also served the HPS on the Placement Committee, the Standards Committee, and as a member of various standards working groups. Kathy is a proud member of the Columbia Chapter of the HPS. The Chapter has greatly benefited from her active participation including offices as Secretary, President-Elect, President, and Past President. She also servied on the Local Arrangements Committee for the 2005 HPS Annual Meeting. Because of her many contributions to the field and her dedicated service to the Health Physics community and the profession, the Columbia Chapter selected her as the 2003 recipient of hte prestigious John P. Corley Meritorious Service Award.
Kathy and her husband, Dale, recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. They have three teenaged children: Jeffery, Erik, and Lindsey.
Jim Tarpinian, Vice Chair ABHP