Leslie J. Hutchinson, MD, MPH, FACOEM, received training in epidemiology and public health at The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health and in medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Wright State University School of Medicine, and the Emory University School of Public Health. He acquired professional knowledge through study of sciences–biology, chemistry, physics, biochemistry, microbiology, neural sciences, psychology and psychiatry, basic medical sciences, clinical medicine, toxicology, public health, and epidemiology. He has applied extensive medical, public health, epidemiological, and behavioral sciences expertise in work he has performed.
Dr. Hutchinson began working in Clinical Virology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine. While there, he made the first complete demonstration of the reversion of a vaccine virus to a wild or disease-causing virus after being administered to humans and published this work while in high school. Later, he identified the cause of the distribution of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever cases in a nearby endemic county and co-authored publication of this work in college.
As a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Visiting Program Staff Fellow at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), he coordinated and co-authored literature reviews of the toxic effects of dozens of metals and other chemicals and condensed that information into updated and revised NIOSH regulatory recommendations to the Department of Labor (DOL) about workplace toxicant exposures. At the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), he authored and peer reviewed many public health assessments of hazardous waste and contaminated sites, including detailed medical issues about a very large range of chemical toxicants. He provided exposure and toxicity evaluations to serve as a basis for emergency and urgent responses. He pioneered the use of effective risk communication techniques in large town-hall meetings, large to small groups of concerned citizens, and individual medical evaluations to help concerned citizens resolve their perceptions of outrage and risk about environmental and workplace hazards with the technical evaluations of federal agency scientists and managers. He provided technical assistance to state health departments about how to perform public health assessments at such sites and conduct such risk communication efforts. He worked in the development of courses to teach public health assessment and consultation and risk communication to build these capacities in state and municipal health departments. While at ATSDR, he received the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Superior Accomplishment Award–Special Act or Service, for pioneering the use of neurobehavioral testing batteries to evaluate the effects of environmental hazard exposures.
At the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, Edgewood Chemical and Biological Command, Dr. Hutchinson completed training and received the Certificate of Training in Medical Management of Chemical Weapons Casualties. He was appointed as a Member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Board of Investigation for the Chemical Release at the Munitions Demilitarization Building, Umatilla Chemical Weapons Depot. His epidemiological investigation of those affected by the alleged chemical release revealed that odors and effects on workers resulted from welding metals in indoor spaces with poor ventilation. This finding was important in helping the U.S. meet its treaty obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention with the Soviet Union. He served as a Medical Exercise Evaluator and Instructor, Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (originally Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)) teaching medical providers, emergency responders, and federal officials the all-hazards approach to managing weapons of mass destruction and other large scale incidents in classes and practicing application of it in exercises. He was named as a Member of the Delegation to Assess Japanese Government Readiness for Terrorist Attacks with Weapons of Mass Destruction Following the Subway Sarin Attack. The delegation went to Tokyo for the U.S. National Guard Bureau to assess Japanese readiness for further weapons of mass destruction and terrorist attacks. He was a Medical Instructor for “Hospital Emergency Management–Concepts and Implications of Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorist Incidents” for DHS (originally the Department of Justice (DOJ)). For two years, he was a Medical Surety Inspector for the U.S. Army Materiel Command. He performed inspections of the Army and demilitarization contractors’ medical clinics at the chemical weapons depots to assess and improve preparedness for handing chemical weapons casualties. In these contexts, Dr. Hutchinson participated in materials, course, and exercise development and presentation of them to state and local agency and hospital staffs to build capacity to apply the all-hazards emergency response approach, which optimizes preparation for and response to all forms of man-made and natural incidents, from terrorist incidents to natural disasters.
At the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Dietrick, Maryland,e completed training and received the Certificate of Training in Medical Defense Against Biological Warfare. He has performed many consultations involving extreme biological hazards. In his consulting practice, Dr. Hutchinson has performed many evaluations of the effects of radioactive hazards in workplaces, the environment, and other settings. He served as a District Medical Consultant for U.S. Department of Labor, Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation, and the U.S. Department of Energy, Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation, Office of Worker Advocacy.
For 18 years taught courses in “Environmental Health” and “The Public Health Impacts of War and Terrorism” at the Emory University School of Public Health. He also taught at the University of Georgia and frequently lectured at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Besides teaching about the nature of hazard exposures and their effects, Dr. Hutchinson taught the basic principles of the spectrum of environmental investigations and epidemiology and how to analyze causal connections between specific exposures and indicated medical diagnoses. He taught students how to develop the educational courses and exercises to build capacity in handling emergency responses to hazard exposures and risk communication programs to increase public awareness of the true nature of hazards and their effects, preventing negative public opinion based on incorrect or incomplete information.
Frequently, during his longstanding occupational and environmental medicine and toxicology consulting practice at HLM Medical Consultants, contractors, coworkers, and clients have commented that Dr. Hutchinson provides a rare integration of clinical medicine, epidemiology, public health, microbiology, toxicology, exposure and risk assessment and management, chemistry, and physics, and the ability to apply knowledge and experience in these areas to new contexts, applications, and problem solving. They have often stated that they have looked for this type of expertise for many years, but have been unable to find it. Dr. Hutchinson’s wide range of experiences in such areas have made him a very strong resource for technology and information transfer between disciplines, making connections between information from different areas, and organizing large amounts of complex information for optimal use.