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About the NIOSH Office of Construction Safety and Health

In December, 2009, NIOSH announced its new Office of Construction Safety and Health. Construction is a key industrial sector that employs more than eight million Americans. The Office will ensure rigorous coordination of construction safety and health research, partnerships, and practice to address the safety and health challenges that construction workers face.


Christine Branche
Principal Associate Director, and
Director, NIOSH Office of Construction Safety and Health

Christine Branche is the Principal Associate Director of NIOSH and the Director of the Office of Construction Safety and Health. From July 2008 through August 2009, Christine was the Acting Director of NIOSH. Upon joining NIOSH in 2007, she worked on the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 and its Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health. Prior to joining NIOSH, Christine was in the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, first as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer and matriculating to the Director, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention. Before coming to CDC, Christine worked extensively in occupational and environmental epidemiology. Her degrees include a B.A. in Biology and an M.S.P.H. and Ph.D. in Epidemiology.

Matt Gillen
Deputy Director, NIOSH Office of Construction Safety and Health and
Coordinator, NORA Construction Sector

Matt Gillen is Deputy Director for the Office of Construction Safety and Health. Since joining NIOSH in 2000, he has worked to coordinate and plan construction research efforts and build stronger relationships between researchers and the construction industry. His activities include liaison to construction partners, coordination of a National Construction Center cooperative agreement, strategic planning and program evaluation. Matt serves as NIOSH Co-chair for the multi-stakeholder National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Construction Sector Council, and as the NIOSH representative to the OSHA Advisory Committee for Construction Safety and Health. During his tenure at NIOSH, he has also served as a Senior Scientist and has been involved with special assignments such as representing NIOSH on interagency groups coordinating anthrax contamination remediation and clearance determinations in the aftermath of the bioterrorism incidents of 2001.

Prior to joining NIOSH, Matt was with the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics of the Environmental Protection Agency. His duties included federal interagency coordination on occupational initiatives related to toxic chemical and lead and asbestos issues. Other previous positions include those with the Workers’ Institute for Safety and Health, the Occupational Health Foundation, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Construction-related experience includes evaluation of oil spill remediation and paper mill construction operations and development of apprentice and journeymen training curricula on asbestos, lead, and hazardous wastes. He is certified in the comprehensive practice of industrial hygiene by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene, and is a member of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists and the American Industrial Hygiene Association, where he is active on the Construction Committee. Mr. Gillen received his M.S in Industrial Hygiene from the University of Cincinnati.

Nancy Romano
Safety and Occupational Health Specialist, Division of Safety Research and
Assistant Coordinator, NORA Construction Sector

Nancy Romano has been with NIOSH since 1999 as a Safety and Occupational Health Specialist in the Division of Safety Research in Morgantown, WV. Nancy is also the project officer for the State-based Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program. FACE is a research program designed to identify and study fatal occupational injuries. The goal of the FACE program is to prevent occupational fatalities across the nation by identifying and investigating work situations at high risk for injury and then formulating and disseminating prevention strategies to those who can intervene in the workplace.

Nancy has a Certified Safety and Health Management certification by the Institute for Safety and Health Management. She received her M.S. in Occupational Safety Management from West Virginia University.

Nancy serves on the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Specialty Advisory Committee for Safety Professionals and the Latino Workforce and is a member of the ASSE Construction Practice Specialty.

Elizabeth Garza
Public Health Analyst, NIOSH Office of Construction Safety and Health

Elizabeth Garza has been with NIOSH since 2009 as a Public Health Analyst. She worked first with NIOSH’s Deputy Director for Program, and its Office of Global Collaborations. She began working with the Office of Construction Safety and Health in 2012. Her public health expertise and fluency in Spanish have enabled her to take the lead on disparities issues in construction.

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