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NIOSH Respiratory Diseases Research Program

Evidence Package for the National Academies' Review 2006-2007

NIOSH Programs > Respiratory Diseases > Evidence Package > 1. Introduction to NIOSH

1.3 Organizational Structure and Management

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NIOSH is located within CDC. CDC, in turn, is located within DHHS. The NIOSH Director is appointed by the DHHS Secretary and reports to the CDC Director. DHHS has recently implemented performance-based management, in which management responsibilities cascade through the administrative structure. Thus, each manager has formal responsibilities written into their performance plan specifically tailored to support the responsibilities of others higher in the management chain. Under this system of management, responsibilities ultimately derive from priorities established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a component of the White House.

The administrative structural components of NIOSH are shown in Figure 1. The main organizational units are divisions and laboratories. These are a mixture of disease and injury-specific divisions (respiratory diseases, safety research), expertise-specific divisions (applied research and technology, laboratory research, surveillance and field studies, education and information dissemination), and industry-specific units (mining). The divisions and laboratories are geographically dispersed in Cincinnati, Morgantown, Pittsburgh, and Spokane. NIOSH leadership is located in Washington, DC, and Atlanta. To coordinate across these geographically dispersed units, NIOSH makes extensive use of modern information technology, including e-mail and video conferencing (“envision”).

Beginning in 2005, NIOSH developed and implemented a matrix management structure to coordinate cross-institute programmatic activities. This “Program Portfolio” created formal management for such activities. One of the cross-institutional activities within the matrix management structure is the RDRP, which will be described in more detail in chapter 2. The NIOSH cross-institutional matrix management structure is depicted in Table 1.

NIOSH is committed to performance-based management. It has recently developed several key performance indicators to track organizational performance. Examples include tracking of financial performance by establishing and monitoring the percent of total funding to divisions and laboratories used for discretionary purposes (i.e., not personnel, salary, and benefits). The NIOSH target is 25 percent discretionary by 2010. The FY 2006 ratio was 20 percent. Another example is optimizing the ratio of supervisory staff to non-supervisory staff. CDC established a FY 2006 goal of 1:10. In FY 2006, the NIOSH ratio was 1:13.

NIOSH management occurs within the context of broader federal management requirements and initiatives. The 1993 Government Performance and Results Act mandated that federal agencies develop multiyear strategic plans, annual performance plans, and annual performance reports.

Figure 1: Organizational Components of NIOSH

Figure 1

Table 1: Matrix Management Components of NIOSH

NORA Sector Programs (n=8)




Assistant Coordinators

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing

George Conway

Brad Husberg

Jennifer Lincoln


Frank Hearl

Matt Gillen

Jim Albers

Healthcare and Social Assistance

David Weissman

Teri Palermo

Jim Boiano


Mary Lynn Woebkenberg

Mike Gressel

Rebecca Valladares Carlo


Jeff Kohler

Jeff Welsh

Randy Reed


Terri Schnorr

David Utterback

Luenda Charles

Wholesale and Retail Trade

Paul Schulte

Vern Anderson

Terri Heidotting

Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities

Nancy Stout

Stephanie Pratt

Audrey Reichard





NIOSH Cross-Sector Programs (n=15)

Authoritative Recommendations

Paul Schulte

Chuck Geraci and Christine Sofge


Cancer, Repro and Cardiovascular

Terri Schnorr

Doug Trout

Mary Schubauer-Berigan

Communications and Information Dissemination

Max Lum

Fred Blosser


Emergency Preparedness/Response

Max Kiefer

John Decker

Chia-Chia Chang

Global Collaborations

Max Lum

Marilyn Fingerhut

Marisa Oge

Health Hazard Evaluation HHE)

Terri Schnorr

Allison Tepper


Hearing Loss Prevention

Güner Gürtunca

Mark Stephenson

David Yantek

Immune and Dermal

Al Munson

Mike Luster and Don Beezhold

Murali Rao

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Al Munson


Oliver Wirth

Personal Protective Technology

Les Boord

Jeff Welsh and Maryann D'Alessandro

Angie Shepard

Radiation Dose Reconstruction

Larry Elliott

Jim Neton


Respiratory Diseases

David Weissman

Ainsley Weston

Jay Collinet

Training Grants

Mike Galvin

John Talty


Traumatic Injury

Nancy Stout

Jim Collins

Dan Hartley

Work Organization and Stress-Related Disorders

Mary Lynn Woebkenberg

Steve Sauter

Jeannie Nigam





NIOSH Coordinated Emphasis Areas (n=7)


Delon Hull

Rene Pana-Cryan

Steve Hudock

Exposure Assessment

David Weissman

Mark Hoover

Gayle DeBord

Engineering Controls

Mary Lynn Woebkenberg

Ron Hall

Duane Hammond

WorkLife Initiative

Greg Wagner

Teri Palermo

Tanya Headley

Occupational Health Disparities

Terri Schnorr

Sherry Baron


Small Business Assistance and Outreach

Paul Schulte

Carol Merry Stephenson

Paula Grubb


Terri Schnorr

John Sestito

Cathy Rotunda

Another management requirement is responsiveness to the OMB Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART A1-2), which is used by OMB to assess federal agency performance on a number of measures including strategic planning, program management, and program results. PART performance ratings are an important consideration in budget requests by the President. Current NIOSH key performance measures for PART were established in 2004. They target the following safety and health-focused achievements by 2014 (note that two of the three are relevant to respiratory diseases):

  • 50 percent reduction in the respirable coal dust overexposures of operators of longwall and continuous mining machines, roofbolters, and surface drills
  • 40 percent reduction in the number of workers being struck by construction vehicles and equipment in the road construction industry
  • 75 percent of professional firefighters and first responders have access to CBRN respirators

A PART planning performance measure requires targeting 95 percent of new research to the areas of occupational safety and health most relevant to future improvements in workplace protection, as judged by independent panels of external customers, stakeholders and experts by 2009. Finally, a PART training performance measure requires that 80 percent of companies employing those with NIOSH training that rank the value added to the organization as good or excellent; and that 15 percent of practicing health and safety professionals have academic or continuing education training by 2009.

NIOSH receives external guidance and advice from two Federal Advisory Committees. The Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC) is composed of external authorities from a variety of fields related to occupational safety and health. The BSC members provide advice and guidance to NIOSH in developing and evaluating research hypotheses, systematically documenting findings, and disseminating results that will improve the safety and health of workers. They also evaluate the degree to which NIOSH activities: 1) conform to standards of scientific excellence in accomplishing objectives in occupational safety and health; 2) address currently relevant needs in the field of occupational safety and health, either alone or in collaboration with activities outside of NIOSH; and 3) produce their intended results in addressing important research questions in occupational safety and health, both in terms of applicability of the research findings and dissemination of the findings. The Mine Safety and Health Research Advisory Committee performs a similar function, except it is focused on issues related to occupational safety and health in mining.

Another source of external input is the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH). NACOSH was created under Section Seven of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to advise NIOSH and OSHA on occupational safety and health programs and policies. Members of the 12-person advisory committee are chosen on the basis of their knowledge and experience in occupational safety and health. Two members represent management, two members represent labor, two members represent the occupational health professions, two members represent the occupational safety professions and four members represent the public. Two of the health representatives and two of the public members are designated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, although actual appointment of these members, as well as all other members, is by the Secretary of Labor. The members serve two-year terms. NIOSH and OSHA provide staff support for NACOSH. The Director of NIOSH and the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health both usually attend NACOSH meetings. It is a vehicle not only for external input for the agencies but also a body to whom the agencies must be responsive. NACOSH meetings are held twice each year and are open to the public.