Introduction to Evidence Package
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is seeking external review of its programs by the National Academies (NA) to assess its contribution to the public good and to improve its research and management. There are three objectives for this review, to assess:
- Progress in reducing workplace illness and injuries through occupational safety and health research through an analysis of relevant data about workplace illness and injuries for the program activity and an evaluation of the effect that NIOSH research has had in reducing illness and injuries.
- Progress in targeting new research to the areas of occupational safety and health (OSH) most relevant to future improvements in workplace protection.
- Significant emerging research areas that appear especially important in terms of their relevance to the mission of NIOSH.
NIOSH believes that the “Framework for the Review of NIOSH Research Programs” (“Framework”), developed by the Committee for the Review of NIOSH Research Programs, will result in a fair evaluation. NIOSH expects that the work of the NA Evaluation Committees (EC) will also help its managers manage its research programs.
NIOSH looks forward to supporting the NA ECs so that workers everywhere will benefit from an improved Institute. This report is the initial “evidence package” from NIOSH to the Hearing Loss Research (HLR) program EC assembled by the NA. We stress “initial” because we believe that the HLR program review will be best-served by substantial communications between the program and the EC throughout the process. It is understood that the EC and the NA are charged with executing a thorough review of the program and that to do so it will need a lot of information from NIOSH. We have tried to anticipate all of those needs with this package. However, some of those needs will not be known until the EC has begun its work. Thus, NIOSH looks forward to an ongoing dialogue with the EC as it completes the review.
NIOSH was guided in the preparation of this evidence package by a draft of the “Framework.” That document outlines a process for review of NIOSH programs and an organized list of examples of the kinds of evidence that the research programs could provide to assist with that process. NIOSH believes that the HLR program may be most coherently presented in terms of four research goals. Those goals were used to organize the rest of this evidence package.
In sections of the package that follow this introduction, we provide an introduction to NIOSH, followed by an introduction to the HLR program, including its research goals, external factors that affect the program, and emerging issues for the program.
Each of the four research goals is divided into a number of sub-goals. Within sections that are included for each sub-goal, there are five parts:
- Issue– the research need addressed by this part of the HLR program
- Approach – the research activities undertaken
- Outputs – a description of the research outputs (e.g., reports and journal articles) and activities by the program to transfer the outputs to others
- Intermediate Outcomes – the actions of other groups after they receive the outputs of the research program. We chose to classify the actions of others to request our outputs (such as requesting a copy of a research report or visiting our hearing loss Web site) as intermediate outcomes. Other examples of intermediate outcomes are standards, technologies, training methods, analytic methods, and control strategies adopted by others as a result of HLR program outputs.
- What’s Ahead? – activities planned to extend the research program and potential outputs and intermediate outcomes that may result
At the end of each research sub-goal, there is a “Supporting Evidence”section that lists all of the formal outputs for that sub-goal.
The sections that follow the research goal reports include a chapter that reformats the Supporting Evidence of the research goals sections according to the “Framework” and provides a description of partnerships, databases, workshops, and conferences developed and executed by the HLR program over approximately ten years.
The rest of this introduction summarizes what we believe are the main contributions of the HLR program to the health of workers.