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Midwest Center for Occupational Health & Safety.

Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Final Grant Report T42-OH-008434, 2007 Sep; :1-285
The purpose of the Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety (MCOHS) Education and Research Center (ERC) is to ensure an outstanding center that provides: 1) cutting-edge interdisciplinary academic and research training to prepare exceptional leaders who make significant contributions to the field of occupational health and safety, and (2) continuing education to prepare professionals in the field to address current and emerging threats to the nation's health and safety. This ERC, one of 16 nationwide, was designed in response to a mandate of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) -- to provide an adequate supply of qualified personnel to carry out the purposes of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and reduce the national burden of work-related injury and illness. The MCOHS, recognized regionally, nationally, and internationally for its impact, has a service area that includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North and South Dakota. The MCOHS provides graduate degree programs, continuing education and outreach activities, and serves as a regional resource for industry, labor, federal, state, and local government agencies, agriculture, and other interested parties. For over 30 years, the MCOHS has successfully served the educational and research needs of occupational health and safety professionals and workers in the upper Midwest and nationally and, more recently, at the global level. Outstanding graduate and continuing professional education programs have been created in: occupational medicine; industrial hygiene; occupational and environmental health nursing; occupational injury prevention research; and occupational health services research and policy. Selected academic and continuing education training programs also offer innovative specialization tracks and continuing education in agricultural safety and health and hazardous substances to better meet the health and safety needs of a diverse workforce. An external advisory board, consisting of occupational safety and health practitioners and community leaders, advises the Center's administration and faculty on trends shaping practice in occupational safety and health and implications for the Center's education, research, and outreach efforts. The academic programs offer professional education at the master's and doctoral levels. The purpose of master's level (MPH, MS, and dual-degree MS/MPH) training is to produce well-trained specialists in occupational health and safety. Graduates of the masters' programs serve the needs of industry, government agencies, private consulting, clinical practice, and labor and community groups. The research training (PhD) programs are designed to produce independent investigators who will provide occupational health and safety leadership in academia, industry, and government. To increase the Center's educational "reach", provide cost-efficient continuing education, and respond to feedback from occupational safety and health professionals throughout the region, the MCOHS collaborates closely with the Continuing Education administrative home, the Centers for Public Health Education and Outreach (CPHEO), to provide more alternative learning strategies. CPHEO has an outstanding record in continuing education, as well as in distance learning that includes a new Digital Learning Group with expertise to create interactive online learning products. During the past five years, the academic programs have graduated 60 professionals. During this same period, 108 students were enrolled in degree programs; of these, 74 were new trainees. Continuing education programs, including hazardous substance training and agricultural health and safety, offered a total of 223 courses that were attended by 5,885 participants. The Midwest Center's faculty and staff continued to provide outreach and service to educational institutions, professional organizations, governmental agencies, industry, and the general public throughout the region. An extensive number of externally-funded research grants (n=116), in concert with center support, was generated by program faculty between 2002 and 2007 and provided strong support for the high quality of research production by the programs. During the past five years, resulting publications in peer-reviewed journals and professional presentations at the local, national and international levels, have addressed cutting-edge research in occupational health and safety. There has been a minimum of 163 faculty and student peer-reviewed publications. In addition, there have been a minimum of 350 faculty and student research presentations related to the programs; this includes research disseminated at local, regional, national and international professional meetings. Students were directly involved in a minimum of 78 publications and 93 presentations. Disseminating these results to audiences beyond our immediate MCOHS region extends the reach, visibility, and reputation of our Center. Most importantly, many of the papers and presentations have also provided a basis for translation of research into practice that are being used to impact worker protection. Examples of the impact on worker protection, based on faculty/student research and outreach activities, include the following that represent only a small proportion of the MCOHS activities: 1. Studies among agricultural household members on both agriculture and non-agriculture-related injuries, in five upper Midwest states, identified not only incidence and consequences of these injuries for all ages - but, also risk factors for agriculture-related injury among children; results have served as a basis for development of intervention efforts and dissemination to key professionals as well as the agricultural community; 2. Results from evaluation of a method for incorporating professional judgment regarding exposure assessment quantitatively into industrial hygiene decision-making indicated that targeted training dramatically improves the accuracy of exposure decisions; 3. Identification of risk factors for occupational violence, in a large Midwestern health care system, provided a basis for interventions including the redesign of a violent incident reporting surveillance system in order to target high-risk areas/situations, and development of fact sheets for managers and employees to enhance proactive activities and, thus, prevent adverse outcomes; 4. Two major studies on work-related violence in populations of employees (one focusing on nurses and the other on Kindergarten-12th grade educators) enabled identification of the magnitude of the problem (physical and non-physical violence), and risk factors for physical assault. Many findings have been disseminated broadly to key decision-makers as well as the populations at-risk and are being used as a basis for focused intervention efforts; 5. Identification of worker health and safety exposures throughout the milk production and processing system and critical biosecurity control points to protect milk from intentional contamination has complemented strong educational program, outreach and research relationships with state and federal agencies to ensure safety of potentially exposed workers as well as the general public; 6. A collaborative effort with two state agencies identified improved methods for assessment of methamphetamine vapor and aerosol in a former clandestine methamphetamine laboratory that enables improved safety for hazards remediation workers; 7. Research, pertinent to agricultural worker and family safety of Asian immigrants, has directly led to efforts addressing the control of occupational health exposures from H5N1 Avian Influenza in Vietnam, Thailand, and in communities throughout the United States; 8. Findings from a study of hospital negative-pressure isolation rooms, relevant to control of airborne bacteria or viruses exhaled by infected patients, are being used to guide improvements in isolation capabilities to protect workers and others against emerging diseases. including H5N1 Avian Influenza. 9. A study of occupational medicine physicians on the importance of specific core competencies required of their specialty, provides guidance for the content of training programs, including a need for greater emphasis on career development skills; 10. Based on a demonstration and evaluation project, disability prevention principles and practices were disseminated through national medical journals, a workers' compensation website, and inclusion within the formal curricula of residency programs and the ACOEM Disability Prevention Guideline; 11. A study of employed women's health after childbirth revealed vaginal (versus cesarean) delivery to be strongly associated with overall improved physical health at five weeks after childbirth, an important finding given a cesarean delivery rate in the United States at a record high of 29% in 2004. The published findings were highlighted in 2006 as important to practitioners by the editor of The American Family Physician, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians that reaches more than 190,000 family physicians and other clinicians. The MCOHS faculty and students have also received numerous prestigious awards during the past five years that have recognized their contributions to the field of occupational safety and health. These awards provide further evidence of the impact accomplished by the center efforts. In summary, the MCOHS has demonstrated excellence in graduate and continuing professional education in occupational safety and health and incorporates novel distance learning technologies to serve the needs of a diverse workforce. The MCOHS is committed to continued excellence in occupational safety and health education and research for the Midwestern United States that is recognized globally, and will continue to produce the leaders who make important contributions to the safety and health of the nation's workforce.
Education; Educational-research-centers; Industrial-hygiene; Industrial-hygiene-programs; Industrial-health-programs; Industrial-hygienists; Occupational-health-nursing; Occupational-health-programs; Occupational-health; Epidemiology; Hazardous-materials
Ian Greaves, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455
Publication Date
Document Type
Final Grant Report
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
University of Minnesota Twin Cities