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	farm, forest, fishing boat

Inputs: NIOSH Strategic Goals

The NIOSH Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing Program has developed strategic goals to guide our research and partnership efforts over the next decade.

NIOSH previously used priority topic areas (e.g., traumatic injury, hearing loss) to guide research efforts. Goals take this approach a step further by identifying specific outcomes that NIOSH wants to target, performance measures for evaluating progress in meeting the outcome goals, and intermediate goals to describe the necessary steps that need to be performed to accomplish the goal. Some challenges for NIOSH in the goal setting process include:

  • It forces us to focus on a subgroup of issues where we think NIOSH can make an impact - a long list would spread our resources too thin to accomplish the goals. Not every worthwhile topic can be included.
  • It is difficult to develop performance measures. Available injury statistics have limitations, and exposure and health outcome measures are typically not available.
  • It is ambitious for NIOSH to set goals to achieve outcomes such as reductions in a national fatality rate. NIOSH is a research agency so we don't often directly influence outcomes. Therefore, we must form effective partnerships and influence other groups to show results.

NIOSH Program Portfolio Approach

NIOSH has been organizing research, guidance, information, and service efforts into specific programs that can be readily communicated and strategically governed and evaluated. Ten Sector Programs represent industrial sectors, and twenty-four Cross-sector Programs are organized around adverse health outcomes, statutory programs and global efforts.

The Sector Programs intersect with Cross-Sector Programs in a matrix-like fashion. For example, an Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Program goal of reducing farm-related deaths and injuries due to tractor rollovers and trucks would likely be a shared goal with the Transportation Program and if appropriate would be adopted by both programs. This approach provides an added advantage and will allow multiple Programs to work towards accomplishment of intersecting goals.

Each of the 34 programs in the NIOSH Program Portfolio has a Manager and Coordinator. Each of the 10 NIOSH Sector Programs facilitates the work of a NORA Sector Council to engage external stakeholders in the process of developing sector goals for the nation and methods to measure the short-term, intermediate and long-term outcomes arising from those goals. The NORA goals for the nation are considered when choosing NIOSH sector program goals. Cross Sector programs have internal Steering Committees that develop program goals and monitor outcome measures.

These planning efforts will position NIOSH to align with the most current governmental approaches for evaluating program effectiveness, i.e., the Government Performance and Results Act (or GPRA). GPRA is a mechanism to hold governmental agencies accountable for accomplishing results. As part of our comprehensive approach to performance measurement, Within the last five years, NIOSH has engaged the National Academies (2007) and an independent review (2012) to independently evaluate our sector and cross-programs for relevance and impact.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Program Goals for Intramural Research

The AgFF Sector Council has developed a research agenda for the nation to guide research and research-to-practice. The NIOSH AgFF program has adopted many of those goals into its own strategic plan. The Agenda consists of nine strategic goals designed to address top safety and health concerns and to promote the greatest opportunities to advance protections within the AFF Sector. Three of these goals guide current intramural research.

  • Strategic Goal 1: Maximize existing surveillance resources in the Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing Sector to describe: the nature, extent, and economic burden of occupational illnesses, injuries, and fatalities; occupational hazards; and worker populations at risk for adverse health outcomes.
  • Strategic Goal 8: Reduce the number, rate and severity of traumatic injuries (including deaths) involving hazards of commercial fishing.
  • Strategic Goal 9: To improve the health of commercial fishermen by reducing occupational causes or contributing factors to illness and disease.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Program Priority Goals for Extramural Research

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Program selected the following priority goals as particularly suited for extramural research during fiscal years 2014-16:

  • Strategic Goal 2: Reduce deleterious health and safety outcomes in workers more susceptible to injury or illness due to circumstances limiting options for safeguarding their own safety and health.
  • Strategic Goal 3: Move proven health and safety strategies into agricultural.
  • Strategic Goal 6: Reduce the number, rate and severity of traumatic injuries and deaths involving hazards of forestry.
  • Strategic Goal 7: Improve the health and well-being of forestry workers by reducing occupational causes or contributing factors to acute and chronic illness and disease.

Those seeking NIOSH grants to conduct studies benefiting workers in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector can view the current funding opportunities .

NIOSH is interested in your opinions about the relevance and value of these strategic goals for the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector. We encourage you to consider partnering with us on issues of interest to you and your organization. Contact the Program Coodinator,

NORA agriculture, forestry and fishing sector activities and contact information.