Input: NIOSH Strategic Goals
As part of the overall NIOSH program planning activities, the Exposure Assessment Cross-Sector Area has developed strategic goals to guide our research and partnership efforts over the next decade:
Strategic Goal 1: Develop or improve exposure assessment strategies to understand and prevent work-related illnesses and injuries.
Strategic Goal 2: Develop or improve specific methods and tools to assess worker exposures to critical occupational agents and stressors.
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 we want 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. Setting goals is challenging because:
- 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--we must partner well 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. Eight NORA Sector Programs represent industrial sectors, and twenty-four Cross-sector Programs organized around adverse health outcomes, statutory programs and global efforts.
The NORA 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 32 programs in the NIOSH Program Portfolio has a Manager and Coordinator. Each of the 8 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 will be 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 Program Assessment Rating Tool (or PART). PART is a mechanism to hold governmental agencies accountable for accomplishing results. As part of our comprehensive approach to performance measurement, NIOSH has engaged the National Academies to independently evaluate our sector and cross-programs for relevance and impact.
Exposure Assessment Cross-Sector Goals
Strategic Goal 1
Develop or improve exposure assessment strategies to understand and prevent work-related illnesses and injuries.
Overall Performance Measure: Reduced worker illnesses and injuries as a result of the acceptance and application of the improved or newly developed exposure assessment strategies by 1) researchers and communicators in the NIOSH Program Portfolio Areas, 2) professional organizations and occupational health practitioners, and 3) national and international regulatory agencies.
Update of the NIOSH Occupational Exposure Sampling and Strategies Manual: A special initiative in support of Strategic Goal 1. NIOSH is working with stakeholders to update occupational exposure sampling strategy guidance appropriate for the evaluation and control of a variety of occupational exposure agents.
Strategic Goal 2
Develop or improve specific methods and tools to assess worker exposures to critical occupational agents and stressors.
Overall Performance Measure: Reduced worker illnesses and injuries as a result of and as evidenced by the acceptance and application of the improved or newly developed exposure assessment methods and tools by 1) researchers and communicators in the NIOSH Program Portfolio Areas, 2) professional organizations and occupational health practitioners, and 3) national and international regulatory agencies.
The NIOSH Direct-Reading Methods Initiative: As a special initiative in support of Strategic Goal 2, NIOSH is working with stakeholders to assess and improve direct-reading methods for exposure assessment. View the NIOSH Direct-Reading Methods topic page to learn more about this NIOSH initiative.
The Exposure Initiative: A special initiative in support of Strategic Goal 2, NIOSH is exploring the challenges of measuring exposures, the interaction of past exposures with disease, and how to use this information in the prevention of occupational illness.
Request for Feedback
NIOSH is interested in your opinions about the relevance and value of our strategic goals for the Exposure Assessment Cross-sector Area. We encourage you to consider partnering with us on issues of interest to you and your organization. For information about partnering with the NIOSH Exposure Assessment Program, contact the Exposure Assessment Program Coordinator.
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