Outputs are the direct products of program activities and may include types (discipline), levels (baccalaureate, graduate, doctoral, and continuing education), and targets of services delivered by the program. The various academic curricula of the ERCs and TPGs produce graduates who have the knowledge and skills to provide clinical and consultative services, and design and produce educational materials for use in practice settings.
Occupational Safety and Health Programs (OSH) and Curricula
One of the primary goals of NIOSH TPGs is to provide current OSH knowledge to trainees who are, or will be, employed to improve occupational safety and health in U.S. workplaces. Training grantees produce academic program graduates in OSH specialty areas to enhance the OSH workforce and provide worker protection. Specialty areas include industrial hygiene, occupational health nursing, occupational medicine, occupational safety, and closely related OSH programs of study.
Master’s level trainees in ERCs complete a thesis, major paper, or capstone project. Doctoral trainees must meet university requirements by completing a dissertation or other scientific requirement. TPGs provide the majority of Bachelor’s level training. Three specialty programs—Health Services Research Training (HSRT), Occupational Injury Prevention Research Training (OIPRT), and Hazardous Substance Academic Training (HSAT)—are located only in ERCs. Allied programs—specialty academic programs in agriculture, ergonomics, occupational epidemiology, occupational health psychology, and biomarkers—are funded in ERCs and TPGs.
Clinical and Consultative Services
These outputs vary in scope and breadth. Occupational medicine and occupational health nursing programs generally include a practicum period with a variety of activities. In addition, physicians serve in occupational medicine clinics throughout their residency training. Students in occupational safety and industrial hygiene have consultation and field experience opportunities in their curriculum, allowing students to transfer their experience from classroom to practice and provide a service to the business and labor community.
Expansion and Dissemination of Knowledge
Professional activities are a major function of both faculty and students in ERC and TPG programs. Since peer-reviewed publications are a major accomplishment of research training programs, and in several cases a requirement, most universities encourage students to publish their research at the completion of their programs. At the same time, faculty research is ongoing and publications in peer-review journals are a critical activity. These publications are reported to NIOSH in annual progress reports and in competing renewal grant applications.
Program directors and key faculty serve on numerous professional association committees and present papers at national and international conferences. In many universities, students must present papers to attend conferences. As a result, many local student groups have emerged as subgroups of the professional associations.
Educational material developed by faculty and trainees in the universities can be disseminated to the worksite in several ways. For example, continuing education students are often practicing professionals and their training and material is directly applicable to their worksites, e.g., spirometry training manuals provided during training are excellent resources and guides for professionals conducting spirometry testing for workers at the worksite.
Developing mentors and leaders in NIOSH-supported programs is one of the most important accomplishments of the training programs. Many of the past and current ERC directors and key personnel are graduates of NIOSH-supported programs. Other graduates also hold leadership positions in federal and state government and private industry.
One of the most notable outputs of the NIOSH training program has been the institutionalization of OSH in the major academic centers across the country. This is a result of continuous support by NIOSH and university administrations to train professionals in the occupational health and safety field. Although national data are not available, the majority of occupational health and safety academic and research training programs in the United States are supported in part by NIOSH. NIOSH financial support is only part of the OSH training budget; however, the NIOSH funding recognizes excellence in OSH that helps the institutions to obtain additional funds.
A second accomplishment has been the benefit to the NIOSH research program -- a critical mission of NIOSH. The research portfolio is driven by a cadre of researchers in the funded universities who have successfully developed research expertise in the OSH field.
Occupational Health and Safety Graduates
NIOSH has compiled program graduate data covering the period 1977-2009. Over this period, 16,014 trainees have competed programs in the above OSH specialty areas. In the case of OM, the data include both academic degrees awarded (e.g., MPH) as well as certificates of completion of residency programs. A majority of the grantees provide academic OSH programs and curricula in core programs leading to degrees (Master’s, and Doctorate). Since 1977, in both ERCs and TPGs, 6,054 trainees graduated in industrial hygiene; 1,410 in occupational health nursing; 3,304 in occupational medicine (includes degrees and certificates of completion); 2,155 in occupational safety/ergonomics; and, 3,091 in other allied occupational health and safety practitioners. Over the most recent 5 years a total of 7,798 continuing education courses were delivered to 204,666. Over this 5-year period the mean values were 1,560 courses and 40,933 trainees.
The following table summarizes program graduate data over the most recent 5 years for which data reporting has been completed (2004-2009). The total number of graduates has gradually decreased from 2004 to 2009 reflecting in part the economy downturn.
NIOSH has supported the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) to conduct hazardous materials training since 1991. The primary Emergency Responder courses offered are: First Responder Operations, Confined Space Operations, as well as Radiation and Chemical Process courses. Each year more than 5,000 firefighters participate in the courses offered across the country.
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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