NIOSH Extramural Research and Training

Centers of Excellence for Total Worker Health®

Key points

  • The Total Worker Health approach recognizes the role that job-related factors have on well-being.
  • NIOSH funds 10 academic Centers of Excellence for Total Worker Health across the U.S.
  • Centers conduct multidisciplinary research to advance worker safety, health and well-being.
Workers in sterile environment pack orders


The NIOSH Total Worker Health (TWH) approach brings together all aspects of work in integrated interventions. The goal is to collectively address worker safety, health, and well-being.

Traditionally, occupational safety and health programs have focused on ensuring work is safe. They protect workers from the harms that arise from work itself. TWH builds on this approach by recognizing that work is a social determinant of health. Job-related factors that affect well-being include wages, hours of work, workload, stress levels, workplace social interactions, and access to paid leave.

NIOSH funds 10 academic Centers of Excellence for Total Worker Health. The Centers are hubs for TWH-related research and practice. They build the scientific evidence base necessary to develop new solutions for complex occupational safety and health problems. Their research offers practical solutions that keep workers safe and healthy. It also helps employers build and retain a productive workforce.

The Centers use multidisciplinary research projects, including intervention-focused research, outreach and education. Evaluation activities help to improve our understanding of which solutions work. Centers' novel research has the potential to improve the safety and health of workers, employers, and communities.


Map of the United States with the locations of the 10 TWH Centers marked.
The 10 TWH Centers serve as hubs for research and practice.

California Labor Laboratory (CALL Center) at the University of California, San Francisco.

Carolina Center for Healthy Work Design and Worker Well-Being at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health.

Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace (CPH-NEW) at the University of Connecticut and University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest at the University of Iowa. The Center is a collaboration among four universities and three organizations.

Johns Hopkins Psychosocial, Organizational, and Environmental (POE) Total Worker Health® Center (POE Center) at Johns Hopkins University.

Oregon Healthy Workforce Center (OHWC) at Oregon Health & Science University, Portland State University, and University of Washington.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Center for Work, Health, & Wellbeing at Harvard University.

University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Center for Healthy Work at University of Illinois at Chicago.

Utah Center for the Promotion of Work Equity Research (U-Power) at the University of Utah.

Research priorities

The Centers' work advances a variety of issues relevant to the TWH approach. The following issues are current priorities:

  • Opioid and other substance use disorders in the workplace
  • TWH outreach, education, and training
  • Measuring worker well-being
  • Future of work
  • Healthy work design and well-being
  • Workplace mental health and worker well-being
Man with dark hair and a beard, wearing large headphones, is participating in a virtual meeting on his laptop.
Workplace flexibilities are one of the topics studied by TWH Centers.

Funding sources

TWH Centers are funded through a cooperative agreement that runs in five-year cycles. The current cooperative agreement under PAR-20-297 has a project cycle of 2021-2026. Previously, NIOSH funded the TWH Centers from 2016-2021 under PAR-15-361.

  • Total Worker Health® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).