During the project period 1993-1998, the Deep South Educational Resource Center (ERC) for Occupational Safety and Health provided opportunities for academic and continuing education studies in the fields of industrial hygiene, occupational health nursing, occupational and environmental medicine, and occupational safety and ergonomics. Entering its Seventeenth year as an NIOSH Center, the Deep South ERC consists of the Schools of Public Health, Nursing, and Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and the Department of Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering, at Auburn University. In addition to the occupational medicine residency offered by the School of Medicine, the three academic programs provide opportunities for study at both the master's and doctoral level. The Center also has a continuing education and outreach program, which includes the hazardous substance training component, operating out of the office of the center director, administratively located in the UAB School of Public Health. The academic programs in this ERC have a well-established track record in education and research. They were strengthened during the reporting period by refining of the program curricula and emphasizing on research training. Faculty and students received national recognition for their contributions to the field. As with other NIOSH ERC's, one of the strengths of the Alabama program is the opportunity for interdisciplinary education and research activities. Students in medicine, nursing, and industrial hygiene enrolled in many courses together and met with their counterparts in safety for formal interdisciplinary programs and field trips. Health People 2000, the Americans with Disabilities Act, job evaluations, and other occupational health topics were included in these multidisciplinary research activities. In addition some of these students conducted interdisciplinary research that involved faculty from two or more of the academic programs. The continuing education program also gave practicing professionals in the region an opportunity to maintain and increase their occupational health knowledge and skills. During the project period the ERC graduated a total of 130 students: 124 with master's degrees and 6 with doctoral degrees. The continuing education program reached over 7,900 practicing occupational health and safety professionals to provide them with current information and skills in the field. The occupational medicine residency program had 7 MPH candidates and 8 graduates of the residency. The Deep South ERC operates as a stable and progressive force for bettering the health and safety of workers in the South Central part of the United States.
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294-0022