Education and Research Centers Portfolio (ERC)
Work-related injuries and illnesses have a significant public health impact, and part of NIOSH’s mission is to train the next generation of occupational safety and health (OSH) practitioners and researchers. The National Assessment of the Occupational Safety and Health Workforce (released in 2011) documents[ME(1] a significant shortfall in the supply of trained OSH professionals to meet current and future demand in the United States. The report provides evidence of the continued need to support OSH training and education in the core and allied OSH disciplines.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 mandates that NIOSH provide an adequate supply of qualified personnel to carry out the purposes of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. NIOSH ERCs have a key role in helping meet this mandate and contribute to the Institute’s core mission of providing national and world leadership to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses.
The purpose of this program is to support NIOSH ERCs to address the burden of OSH in the United States by providing state-of-the-art interdisciplinary training for the next generation of OSH practitioners and researchers. ERCs play a significant role in preparing the future OSH workforce to respond to new challenges posed by the changing nature of work. These changes are the result of technological advances, globalization, new and emerging risks, occupational health disparities associated with the changing demographics of the US workforce, and a myriad of other factors. NIOSH’s network of ERCs across the United States helps address these challenges and provide the next generation of OSH leadership to protect workers and ensure a healthier national workforce. The ERCs provide well-trained graduates to meet the demand for a professional OSH workforce for federal, state, and local government agencies; not-for-profit agencies; industry; academia; business; healthcare; and labor organizations. ERCs help meet our nation’s need for skilled, knowledgeable practitioners and researchers in OSH and enhance the diversity of the safety and health workforce.
NIOSH ERCs help translate scientific discoveries into practice through effective education, training, and outreach. ERC trainees and key personnel collaborate with stakeholders to develop innovative approaches to improving workplace safety and health, by the translation of research to practice and prevention through design. Links to the ERCs currently funded by NIOSH are provided on NIOSH’s website at NIOSH ERC.gov.
University of Alabama at Birmingham
By meeting its mission of developing professionals who protect and promote the health and safety of workers through interdisciplinary education, research, and outreach programs, the Deep South Center has been an occupational safety and health resource to the southeast region since 1982. The Center Administrative Core is located in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Public Health, and includes an Executive Committee, Board of Advisors, Outreach, Diversity, Pilot Project Research Training programs, and interdisciplinary coordination. The Center provides opportunities for masters and doctoral studies in the fields of industrial hygiene at the UAB School of Public Health, occupational health nursing at the UAB School of Nursing, and occupational safety and ergonomics and a specialty in occupational injury prevention research training at the Auburn University College of Engineering. Our well established academic programs have nationally-recognized faculty members with a research agenda involving our trainees which is reflected by the high number of publications and presentations, research grants and professional awards. The trainees in all academic programs are engaged in research projects and outreach activities that instill in our students an appreciation of the interdisciplinary nature of the occupational safety and health professions. Many of our students were recognized by earning national and regional professional awards as well as high school–wide distinctions and scholarships.
University of California, Berkeley
The goal of the Northern California ERC, a consortium of programs of the University of California, is to train professionals as practitioner and research leaders in occupational safety and health by offering graduate degrees, residency training, clinical experiences, and research mentorship to trainees. The aim of the ERC is to provide a broad, multidisciplinary educational experience involving student and faculty collaborations in the classroom and on research and service projects. Activities are grounded in multi-campus, interactive teaching programs that translate knowledge into information that can be used to improve worker safety and health. In addition, through the Continuing Education Program and the Outreach components of the Labor Occupational Health Program, the ERC provides continuing education courses and outreach activities to other health professionals. The Center aims to provide an educational bridge from the University to external constituencies to ensure that practicing professionals, workers, their representatives, supervisors, and other educators benefit from the University’s occupational health and safety expertise. The ERC strives to integrate an occupational safety and health perspective in all of its activities, including such activities as the STEER program, a summer internship program funded by the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, which is designed to encourage students to consider further study in one of the ERC programs.
University of California, Los Angeles
The purposes of the Southern California NIOSH Education and Research Center are 1) to educate professionals in the various disciplines of occupational health and safety, 2) to provide continuing education for professionals and others in occupational safety and health fields, 3) to proliferate occupational health and safety activity through outreach to regional institutions and organizations, 4) to foster research on issues important to occupational health and safety, 5) to be an occupational health and safety resource to organizations and agencies that need our expertise, 6) to facilitate marshaling of community resources to address and solve occupational health and safety problems, 7) to respond through educational programs and research to the changing range of occupational safety and health problems, and 8) to educate non-academic stakeholders including business, labor, and vulnerable worker populations.
The characteristics of our Center are embodied in a coordinated, interdisciplinary set of professional education, continuing education, research and outreach activities that have a positive impact on the regions and nation’s occupational health and safety practice. The Center has seven programs, five at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), one at the University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine), and two center-wide programs. The UCLA programs are: Industrial Hygiene, Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing, Center Administration and Planning, Continuing Education, Outreach. UC Irvine hosts the Occupational Medicine Program. The center-wide programs are the Pilot Project Research Training and Targeted Research Training Program. The TRT includes Collaborative Research Training Program in Occupational Epidemiology and a special research training addressing work organization and psychosocial risk factors. Degrees offered by ERC programs include MPH, MS, MSN, PhD, DrPH, occupational medicine residency and other professional certificates.
The ERC operates in concert with the UCLA and UCI Centers for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH). These are state supported centers for research and teaching in occupational safety and health. Together the ERC and COEH represent a unique and effective partnership between state and federal funding.
Together UCLA and UCI have outstanding facilities and resources for occupational and environmental health education and research programs. These two campuses of the University of California have libraries, laboratories, clinics, and computer facilities that are up-to-date and extensive. The Southern California region contains a wide variety of employers, labor unions, worksites, organizations and institutions that provide a full range of field sites for interdisciplinary learning.
University of Colorado Denver
The mountain and plains states of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota share a common set of problems that outstrip existing resources: rising population; large groups of underserved and minority workers; region-specific work-related health issues such as mining, energy, and agriculture; and geographic distance from educational centers of excellence in occupational health and safety. The Mountain and Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC) was founded in 2007 to incorporate faculty and students from two institutions of higher learning into an integrated, multidisciplinary Center, to improve worker health, safety and well-being. The objectives of the MAP ERC are to promote interdisciplinary graduate education in occupational health, safety and well-being; to provide needs-based continuing education and outreach in an underserved region; to support pilot research projects that advance the National Occupational Research Agenda; and to improve minority recruitment and retention in the allied fields of occupational health and safety. The MAP ERC incorporates five training programs of the University of Colorado and Colorado State University. Core programs include Industrial Hygiene and Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residency. Three allied programs offer graduate training in Health Physics, Occupational Ergonomics, and Occupational Health Psychology. All five programs provide graduate or post- doctoral/residency level training. All programs are committed to providing a highly interdisciplinary educational experience through shared courses, field experiences, research collaboration, and conferences. The MAP ERC places a special emphasis on the integration of health protection and health promotion (Total Worker Health™) in curriculum, outreach, and continuing education activities. The Pilot Projects Program rigorously reviews and supports R2P community and academic projects that address regional priorities, serving as a stimulus for attracting junior investigators and advancing their careers in the field. Continuing Education places particular emphasis on state-of-the-art online courses for a geographically dispersed occupational safety and health workforce, providing a learning management system platform that is available to CE programs at the other ERCs, in addition to MAP ERC. The Outreach Program is integrated into all programs, bringing together many regional professional organizations and creating collaborative opportunities for addressing workplace challenges. Working in concert with university and community organizations, the MAP ERC has continued to address the need for greater diversity and inclusion of minorities in occupational health and safety professions. The MAP ERC enjoys partnerships with the High Plains Intermountain Center for Agricultural Health and Safety, with the NIOSH Affiliate Total Worker Health™ Center for Worker Health and Environment, and with neighboring ERCs and other training programs in the region.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
The Harvard Education and Research Center’s primary objective is the training of leaders in occupational health and safety specialties: occupational (industrial) hygiene, occupational medicine, occupational epidemiology, and occupational injury prevention and control. Through a combination of practical and research oriented coursework and field experiences, graduate students at the Center examine current problems relating to the workplace and learn methods and approaches for establishing health and safe work environments. Our goal is to prepare our students to be national and international leaders for improved understanding and prevention of work-related disease through research and practice.
The Master’s program in Occupational Hygiene includes didactic and internship placements, allowing rapid entry to industry. Physicians training in the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Master’s and Residency programs are trained for clinical practice, OHS management and leadership, and for academia. The Occupational Epidemiology Program Area confers doctoral degrees in all population aspects of occupational health and safety. In addition, the ERC offers a doctoral preparation in Occupational Epidemiology and Occupational Injury Prevention and Control, with tracks that emphasize biomechanics or injury epidemiology. The Pilot Project Research Training Program makes awards in Region I where graduate trainees in occupational health and safety are supported in advanced research responsive to NORA-2 priorities. The programs in Continuing Professional Education and Outreach are dynamic and creative efforts at serving the occupational safety and health needs of New England and providing an integrative force to link the community. The Continuing Education Program, in collaboration with the Center and the School’s Office of Continuing Professional Education offers an impressive slate of courses that meet regional and national needs. The Outreach Program has been successful in impacting the curriculum of other schools of higher education within the region, establishing a network of professionals in New England who are interested in occupational safety and health. Finally, the Targeted Research Training Program aims to provide trainees with multi-disciplinary research education and experience in cutting-edge research projects aimed at addressing NORA priorities and research-to-practice (r2p), including Total Worker Health.
University of Illinois at Chicago
The Illinois Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety Education and Research Center (Illinois ERC) is a recognized leader in the national and international movement to promote healthier and safer workplaces and workers. It is the ambition of the Illinois Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety Education and Research Center (Illinois ERC) to improve, promote, and maintain the health of workers and communities. We do this through innovative and interdisciplinary activities that: 1) Educate graduate students to be professionals and researchers in occupational and environmental health and safety; 2) Prepare professionals to be leaders and practitioners in their disciplines through continuing education; 3) Enhance the expertise of employers, worker organizations, and communities through outreach and technical assistance; and 4) Enrich the knowledge base for solving current and future problems. As educators, researchers, and professionals working to promote occupational safety and health, we believe that everyone has the right to healthy work – a job that pays a living wage, a workplace that is safe, an organization that treats them with respect, and access to qualified occupational safety and health professionals; and our public responsibility and charter requires that we give the highest priority to ensuring healthy work for everyone.
The Illinois ERC is comprised of 12 programs: 5 academic programs: Industrial Hygiene, Occupational Medicine, Occupational Safety, Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology, and Agricultural Safety and Health; Continuing Education in core OSH disciplines and Agricultural Safety and Health, an Outreach Program; Center Wide Activities including a Center Administrative Core, Diversity Recruitment, and Interdisciplinary Coordination; and two research training programs: Pilot Projects Research Training program and Targeted Research Training program.
University of Iowa
The mission of the Heartland Center for Occupational Health and Safety, a NIOSH Education and Research Center, is to help reduce injuries, illnesses, and fatalities of workers in Federal Region VII (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska) and beyond by expanding and strengthening the occupational health and safety workforce with well-trained practitioners and well-informed professionals. Since its inception in 2000, the Heartland Center for Occupational Health and Safety (the Center) has served as a resource for Federal Region VII and the US, providing interdisciplinary graduate, postgraduate, and residency training, continuing education and outreach for practitioners and researchers in occupational health and safety (OHS) professions. The major rationale for the Center is to address dual problems in Federal Region VII: higher than US-average rates of occupational disease and injury and shortages of trained OHS professionals. This Center is well positioned to address OSH issues unique to the region by preparing trainees with knowledge and experience in the discipline areas most relevant to the needs of workers in this region. The Center has 6 graduate-level training programs, including agricultural safety and health, ergonomics, industrial hygiene, occupational epidemiology, occupational injury prevention, and occupational medicine. The Center’s active continuing education and outreach programs reach thousands of practitioners in the Region, utilizing both traditional educational media and methods a well as innovative distance-education technology. Heartland Center strengths include the breadth and depth of faculty, our strong emphasis on interdisciplinary training and research, an active Continuing Education Program, and institutional support of Center activities.
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
The Johns Hopkins Education and Research Center, the only ERC in Federal Region III, prepares leaders in occupational health and safety research and practice. Master’s and doctoral (PhD, DrPH, and ScD) training is provided in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (1.5-year MSPH; 4- to 5-year PhD and DrPH), Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing (1-year MPH; 1.5-year MSN/MPH; 4- to 5-year PhD and DrPH), Biomarkers of Occupational Exposure and Susceptibility (4- to 5-year PhD and DrPH), and Occupational Injury Epidemiology and Prevention (4- to 5-year PhD), in addition to residency training in Occupational and Environmental Medicine (2 years). Continuing Education and Outreach components bring the strengths of the core programs to practicing occupational health and safety professionals. A Pilot Project Research Training Program provides research study support to students and junior faculty at academic institutions within our region. On average per year, this ERC trains approximately eleven to eighteen students in occupational hygiene, five to seven students in occupational health nursing, four to five students in occupational medicine, five students in biomarkers research, and three to four students in occupational injury prevention, while our Continuing Education program reaches more than 1,000 students per year.
A strong interdisciplinary emphasis underlies all ERC training activities, and the importance of such interaction and collaboration is communicated to all students in courses, seminars, and discussions, and is reinforced through research and professional practice in each program. The excellence of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine and Occupational and Environmental Hygiene programs has been recognized through accreditation by their respective accrediting bodies. Each academic program upholds the strong research tradition of the school, and we strive to address the priority areas set by NIOSH in the National Occupational Research Agenda. Research activities in each academic program address topics relevant to the sector-based NORA focus. Our Pilot Project Research Training program also enables faculty and students to advance that agenda.
University of Kentucky
The Central Appalachian Regional Education and Research Center (CARERC) provides graduate and continuing education for occupational safety and health professionals. Specifically, we (1) provide interdisciplinary occupational safety and health education for graduate students; (2) enhance the research skills of students and faculty in the targeted disciplines; (3) encourage and conduct interdisciplinary research on a variety of occupational diseases and injuries; (4) deliver continuing education, consultation and outreach to address environmental and occupational safety and health concerns; and (5) translate research into prevention practice. CARERC’s scope includes counties in eastern Kentucky, western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, western Virginia, and southern West Virginia, where elevated rates of occupational injuries and fatalities persist, particularly in production agriculture, forestry, mining, and transportation. CARERC combines the resources of the University of Kentucky College of Public Health (MPH and PhD in Occupational Epidemiology and Injury, and MPH and DrPH in Agricultural Safety and Health); the UK College of Nursing (PhD in Occupational Nursing); the UK College of Engineering (MS and PhD in Mine Safety & Health), and the Eastern Kentucky University College of Justice & Safety (MS in Occupational Safety). CARERC collaborates with other regional institutions as well as industry, labor, and government in its Pilot Research Program (PRP), Outreach, and Continuing Education (CE) programs to enhance research capacity and catalyze the translation of research to practice. We plan to support the following number of trainees each year: 11 doctoral students, 6 MPH and 7 MS students across the core programs. Building on our strengths and stature after two years of NIOSH funding, CARERC continues to serve as a catalyst for interdisciplinary research in occupational safety and health and a centralized resource center for innovative education and training.
University of Michigan
Since inception in 1982, the University of Michigan Center for Occupational Health and Safety Engineering (COHSE) has provided comprehensive graduate-level educational programs to aspiring practitioners and researchers in Industrial Hygiene (IH), Occupational Health Nursing (OHN), Occupational Safety Engineering (OSE), and Occupational Epidemiology (OE) to help meet the nation’s needs for qualified professionals. Our academic programs are complemented with our highly effective Pilot Project Research Training (PPRT), Continuing Education (CE), Outreach, and Research-to-Practice Programs.
Our success as a center of excellence is predicated on (1) an outstanding and dedicated faculty; (2) interdisciplinary curricula that prepare our graduates for modern practice; (3) vibrant extramurally funded research programs in many NORA-related areas that train next-generation research leaders; (4) multifaceted outreach and CE programs that meet the needs of professionals in our region and beyond; (5) strong institutional support; and (6) active and engaged alumni, many of whom are leaders in their fields.
University of Minnesota
The mission of the Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety (MCOHS) Education and Research Center (ERC), as a center of excellence, is to provide: 1) cutting-edge interdisciplinary academic and research training to prepare exceptional leaders who make significant contributions to occupational safety and health (OSH), and 2) continuing education to prepare professionals to address current and emerging threats to the nation’s workforce.
Objective: To address the need for an adequate supply of qualified personnel to carry out the purposes of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and reduce the national burden of work-related injury and illness in the Midwest region served by the MCOHS, and beyond.
Rationale: A previous conclusion in an Institute of Medicine report, that remains true, stated, “…the continuing burden of largely preventable occupational diseases and injuries and the lack of adequate occupational safety and health (OSH) services …indicate a clear need for more OSH professionals at all levels.” Further confirmation is noted in the recent NIOSH-commissioned report, “National Assessment of the Occupational Safety and Health Workforce,” identifying needs that greatly exceed available trained OSH professionals.
Design: An innovative administrative structure, guided by a strategic plan and committed advisory board, supports enhanced efforts in interdisciplinary research, education, and outreach, including research-to-practice, and strengthens diversity recruitment. Rigorous graduate academic and research programs enable quality training in: Industrial Hygiene; Occupational and Environmental Medicine; Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing; Occupational Health Services Research and Policy; Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology; and Occupational Injury Prevention Research. While program duration varies, program expectations for degree completions are: masters’ (~2 years); PhD (~ 4 years). In addition, a major CE Program offers novel courses in-person and through distance learning to meet the needs of a diverse workforce.
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
The New York and New Jersey Education and Research Center, serves Federal Region II, which is comprised of the states of New York and New Jersey, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U. S. Virgin Islands. The mission of NY/NJ ERC is to educate professionals in occupational medicine, industrial hygiene, ergonomics and occupational safety and health engineering, so that they are able to understand, evaluate, prevent, manage and treat occupational disease and injury in the workers of our region and across the United States. Center Administration is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the ERC, serves as liaison between the programs and NIOSH, and is responsible for interdisciplinary interaction and coordination among the programs and their faculty and students. NY/NJ ERC is a consortium of five educational institutions (www.nynjerc.org) offering nine programs in occupational health and safety training, covering essential areas in OSH.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center (NC OSHERC) is located at the University of North Carolina, Gillings School of Global Public Health with collaborating units at NC State University (NCSU) and Duke University. Academic training is provided in the core disciplines of Occupational Health Nursing, Safety and Ergonomics (NCSU), and Occupational Medicine (Duke University). In addition, specialized training in Occupational Epidemiology is available. An allied program in Occupational Exposure Science, replacing the former Industrial Hygiene program, is at UNC. Both master’s and doctoral degrees are offered. There are more than 50 faculty within the NC OSHERC with more than 100 enrolled students each year in these programs. We also offer an extensive Continuing Education program.
University of South Florida
The Sunshine ERC at the University of South Florida is a regional resource for industry, labor, government and the public in the areas of occupational health and safety. The ERC continues to follow its goal of promoting workplace safety, health and well-being through education, research, continuing education and outreach. Its academic programs include (1) industrial hygiene, (2) occupational health nursing, (3) occupational medicine residency, (4) occupational safety, and (5) occupational health psychology. For students, there is strong interdisciplinary coordination and a research experience. The Sunshine ERC has many partnerships including the OSHA 21d consultation and training institute programs at USF, other ERCs, and NIOSH.
University of Utah
The Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational & Environmental Health (RMCOEH) is a vibrant, innovative and growing ERC that has been in existence at the U. of Utah since 1977. It is one of only two ERCs in Region 8 (UT, CO, WY, MT, ND, SD), although these states are in the top rankings for occupational fatalities and thus have an urgent need for more OSH professionals. In the past grant period, we have made major progress, including ground-breaking legislation supporting the RMCOEH. We have 2 new endowed chairs (OSH and mining). We have continued to make progress in the past year. Our programs are growing and quality of graduates has accelerated. We have 5 graduate degrees (MOH, MSOH, PhD in OEH; plus MS and PhD in MEEN). We now have a new graduate certificate program in OSH. The RMCOEH has academic programs in OMR, IH, E&S and OIPRT and has over 150 full time, adjunct and other supporting faculty. We provide specific curricula by OHNs to teach the importance of OHN to our trainees. Our CE and Outreach Programs train >6,000 trainees/year. Overall center impacts are over 2,500 businesses annually.
The RMCOEH enjoys unparalleled collaborative relationships with businesses, employee groups, governmental units, and other community organizations. These foster an atmosphere that facilitates state-of-the art training for OSH professionals for the 21st Century. These relationships also provide the external ‘laboratories’ to test research theories and develop the innovations to provide safer and healthier workplaces. We also have a highly active RMCOEH Advisory Board and a Center Executive Committee that are critical in advancing the RMCOEH’s programs. The RMCOEH has the infrastructure to support the NORA II, r2p and other research missions. The RMCOEH’s CE and Outreach programs promote and publicize efficacious strategies and help ensure that knowledge is translated into practice.
University of Washington
The Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety is a multidisciplinary training program located at the University of Washington, dedicated to the prevention of work-related injury and illness. The Center is administered through the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) of the UW School of Public Health and includes program elements in the Schools of Nursing and Medicine. The primary focus of the Center is graduate student training with a strong emphasis in research-based education. In addition, the Center serves as a regional resource for continuing education and other outreach activities to health and safety practitioners in the region.
- University of Alabama at Birmingham
- University of Alabama at Birmingham
- University of California, Berkeley
- The Harvard Education and Research Center
- University of Illinois at Chicago
- University of Iowa
- Johns Hopkins Education and Research Center for Occupatioal Safety and Health
- University of Kentucky
- University of Michigan
- University of Minnesota
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety
- University of South Florida
- The University of Texas Health Science Center Houston
- University of Utah
- Page last reviewed: December 14, 2012
- Page last updated: June 30, 2017
- Content source:
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Office of Extramural Programs (OEP)