Education and Research Centers
The United States Public Health Service (USPHS) is committed to achieving a society in which all people live long, healthy lives. The vision, mission, and goals are found in Healthy People 2030, a USPHS-led national activity to achieve better health in the United States by the year 2030. According to Healthy People 2030, more than 160 million people participate in the U.S. labor force, and their work has an intrinsic connection to their safety, health, and well-being. Decades of public health surveillance and research have demonstrated that work-related injuries adversely affect employers, workers, and communities. Workplace settings vary widely in size, sector, design, location, processes, culture, and resources. In addition, workers themselves have different ages, genders, education levels, cultural backgrounds, health practices, vulnerabilities, and levels of access to preventive health care. This translates into great diversity and disparity in the safety and health risks for each industry sector and the need for tailored interventions.
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 meeting this mandate and contribute to the Institute’s core mission of preventing workplace injuries and illnesses. In 1977, NIOSH supported 9 ERCs in 9 states and 5 Health and Human Services (HHS) Federal Regions. Presently, NIOSH supports 18 ERCs across all 10 HHS Regions. Over 20,000 individuals graduated from ERCs in the core and allied disciplines in occupational health and safety from 1977 – 2020. As capacity in occupational safety and health practice and research has increased, the number and rates of work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities have decreased (BLS, 2021).
The far-reaching impact of the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the vital role occupational health and safety has in the United States and beyond. From occupational exposures that led to illness and death to the mental and economic stressors the pandemic placed across individuals, workplaces, and communities, ERCs responded rapidly to the needs of their students, staff and faculty and regional stakeholders by providing broad-based approaches to protection from the virus. This included guidance on proper use and decontamination of personal protective equipment, respirator fit testing, social distancing for worksites, and the use of physical protective barriers. Many ERCs developed communication products, resource guides, online courses, and webinars on safe work practices during the pandemic.
As our nation and the world continues to recover from the pandemic, ERCs will continue to train safety and health practitioners and researchers with the knowledge and skills to respond to natural, man-made, environmental, and public health disasters. Historically, ERCs have provided expertise in worker health and safety following events such as hurricanes (Katrina, Maria, and Harvey), the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, illicit drug exposures to law enforcement and emergency medical services, and Ebola and influenza outbreaks. ERC’s responses have included outreach activities and research training opportunities that highlighted the expertise of ERC’s faculty, staff, and trainees.
Work-related illnesses continue to 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. Recent work by Felknor, et al (2020) speaks to the ‘rapid and profound changes in the future of work that will have significant implication for the education and training of OSH professionals and the workforce’. NIOSH’s network of ERCs is critical in developing OSH professionals prepared to respond to 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, climate change and other factors. The ERCs provide well-trained graduates and professionals for federal, state, and local government agencies; not-for-profit agencies; industry; academia; business; healthcare; and labor organizations. ERCs strive to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in the safety and health workforce through training, research training, continuing education, and outreach.
ERC key personnel and trainees collaborate with stakeholders to develop innovative approaches to improving workplace safety and health, by the translation of research to practice (r2p) and prevention through design (PtD). NIOSH ERCs translate scientific discoveries into practice through effective training, research, continuing education, and outreach.
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, Continuing Education, 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 Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University. Our well-established academic programs have nationally recognized faculty members and a research agenda involving our trainees. The impact of their work is reflected in the numerous publications, presentations, research grants and professional awards they have received. 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.
The goal of the Northern California ERC, a consortium of programs at the University of California’s Center of Occupational and Environmental Health, 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, laboratory, and field. Through academic training, research, and community service projects, our faculty and trainees address ongoing and emerging challenges facing US Workers. Activities are grounded in multi-campus, interactive teaching programs that translate knowledge into information that can be used to improve worker safety and health. Academic training programs are specialized in Nursing, Medicine, Industrial Hygiene, Epidemiology, Human Factors and Ergonomics, and Agricultural Safety. 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 occupational health professionals regionally and nationwide. The Center provides 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. Promoting diversity and accessibility to occupational safety and health careers is fundamental to the Center which supports numerous outreach, research, work study and internship programs designed to encourage students to consider pursuing careers in occupational and environmental health sciences, including becoming a trainee in one of the ERC programs.
The purposes of the Southern California NIOSH Education and Research Center (SCERC) 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 SCERC engages in a coordinated, interdisciplinary set of professional education, continuing education, research and outreach activities that have a positive impact on occupational health and safety practice in Southern California and beyond. The Center has seven programs: five at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), one at the University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine), and three center-wide programs. The UCLA programs are: Industrial Hygiene, Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing, Center Administration and Planning, Continuing Education, and Outreach. UC Irvine hosts the Occupational Medicine Program. The center-wide programs are Occupational Epidemiology, Pilot Project Research Training and Targeted Research Training (TR). The TRT program supports training in occupational health disparities, secondary prevention of chronic diseases among workers, and occupational toxicology. Degrees offered by ERC programs include MPH, MS, MSN, PhD, occupational medicine residency.
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 and environmental health. Together the ERC and COEHs represent a unique and effective partnership between state and federal funding. Together UCLA and UCI have world-class facilities and resources for occupational and environmental health education and research programs. 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.
Since 1977, the University of Cincinnati Education and Research Center (UC ERC) has served the regional and national needs in occupational safety and health through interdisciplinary academic education, research training, and professional development courses. The UC ERC provides an interdisciplinary educational environment to graduate students in four core programs; Environmental and Industrial Hygiene, Occupational Health Nursing, Occupational Medicine Residency, and Occupational Safety and Health Engineering, as well as a specialized program in Biomonitoring within Environmental and Industrial Hygiene. In addition, the UC ERC enhances interdisciplinary interaction by providing field trips for students and faculty to visit workplace sites such as coal mines, wind farms, and factories. The field trip experiences are documented by the students and posted on the UC ERC blog. The UC ERC also supports the development of research skills through the Pilot Research Project Program and the Targeted Research Training Program, as well as professional development with a wide range of continuing education courses.
In addition, the UC ERC actively solicits input from alumni, employers, and community stakeholders to ensure programs are meeting or exceeding goals. The Center programs each have an active Individual Development Program for PhD students which allows for comprehensive mentoring and sets expectations for future input from them.
The UC ERC addresses environmental and occupational safety and health needs through regional partnerships and advocates the translation of research findings into practice regionally, nationally, and internationally. A specific focus of the Cincinnati ERC is to provide safer and more healthful workplaces in regionally important employment sectors: firefighters, low-wage workers, and healthcare workers. For over two decades, UC ERC researchers have been studying the impact of heat exposure on firefighters’ neuromotor function and brain function with funding from NIOSH and NIH. For the last two years, the Ohio Workforce Safety Innovation Grant – Bureau of Workers’ Compensation agency funded a project to develop a fire coat to minimize hyperthermia induced impairment in neuromotor function.
Outreach and research dissemination is accomplished by faculty and students from the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, and Engineering and Applied Sciences. The UC ERC leadership also works with an External Advisory Board made up of community stakeholders to get further input on center wide activities and communicating research into practice.
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 Center for Health, Work & Environment, a NIOSH Center of Excellence for Total Worker Health (TWH), and with neighboring ERCs and other training programs in the region.
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has had a focus on occupational and environmental health and safety since its inception in 1913. In 1977 when NIOSH established regional centers for occupational safety and health training, Harvard became one of the regional centers and is now known as the Harvard Chan Education and Research Center (ERC). Our Center serves a diverse workforce in the New England region in occupational sectors such as government, health care, industry, construction, fishing, and social services. Our core training programs include Occupational Hygiene, Occupational Epidemiology, and Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The Occupational Hygiene Program (OH) offers a two-year Master of Science program that includes didactic and internship placements, allowing rapid entry into the industry. A doctoral program in OH is also available that takes advantage of the strong research emphasis on the built and workplace environment. The Occupational Epidemiology Program (OE) confers master’s and doctoral degrees in all population aspects of occupational health and safety. A strong emphasis in the OE Program is occupational molecular epidemiology which includes the study of biomarkers and genetics in the context of molecular biology. Physicians receive the degree of Master of Public Health as a requisite component of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residency Program (OEMR); the OEMR residents are trained for clinical practice, OHS management and leadership, and academic positions. The Pilot Project Research Training Program makes awards in Region I, where graduate trainees in occupational health and safety are supported to undertake advanced research responsive to the NIOSH NORA priorities. The Continuing Professional Education Program, in collaboration with the Center and the School’s Office of Executive and Continuing Professional Education, offers an impressive slate of courses that includes risk communication, management and leadership skills, and guidelines for laboratory design. A transition from wholly in-person to a combination of in-person and virtual formats has been responsible for a major expansion in audiences, both national and international. The Outreach Program reaches the six New England states with creative programs that link community-based workforce needs with the education and research components of the Center. 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. We offer a large number of seminars and Grand Rounds throughout the year using a hybrid approach and integrate the Harvard Total Worker Health Program into these seminar activities.
The Great Lakes Center for Occupational Health and Safety is a recognized leader in the national and international movement to promote healthier and safer workplaces and workers. It is the ambition of the Great Lakes Center for Occupational Health and Safety (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 11 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 a research training program: Pilot Projects Research Training.
The mission of the Heartland Center for Occupational Health and Safety, 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. The Heartland Center provides interdisciplinary graduate training as well as continuing education and outreach for practitioners and researchers in occupational safety and health (OSH) 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 OSH professionals. The Heartland Center is well positioned to address OSH issues unique to the region such as the health burdens and injuries resulting from intensive agricultural practices and the many manufacturing industries supporting the region’s farmers. The Heartland Center has 4 graduate-level training programs located at the University of Iowa, including agricultural safety and health, ergonomics, industrial hygiene, and occupational injury prevention. Graduate-level training also occurs at Iowa State University specializing in occupational safety. Our goal is to educate trainees who obtain positions that have a direct positive impact through leadership roles in the OSH workforce and related academic and government positions. The Heartland Center’s active continuing education and outreach programs reach thousands of practitioners in Region VII, utilizing both traditional educational methods as well as innovative distance-education technology. The Center’s faculty at both institutions have strong research portfolios resulting in millions of dollars of externally funded grants each year that positions the Heartland Center as a leader in the advancement of OSH and injury science. The Center’s pilot grant program also aids in nurturing the next generation of researchers interested in addressing the many current and arising workforce health and safety issues facing this nation. Heartland Center strengths include: the breadth and depth of its faculty; its emphasis on interdisciplinary training and research; its awareness of, and incorporation of, diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility principles in all aspects of the Center; active and influential continuing education and outreach programs; and strong institutional support of Center activities.
The vision of the Johns Hopkins Education and Research Center is to serve as the nexus of cutting-edge interdisciplinary academic and research training, continuing education (CE) in occupational safety and health (OSH), and outreach to professional and worker communities in Federal Region III and the mid-Atlantic states. In its goal of helping NIOSH with its core mission of providing national and world leadership to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses, the JHU ERC builds critical capacity by training graduate students in key areas of OSH through multidisciplinary education and training, improving the skills and knowledge of practicing OSH professionals through continuing education programs and outreach to workers, and conducting research in OSH. Master’s and doctoral (PhD and DrPH) training is provided in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (1.5-year MS; 4- to 5-year PhD and DrPH), Occupational Epidemiology and Biomarkers (4- to 5-year PhD and DrPH), Occupational Injury Epidemiology and Prevention (4- to 5-year PhD), in addition to residency training in Occupational and Environmental Medicine (2 years), and Occupational Health Psychology (4- to 5-year PhD). Continuing Education and Outreach components such as short courses, online educational modules, seminars, and conferences increase the abilities of practicing occupational safety and health professionals and public health workers to function effectively in complex occupational settings and to acquire the needed knowledge and skills in OSH. A Pilot Project Research Training Program enhances the research training capacity of the Johns Hopkins ERC and other institutions with occupational safety and health training programs in Federal Region III (Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, and Pennsylvania) aimed at creative exploratory prevention/intervention and translation projects relevant to the National Occupational Research Agenda and regional needs. On average per year, this ERC trains approximately eleven to eighteen students in occupational hygiene, four to five students in occupational medicine, five students in occupational epidemiology and 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 our 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, and our Pilot Project Research Training program also enables faculty and students to advance that agenda.
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 Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia with a focus on the Central Appalachian region, 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 Agriculture, Food and Environment (MS and PhD in Agricultural Health and Safety ), College of Public Health (MPH, MS, and PhD in Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology), Occupational Athletic Training in UK College of Health Sciences (PhD), the UK College of Nursing (PhD in Occupational Health Nursing); the UK College of Engineering (MS and PhD in Mine Safety & Health), and the Eastern Kentucky University College of Justice & Safety and Health (MS in Safety Sciences, and College of Health Sciences (MPH in Industrial Hygiene).
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: 4 PhD students, 16 MS students, 8 MPH, and 4 DNP students across the interdisciplinary core programs. Building on our strengths after 12 years of 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.
Since inception in 1982, the University of Michigan Center for Occupational Health and Safety Engineering (COHSE) has provided graduate-level educational programs to aspiring practitioners and researchers in Industrial Hygiene (IH), Occupational Health Nursing (OHN), Occupational Safety Engineering (OSE), and Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology (OE) Our mission is to serve the region, nation and world as a center of excellence for graduate education, training, and research in occupational health and safety (OHS). Our academic programs are complemented with our highly effective Pilot Project Research Training (PPRT), Continuing Education (CE), Outreach, and Targeted Research Training Programs, as well as our annual regional research symposium.
Our success as a center of excellence is predicated on (1) an outstanding and dedicated faculty; (2) interdisciplinary curricula that prepare our graduates for effective and comprehensive 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; (6) an excellent and diverse group of students; and (7) active and engaged alumni, many of whom are leaders in their fields.
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: Occupational 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.
The New York and New Jersey Education and Research Center, serves Federal Region II, which includes 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, occupational health nursing, industrial hygiene, 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. The Center includes a robust Continuing Education program, training OSH professionals. Additionally the Center has a Pilot Project Research Program, with the goal of funding research on NIOSH/NORA priorities. 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 eight programs in occupational health and safety training, covering essential areas in OSH.
North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center (NC OSHERC) builds upon the strengths of the occupational health and safety (OHS) education and research programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, and North Carolina State University. The mission of the NC OSHERC is to provide high-quality, interdisciplinary education and research training in the OHS sciences to protect and promote worker health and well-being and to prevent occupational illness and injury in North Carolina, the southeast region, and the nation. Our goals are to (1) train future leaders to meet the nation’s OHS research needs and NIOSH priority goals and (2) bridge the gap between the innovative research conducted in OHS within the regional universities and the needs of the region’s workforce. NC OSHERC offers graduate-level academic and research training in Occupational Exposure Science/Industrial Hygiene, Occupational Medicine, Safety and Ergonomics, Occupational Epidemiology, and Total Worker Health and Well-being, as well as Targeted Research Training for post-doctoral fellows, Outreach and Continuing Education for professionals, and Pilot Projects Program to conduct short-term research projects relevant to the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA).
The NC OSHERC’s interdisciplinary education and research program is designed to prepare practitioners and researchers in OHS, with a specific focus given to training diverse, underrepresented, and minority practitioners and researchers. Since 1977, the NC OSHERC has been uniquely positioned to increase capacity and address the future challenges of OHS education, research, and preparedness in the Southeast and the nation, particularly by fostering innovative collaboration between academic researchers, local, state, and federal occupational professionals, as well as business and industry sector stakeholders.
The Sunshine ERC is a regional resource for industry, labor, government, and the public in the areas of occupational health, safety, and wellness. The strength of the Sunshine ERC is the partnership among the University of South Florida (USF), the University of Central Florida, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU). The ERC continues to follow its goal of promoting workplace health, safety, and well-being through education, research, continuing education and outreach. Its academic programs include occupational health nursing (MSN, MSN/MPH, DNP), occupational health psychology (PhD), and health, safety and environment (online MPH) at USF; occupational safety management (with an industrial hygiene option) (MSOSM) at ERAU—Daytona Beach Campus; and targeted research training directed at the hospitality industry at UCF. For our students, there is strong interdisciplinary coordination and a research experience. The Sunshine ERC has many partnerships including the OSHA 21d consultation program (SafetyFlorida) and training institute (OTIEC) at USF, other ERCs, and NIOSH.
The overall goal of the Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (SWCOEH) Education and Research Center (ERC) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health (UTHealth SPH) is to respond to the critical need for well-trained occupational and environmental health specialists by providing graduate-level academic and research training, continuing education and outreach and pilot funding for researchers in occupational safety and health in Public Health Region (PHR) 6 (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas). The UTHealth SPH has a unique, multi-campus system, with the main campus in the Texas Medical Center in Houston and five other campuses in Austin, Brownsville, Dallas, El Paso, and San Antonio. The SWCOEH programs, faculty, and students are located in Houston, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, and Dallas, primarily in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences, with supporting faculty from other disciplines inside and outside of the UTHealth SPH. All campuses are linked electronically, facilitating quality teaching and research, expanding course offerings, interdisciplinary collaboration, access to regional stakeholders, and developing our reach to minority student populations. The SWCOEH has been continuously funded since it was established in 1977. The SWCOEH provides master-level training in Industrial Hygiene (IH), doctoral-level training in IH, the first and only graduate-level program in Total Worker Health in the nation, and Occupational Epidemiology, and postdoctoral residencies in Occupational Medicine. In addition to the academic degree programs, the SWOCEH has active programs on Continuing Education (CE), Outreach (CE), and a Pilot Projects Research Training Program that provide a full spectrum of training opportunities. SWCOEH faculty and trainees are involved in research that includes military health, ergonomics, farmworker health, respiratory diseases, total worker health, first responder health, and air pollution epidemiology. An external advisory board comprised of members from industry, labor, government, NGOs, and academia guides the SWCOEH on current and future directions.
Center-wide, our specific objectives are to (1) facilitate occupational safety and health research and training; (2) improve our impact on community and worker health by conducting periodic assessments in accordance with program-specific evaluation plans; (3) successfully manage academic and non-academic programs; (4) enhance the funding base of the SWCOEH; and (5) incorporate input from stakeholders on ongoing and planned activities.
The Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (RMCOEH) is one of the leading centers of its kind in the world and one of two ERCs serving a part of the country (Region 8: UT, CO, WY, ND, SD, MT) with among the highest rates of occupational injuries and fatalities in the U.S. Founded at the University of Utah in 1977, the center has a decades-long history of success and in 2021 embarked on a new era of expansion by statutorily partnering with Weber State University to become Utah’s first-ever multi-university program partnership.
RMCOEH’s mission is to protect diverse workers and the environment through interdisciplinary education, research, and service. Key to meeting that mandate is the center’s graduate-level and post-graduate level academic programs, which include Occupational Medicine, Industrial Hygiene, Occupational Injury Prevention Research Training, and Ergonomics and Safety. RMCOEH has research training programs for Targeted Research Training and Pilot Project Research Training. While not NIOSH funded, the RMCOEH offers undergraduate programs in occupational safety and health.
While the academic programs focus on producing future occupational and environmental health and safety professionals, the center’s Continuing Education and Outreach programs ensure workers and businesses throughout the region are equipped with up-to-date knowledge and training regarding pressing health and safety challenges. Also core to the center are its research efforts, which include 44-plus extramural projects totaling $31 million in funding and produce groundbreaking work on topics ranging from musculoskeletal disorders among workers to wearable robotics that may enable people with debilitating conditions to return to work.
Amplifying the center’s success is its unparalleled collaborations with partners including businesses, employee and labor groups, governmental bodies, and community organizations. These relationships — as well as the RMCOEH Advisory Board — provide the center with invaluable insight into the problems facing workers and employers in Region 8, as well as resources that foster state-of-the-art training, such as external “laboratories” to test research theories and develop innovations.
The impacts resulting from RMCOEH’s efforts are significant. The center’s degree programs have produced more than 780 occupational and environmental health and safety professionals, and its Continuing Education and Outreach programs touch an average of 93,000 people and more than 8,200 businesses each year. Faculty and trainees publish approximately 80 peer-reviewed papers a year, meanwhile, making the center’s reach — and its vital mission — truly global.
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. The Center serves as a regional resource for continuing education and other outreach activities to health and safety practitioners in the region. In addition, the Center offers small grants for research projects and activities that address worker health or safety through its Professional Training Opportunities Program (PTOP).