Training Project Grants
The United States Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving nationwide improvements in health for a society in which all people live long, healthy lives. The vision, mission, and goals are found in Healthy People 2020external icon, a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas to achieve better health in the United States by the year 2020. This FOA is closely linked to several overarching goals of Healthy People 2020, with the intent to prevent diseases, injuries, and deaths due to working conditions.
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 Workforcepdf icon (released in 2011) documents 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 supported Training Project Grants (TPGs) 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 illnesses and injuries.
The purpose of this program is to support NIOSH TPGs, to address the burden of OSH in the United States by providing state-of-the-art training for the next generation of leaders in OSH practice and research. TPGs 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 inevitable 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.
The majority of TPGs are in academic settings and 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. Several TPGs are non-academic programs that provide specialized training in OSH. TPGs help meet our nation’s need for skilled, knowledgeable practitioners and researchers in OSH and enhance the diversity of the OSH workforce.
NIOSH TPGs help translate scientific discoveries into practice through effective education, training, and outreach. TPG 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. Information on training grants supported by NIOSH are provided on NIOSH’s website at NIOSH Program Portfolio Training Grants.
The Alaska Marine Safety Education Associationexternal icon TPG project was designed to address the high fatality rate in commercial fishing by training a national network of fishing safety instructors in a Marine Safety Instructor-Training (MSIT) course. These instructors are home based in fishing ports around the US. These instructors then deliver Emergency Drill Conductor (EDC), Stability and other required or soon-to-be-required safety courses to fishermen around the US.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, NIOSH is tasked with supporting professional level Occupational Safety & Health training to insure a steady stream of trained OSH professionals to serve the need of the American workplace. The Industrial Hygiene Training Program Grant at the University of Arizona assists NIOSH in meeting its goal of supplying qualified professional personnel, by providing Master’s level graduate training in Industrial Hygiene (IH), which is one of the four original core occupational safety and health areas.
With more than a thirty year history of providing graduate level IH training, the University of Arizona’s College of Public Healthexternal icon continues to be a leader in the IH field. Its key focuses are the MPH (ABET Accredited) and the MS in IH, but doctoral level IH study is also available (not NIOSH supported), and undergraduate Public Health students in the EOH track are exposed to IH course material. The IH Program is administratively housed in the Environmental and Occupational Health Section of the College of Public Health. The continuation of a high quality IH program in the Southwest is important to meet the strong demand for well-trained occupational health professionals in a region of the US that is experiencing high growth. This is the only such program in Arizona and there are no IH programs in the neighboring states of New Mexico and Nevada. Furthermore, the southwest is the home of the majority of the metal and non-metal mining in the US which is an inherently dangerous industry, made more hazardous by the downturn in metallic mineral prices and the accompanying layoffs. The Arizona program also serves an important function as a focal point for the information, research, and professional development needs for the region’s practicing professionals. The purpose of the MPH/MS degrees is to prepare students for Industrial Hygiene careers involving professional IH practice. IH and EOH are fundamental parts of our national public health system.
The training program in occupational/environmental epidemiology at Emory University for master’s and doctoral level training provides tuition coverage to first and second year MSPH students each year and a stipend to one doctoral student each year. The curriculum provides rigorous training in analytical epidemiology and biostatistics and a strong foundation in occupational and environmental health, including exposure assessment and industrial hygiene, occupational health policy, injury and toxicology. The program faculty have active research programs providing excellent opportunities for thesis and dissertation research, and an extensive supporting faculty is available for mentoring. Graduates of the MSPH program are pursuing productive careers related to occupational/environmental epidemiology or additional doctoral level training. The new doctoral level training component is providing even more depth in training and is producing graduates prepared to be leaders in this field.
NIOSH funds a unique TPG in an Emergency Responder Training Program through the International Association of Fire Fightersexternal icon (IAFF). This grant supports a comprehensive nationwide hazardous substance training program for fire fighters, paramedics, and other emergency responders across the United States. The IAFF has had a long-standing relationship with NIOSH since 1991; the IAFF has conducted 2,946 training deliveries, trained over 62,178 students, and logged 1,270,328 contact hours. Under NIOSH funding, the IAFF currently delivers the following training: Emergency Response to Terrorism—Operations (ERT-Ops), ERT-Ops Train-the-Trainer, ERT-Ops Refresher, Confined Space Rescue, Hazardous Materials Operations – Technician (Tech), Tech Train-the-Trainer, First Responder Operations (FRO), Illicit Drug Labs, Infectious Diseases, and Chemical Process Industries.
Meharry Medical Collegeexternal icon is the largest, private, historically black institution exclusively dedicated to educating health care professional and biomedical scientists. The only occupational medicine residency program in a HBCU in the US is at Meharry Medical College. The Occupational Medicine Residency program is a 2 year institutional program that supports the completion of residency requirements in occupational medicine. The program has maintained continued full accreditation since 1978 and is currently accredited until 2019.
The mission of the Occupational Medicine Residency program is to:
- Recruit qualified physicians who show evidence of commitment to a career in occupational medicine.
- Train physicians who are strongly committed to the prevention of occupational and environmental diseases; skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of occupational injury and disease; able to develop and administer occupational and environmental health programs for unions, industry, government and academic institutions; and are active in the development of scientific, legal, political and ethical questions of the field.
The academic phase consists of a course of study leading to a master’s degree that includes certified training in the five areas required by the American Board of Preventive Medicine: epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health, and health administration and behavioral health. In addition, residents are required to take courses in Occupational health, occupational toxicology and Industrial Hygiene. Training is given at the Meharry Medical College’s School of Graduate Studies and Research through its CEPH accredited MSPH degree program.
The practicum phase comprises both didactic and applied components. The overall goal of the practicum year is to train the resident in the practice of occupational medicine. This occurs by providing supervised application of the knowledge, skills and attitudes of occupational medicine gained
Montana Tech conducts three NIOSH—sponsored training programs under a single grant. An undergraduate program leads to a B.S. degree in Occupational Safety and Health (OSH). There are two graduate programs leading to an M.S. degree in Industrial Hygiene (IH). One IH program is conducted on campus and the other is offered through distance delivery. The three programs are housed in the Safety, Health and Industrial Hygiene (SHIH) Department. Seven faculty members in the department are substantially involved in teaching and research in safety, health, and industrial hygiene.
The undergraduate OSH curriculum provides a comprehensive education to develop graduates with capability for serving as exceptional safety and health professionals as well as contributing to society in general. It is accredited by the Applied Science Accreditation Commission of ABET. The first two years of the program focus on foundation disciplines including general chemistry, college physics, calculus, organic chemistry, statistics and English composition. Humanities and social sciences are distributed throughout the four year curriculum. With the exception of one freshman introductory class, OSH courses are in the second through fourth years of the program. Of the 128 total hours in the curriculum, at least 48 credits are OSH courses.
The graduate programs aim to develop exceptional IH professionals. The curriculums provide a full range of IH courses and supporting electives. The on-campus program requires 37 credit hours consisting of 28 lecture courses, two hours of graduate seminar, six hours of thesis research and a one-hour technical writing seminar. A thesis or publishable paper is required and defended at an oral examination. The distance delivery program also requires 37 credit hours consisting of 34 lecture courses and a capstone written and oral comprehensive exam. Students in the distance delivery program may sit for the exam during the last semester of coursework. One of the courses in the distance delivery program, Sampling and Evaluation of Health Hazards, requires a one week residency in the summer.
The NIOSH grant provides funds for valuable program enhancement, primarily through scholarships for on campus students. Additional enhancements include student travel, faculty development, and partial summer salary for program enrichment by program managers. NIOSH support unquestionably enhances program quality and recognition.
The purpose of the Murray State Universityexternal icon training program is to strengthen the academic and professional preparation of our undergraduate and graduate-level students in occupational safety and health. This is accomplished by providing learning situations/activities designed to help the students become more effective entry-level and advanced professionals. The primary focus is as follows.
- Increased involvement of the internship supervisor in visiting intern sites to observe and improve employer-intern-university relationships.
- Development of an Occupational Safety and Health Study Abroad program that introduces our students to international issues in occupational safety and health and how culture affects these issues.
- On-going development and improvement of the online Master of Science degree program in occupational safety and health.
- On-going faculty professional development to keep abreast of changes in the occupational safety and health field.
- Development of seminars and Occupational Safety and Health Training Center courses designed to address current occupational safety and health issues.
- Support for graduate students in the form of travel and tuition and fees.
The Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics has a unique TPG through its Occupational Health Internship Programexternal icon (OHIP). The primary goal of the OHIP is to recruit and provide training for the next generation of occupational health professionals. Over the course of the summer internship, each OHIP trainee gains an understanding of the following three training objectives that underlie the program:
- Discuss the importance of work-related health and safety hazards in determining the health of workers and the general community;
- Explain the changing nature of the workforce and importance of designing health and safety interventions to meet the needs of specific and diverse worker groups; and
- Describe the role of occupational health and safety professionals in reducing workplace health and safety hazards.
The second goal of OHIP is to increase diversity in the occupational health disciplines by actively recruiting and mentoring students from minority and immigrant backgrounds including underrepresented minorities (URM). URM individuals are those racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in the public health profession relative to their numbers in the general population.
The long term objectives of the Ohio State Universityexternal icon program are to 1) increase the number of engineers who understand that they have a direct effect on the safety of workers who work with the equipment and work systems engineers design, and 2) increase the number of engineers who choose to go into applied or research positions in the area of occupational safety and health.
Annually, five traineeships in Occupational Safety and Ergonomics are available in the Department of Integrated Systems Engineering (ISE) at OSU. The specific aim of the program is to use these traineeships to provide educational opportunities to engineering students at the master’s level who are interested in pursuing industrial, consulting, or academic careers in occupational safety and ergonomics or related areas. Plans of study typically require 4 semesters to complete and include a research thesis as a culminating project. Students take courses in occupational biomechanics, cognitive engineering, occupational health, industrial accident/incident prevention and control, human error and systems failure or resilience engineering, and experimental design. Students are trained in responsible research practices and have opportunities to get involved in cutting edge research that addresses a number of original NORA Priority Research Areas, including Low Back Disorders, Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Upper Extremities, Traumatic Injuries, Emerging Technologies, Organization of Work, Special Populations at Risk, Exposure Assessment Methods, and/or Intervention Effectiveness Research. Research projects, seminars, internships, a safety practicum, and other opportunities expose students to several sectors in the current NORA Sector-Based Approach such as Agriculture, Construction, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Public Safety, Service workers, and Warehousing. Students learn from OSU faculty, experienced practitioners, and from workers. While students learn about safety and ergonomics fundamentals, they also learn about emerging trends and concepts, such as resilience safety & engineering and wellness approaches to occupational safety and health. Laboratory facilities and equipment the students work with are state-of-the-art and the OSU Libraries system is second-to-none.
OSU’s College of Engineering continues to implement and refine strategies for recruiting and retaining top-notch graduate students from groups that are underrepresented in engineering, and the ISE’s NIOSH-sponsored training program actively participates in these strategies when recruiting participants for the program. The program has strong institutional support, as demonstrated by the provision of Tuition Awards for the trainees, which provide for full tuition support for up to two years per student. Advisory Board members who come from labor, state government, industry, research, and education, provide the program with important, relevant outside perspectives, as well as providing direct support to students through internships, safety practicum sponsorships, guest lectures in classes, and seminars. The training program provides Ohio, a state with more than 205,000 employers, and the surrounding region of the country with engineers with training to identify and address safety and ergonomics hazards in a wide variety of workplaces. Program graduates become valuable employees because of the breadth of their training (research methods, safety, health, ergonomics/human factors, and others), sector exposure (agriculture, manufacturing, warehousing, healthcare, and others), and instructor exposure (academics and experienced professionals), or they may opt to build upon that strong foundation of knowledge with further education and training at the doctoral level.
The TPG in Occupational Safety at Ohio Universityexternal icon addresses the shortage of well-trained practitioners in a traditionally underserved area of southeastern Ohio and the Ohio River Valley. The program is in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology. Students are enrolled in the MS program in ISE. Key elements of the program include: six core courses, two mandatory internships, two mandatory seminars in writing and research, and participation in plant tours and professional activities. The core classes are: Human Factors Engineering, Industrial Ergonomics, Occupational Hygiene Laboratory, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Systems Safety, and Six Sigma. Students then take elective courses to complete their degree requirements in the Russ College, the College of Health Sciences and Professions, or other colleges at Ohio University. A specific academic focus for this project is older workers and advanced data analysis methods. Faculty for the program are well-qualified in this area as well as in the component areas of Occupational Safety research and field practice.
The Department of Occupational and Environmental Health (OEH) at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) College of Public Health provides graduate education leading to the Master of Science (MS) degree in Industrial Hygiene and Environmental Health Sciences (IH/EHS). The goal of the IH/EHS program is to prepare professional practitioners to apply scientific knowledge to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, and control of environmental hazards or stresses affecting human health. The IH/EHS degree has been prized by employers and students because graduates are prepared to direct environmental compliance programs as well as occupational health and safety programs.
The IH/EHS program at OUHSC is one of only four ABET-accredited masters level industrial hygiene programs in the south central United States. The program has been accredited by ABET since 2000. The curriculum consists of 48 semester hours of coursework, including master’s thesis research and a field practice experience, and can be completed in 21-24 months of full-time study. The OEH Department consists of 7 full-time faculty with diverse research interests and rich experience in professional practice. The Department is well equipped with laboratory and field sampling instruments in support of the training program.
The specific aims of the NIOSH TPG are: (1) to attract highly qualified and motivated students, including individuals with cultural or linguistic fluency related to underserved populations, into the industrial hygiene profession and (2) to recruit students with diverse technical backgrounds who are interested in entering the industrial hygiene field. TPG funds are used to support four traineeship slots per year, to be filled by full-time masters-level trainees. Trainees may be supported on the TPG for up to 24 months.
The program has traditionally drawn well-prepared applicants from a number of undergraduate programs in the region. Oklahoma colleges have relatively high American Indian enrollments reflecting the state’s unique ethnic mix, presenting an excellent pool of well qualified prospective trainees from under-represented minorities. Recruitment also targets individuals with work experience in the health professions, engineering, chemistry, and environmental science who wish to make the transition into industrial hygiene practice.
The University of Pennsylvaniaexternal icon (UPENN), Perelman School of Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residency Program, funded by NIOSH since its inception in 1997, has graduated 112 residents to date. The purpose of this highly innovative, competency based, supervised practicum training program is to continue training physicians in Occupational and Environmental Medicine (OEM), who are both new to the field and making a mid-career shift to OEM. The program plans to graduate at 30 residents during this grant period, 10 directly funded by NIOSH, and in so doing increase the number of occupational medicine/preventive medicine physicians in the United States. The program helps address the national shortage of OEM physicians, the shortage of OEM physicians in underserved areas (as regards the presence of board certified OEM physicians) and the shortage of underrepresented minority OEM physicians. Successful applicants meet requirements of an ACGME-accredited clinical (PGY-1) year, have completed or substantially completed an MPH or equivalent degree.
The graduate training program at Portland State University is designed to address a currently under-represented discipline of Occupational Safety and Health, namely, Occupational Health Psychology (OHP). OHP is an emerging field within the disciplines of Occupational Safety and Health and Psychology, and involves the application of psychological principles to improving the quality of work-life and promoting the safety, health, and well-being of people at work. OHP is a rapidly expanding interdisciplinary field focusing on the promotion, development, and evaluation of workplace health and safety-related initiatives. OHP integrates both individual approaches to safety and health as well as organizational approaches, and holds many of the same tennents as the NIOSH Total Worker HealthTM approach to integrating health promotion and health protection. OHP researchers and practitioners draw from the domains of public health, preventive medicine, nursing, industrial engineering, law, epidemiology, and psychology to develop sound theory and practice for protecting and promoting the safety, health, and well-being of individuals in the workplace. Currently, this is only one of two NIOSH Training Project Grants (TPG) that specifically focuses on OHP. There are two other OHP programs that are part of ERC’s at the University of South Florida and University of Colorado/Colorado State University ERC. Thus, there is both a need for specialized training in OHP, as well as a need for TPGs in our region. Therefore, the purpose of this training program is to provide formal graduate training in OHP to prepare students for academic positions as well as non-academic research positions in government and other entities, and to prepare graduates for jobs in applied occupational safety and health environments. Our goal for the program is to serve as a national model for an OHP training program that successfully balances science and practice perspectives while remaining multidisciplinary in nature.
The broad purpose of the Industrial Hygiene Program at the University of Puerto Rico is train industrial hygienists for the continuous demand of these professionals in the island, the United States Virgin Islands and ultimately the continental United States. UPR TPG is a graduate program in Industrial Hygiene at the Master of Science level, with a basic curriculum including toxicology, occupational health, environmental health, ergonomics, noise and other physical agents, biostatistics, epidemiology, principles of industrial hygiene, principles of industrial safety, environmental health and safety law, ventilation, respiratory protection, industrial hygiene laboratory, an internship and a field studies course. Five additional credit-hours are available for elective courses in the topics of advanced ergonomics design, applied statistics for industrial hygienists and exposure assessment. The duration of the training program is two years, and students are required to conduct a three-month, full-time internship in an industry of their choice where they are guided through their proposed plan of work by a mentor from UPR and a mentor from the industry. Overall, UPR’s TPG training is conducted by means of lectures, seminars, laboratory practices, field practices and research experiences.
Purdue University’sexternal icon graduate program in Occupational and Environmental Health (OEH) has been training students to serve in industrial hygiene, safety, and occupational health for more than 35 years. The program currently offers a Ph.D. and an M.S. in OEH. The M.S. program is accredited by ABET; and is the only accredited graduate OEH program in Indiana. We have developed and received approval for a 4+1 program leading to both a B.S. and a M.S. degree in Occupational Health; we anticipate celebrating graduation of our first 4+1 class in the summer of 2016. The program draws many of its applicants from Indiana and nearby states and in turn graduates of the program often serve in industrial hygiene, safety and occupational health positions in this region. The program also serves the state and surrounding region through research projects on occupational health problems in local and regional workplaces. Program faculty includes specialists in industrial hygiene, epidemiology, and toxicology and is supported by additional faculty within our School as well as across the University. Faculty members are engaged in numerous important research projects concerning ergonomics, real-time video exposure monitoring, indoor air quality, nanoparticle exposure and health impacts, characterization and development of exposure biomarkers, as well as metal neurotoxicology and epidemiology. The core curriculum for the program includes coursework in biostatistics, exposure assessment, toxicology, ergonomics, physical agents, aerosol science, epidemiology, safety and control technology. The philosophy of the program is to accept students with a solid background in the basic sciences, provide them education and training in IH core disciplines (e.g. exposure assessment, toxicology, epidemiology, engineering control technology, ergonomics), and develop their skills as critical thinkers, researchers and communicators, through classroom and laboratory instruction, student projects and thesis research.
The objective of the Industrial Hygiene program at Tulane University is to provide training/education for student graduates that will enable them to seek employment in government, labor, the private sector, and in academia. The NIOSH training project grant has a primary aim of increasing the number of minority and disadvantaged students in the field of industrial hygiene. The training grant is administered through Tulane University’s ABET-accredited industrial hygiene program.
The primary high-impact outcomes from our Training Grant program center around two main areas: increasing the number of qualified OS&H personnel in the local and regional workforce and practice-based internship experience in OS&H. To those ends, our program, over the past reporting period has proven extremely successful. In the aim of increasing the number of qualified OS&H personnel in the region is due to a number of factors, not least of which is the need. The current shortfall in the occupational health and safety workforce in the USA has been well documented in recent years. This shortfall has been well established for both short and long-term needs. For example, the Occupational Outlook Handbook (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012) and the National Employment Matrix (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012), both published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, indicate that both the overall need and growth in the field of occupational health and safety will continue to increase. For longer-term prospects in occupational health and safety, BLS states that the expected employment of occupational health and safety specialists is expected to increase around 14% by 2016. For the reporting period, July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015, the supported students have made a significant impact in increasing the overall number of qualified OS&H personnel in the region. Of the program-supported students, the first continues to pursue his DrPH with an emphasis on ergonomics and sedentary behavior in office workers and the second continues her MPH related coursework and is scheduled to graduate in May 2015. As a department, over the reporting period, we have graduated 27 total graduate students currently working in OS&H-related fields. Another significant activity of the program is the internship experience. The internships provide invaluable training for the students and often result in permanent employment upon graduation. In fact, many of the graduates are employed as specialists. Internships are required for the students with many finishing their MSPH/MPH or DrPH degrees with two full-semester internships.
Little emphasis is given to educating physicians at both the undergraduate and post-graduate levels concerning occupational history-taking and little focus is placed in clinical encounters on discerning and reducing work-related risk factors. Since the mid-1990s, the number of accredited occupational medicine residency (OMR) programs has declined steadily (35%) in spite of a recognized shortfall of physicians with formalized training in this area.
In many specialty areas of medical practice, there is also little attention given to the special needs of non-urban populations. However, rural communities often lack the infrastructure for developing and sustaining a preventive approach to occupational disease and injury, particularly for specific work sectors such as agriculture where the hired and/or migrant workforce may constitute the majority of employees.
Over the past year, funds from the Training Project Grant (TPG) have helped to support, sustain and increase the number of occupational medicine trained physicians who have broad experience and sufficient competence to enter practice without direct supervision. The TPG has made it possible for 4 resident trainees to receive support through this funding during this year. In addition, the grant has allowed the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tylerexternal icon (UTHSCT) Occupational Medicine Residency (OMR) Program to include a dimension of training that emphasizes the occupational health needs of the rural workforce with special attention to agriculture. This includes identifying related competencies within the six general competency domains established by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and those outlined in the Preventive Medicine/Occupational Medicine program requirements. Relevant learning activities designed to help the resident gain experience with these competencies and reach target milestones also established by the ACGME are a part of the program. Such learning activities have included formal didactic training in an Agromedicine conference, multiple worksite walk-through experiences in agriculture, forestry, and fishing operations, and a supervised rotation in a Migrant and Community Health Center setting.
The University of North Alabama (UNA) Industrial Hygiene Program is one of four baccalaureate programs in IH accredited by ABET. The UNA IH Program has earned a reputation for graduating a pool of qualified industrial hygienists who are providing valuable services to workers and employers in this geographical region and beyond. During this cycle, the objectives of the NIOSH-TPG were threefold: (i) support the efforts of continuous academic improvement; (ii) promote recruitment of qualified students into the occupational health and safety field; and (iii) expand the educational opportunities and services of the IH Program.
The TPG at Virginia Tech, housed in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, emphasizes three aspects of occupational safety and health (OSH) at the MS (thesis) and PhD levels: safety engineering, occupational ergonomics, and construction OSH. The former two aspects have been a concentration of the program for several years, while the latter emphasis was added to benefit from the growing collaboration between several academic and research units at Virginia Tech: Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISE), the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, and the Center for Innovation in Construction Safety and Health.
Our aims are to provide a high quality education to trainees, to have them conduct high quality basic and/or applied research, and to provide service to our profession, to industry, and to society. A key goal of our program is support the NIOSH goal of supplying qualified professionals who move on to careers that focus on occupational safety health, through both research and practice. The need for training in these areas is justified in several ways, though primarily by the continuing levels of occupational accidents, injuries and illnesses, substantial pre-doctoral interest, educational needs in contemporary OSH positions, and the national need for trained researchers and practitioners in these areas. Our program is characterized by a dual emphasis on breadth of trainee experience and the requirement for specialization, the latter emphasized by the need for a formal research project related to OSH.
A cohesive group of faculty support the program, with expertise from diverse areas of OSH. Training is achieved through a combination of formal coursework, faculty advising, research, and more general exposure through seminars and interdisciplinary interactions. Candidates for our program are MS or PhD students accepted within the Human Factors Engineering and Ergonomics graduate concentration area within the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department. Prospective trainees are also actively recruited through several means. Our program has been quite successful, based on the number of graduates, the high proportion of graduates continuing in the OSH field, faculty and student scholarly output, awards, and the continuing high number of applications received.
The Training Project Grant (TPG) for the Environmental Health Science (EHS) degree program at Western Kentucky University (WKU) was used to support seven (7) students during the 2014-2015 academic year. The EHS program is assigned administratively to the Department of Public Health within the College of Health and Human Services. The program entails a comprehensive education of students in basic and applied sciences with a strong emphasis in environmental and occupational health assessment and control for chemical, biological, and physical factors or stressors of public health importance.
Students who successfully complete the program earn a B.S. degree. There is also a minor in Environmental Studies and a certificate program in Occupational Health and Safety. Our EHS courses are designed to meet the general education, core, and elective requirements. Key program elements and course offerings require that students complete 120 semester hours (a minimum of 70 semester hours of core courses and electives) before graduation. With regards to staffing, the EHS program comprises of five core and several adjunct faculty members who are well-qualified to teach and conduct research in Environmental/Occupational Health and Safety. Although no faculty members were directly supported by the TPG grant, it must be noted that their individual and joint contributions were helpful in not only teaching the core and elective courses, but in providing opportunities for extra-curricular activities and supervising internships and/or research.
Program achievements featured in the Extramural Research and Training Program Annual Reports