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Input: NIOSH Strategic Goals

The NIOSH Sectors are in the process of developing strategic goals to guide research and partnership efforts over the next decade.

NIOSH previously used priority topic areas (e.g., traumatic injury, hearing loss) to guide research efforts. Goals take this approach a step further by identifying specific outcomes that we want to target, performance measures for evaluating progress in meeting the outcome goals, and intermediate goals to describe the necessary steps that need to be performed to accomplish the goal. Setting goals is challenging because

  • It forces us to focus on a subgroup of issues where we think NIOSH can make an impact —a long list would spread our resources too thin to accomplish the goals. Not every worthwhile topic can be included.
  • It is difficult to develop performance measures. Available injury statistics have limitations, and exposure and health outcome measures are typically not available.
  • It is ambitious for NIOSH to set goals to achieve outcomes such as reductions in a national fatality rate. NIOSH is a research agency so we do not often directly influence outcomes—we must partner well and influence other groups to show results.

NIOSH Program Portfolio Approach

NIOSH has been organizing research, guidance, information, and service efforts into specific programs that can be readily communicated and strategically governed and evaluated. Ten NORA Sector Programs represent industrial sectors, and twenty-four Cross-sector Programs organized around adverse health outcomes, statutory programs and global efforts.

The Sector Programs intersect with Cross-Sector Programs in a matrix-like fashion. For example, an Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Program goal of reducing farm-related deaths and injuries due to tractor rollovers and trucks would likely be a shared goal with the Transportation Program and if appropriate would be adopted by both programs. This approach provides an added advantage and will allow multiple Programs to work towards accomplishment of intersecting goals.

Each of the 34 programs in the NIOSH Program Portfolio has a Manager and Coordinator. Each of the 10 NIOSH Sector Programs facilitates the work of a NORA Sector Council to engage external stakeholders in the process of developing sector goals for the nation and methods to measure the short-term, intermediate and long-term outcomes arising from those goals. The NORA goals for the nation will be considered when choosing NIOSH sector program goals. Cross Sector programs have internal Steering Committees that develop program goals and monitor outcome measures.

These planning efforts will position NIOSH to align with the most current governmental approaches for evaluating program effectiveness, i.e., the Program Assessment Rating Tool (or PART). PART is a mechanism to hold governmental agencies accountable for accomplishing results. As part of our comprehensive approach to performance measurement, NIOSH has engaged the National Academies to independently evaluate our sector and cross-programs for relevance and impact.

Program Goals

Strategic Goal 1: Reduce occupational illness through research on the advancement of new or retrofit engineering control technology.

Strategic Goal 2: Reduce occupational injuries through research on the advancement of new or retrofit engineering control technology.

Strategic Goal 3: Reduce occupational illness and injuries by providing expert advice and consultation to our stakeholders (e.g., government regulatory agencies, consensus standard bodies, employers, unions, health and safety professionals, etc.) on the application of engineering controls for hazard prevention.

Strategic Goal 4: Develop and increase recognition and awareness of occupational safety and health hazards and the means for controlling them by creating control technology information that promotes technology transfer, as well as, the education and training of management, workers, health and safety professionals, and the media.

Strategic Goal 5: Provide the resources and information necessary to protect the health and safety of workers during public health emergencies and response activities.