Evaluation of NIOSH Programs

NIOSH reinitiated its independent, rigorous program review process in 2017, using the framework developed for the review of eight NIOSH research programs by the National Academies in 2005-2008. These new evaluation studies have the same goal of assessing program relevance and impact through a peer review process. However, based on the lessons learned from the previous eight reviews and advances in evaluation science, NIOSH evaluators are applying a theory-based approach to the evaluations: a modified version of Contribution Analysis.1 The emphasis of this approach is on demonstrating a program’s contribution to an outcome rather than establishing causal attribution.

NIOSH is utilizing a scientific, professional, and engineering support contractor to assemble an independent panel to review each program. NIOSH’s contractor recruits a panel chair for each NIOSH program review, who in turn recruits the remainder of the independent panel of experts. The panel is composed of experts in the content area under review, translation science, and program evaluation. Each panel receives an evidence package that contains information about the program’s activities, products developed, and examples of how others have used those products to improve occupational safety and health over the past 10 years. The evidence packages focus on specific health and safety areas and are not comprehensive of all program activities. Program representatives also provide additional detail to panels during an in-person meeting through presentations and discussion.

Using the information from the evidence package and in-person meeting, panelists provide individual scores for relevance and impact, rationale for those scores, and recommendations. The panel chair averages the scores and synthesizes the rationale and recommendations into a final report. Program leaders write a response, with particular attention to if and how they will actively pursue each panel recommendation at the current time. The evidence packages, review panel reports, and program responses developed to date, are available below.

NIOSH Healthcare and Social Assistance Program: Evidence Package 2006-2016pdf icon

This document contains materials to demonstrate the relevance and impact of the Healthcare and Social Assistance Program’s work in the areas of safe and healthy workplaces, musculoskeletal disorders, hazardous drugs and other chemicals, and infectious disease transmission.

NIOSH Healthcare and Social Assistance Expert Panel Reportpdf icon

This document contains the scores, rationale, and recommendations provided to NIOSH by the Healthcare and Social Assistance Program review panel in response to their program review.

NIOSH Healthcare and Social Assistance (HCSA) Program: Response to HCSA Expert Review Panel’s Report pdf icon[PDF – 311 KB]

This document contains the NIOSH Healthcare and Social Assistance Program’s response to each recommendation in the review panel’s report.

NIOSH Exposure Assessment Program: Evidence Package 2006-2016pdf icon

This document contains materials to demonstrate the relevance and impact of the Exposure Assessment Program’s work in the areas of methods development and direct-reading methods and sensors.

NIOSH Exposure Assessment Expert Panel Reportpdf icon

This document contains the scores, rationale, and recommendations provided to NIOSH by the Exposure Assessment Program review panel in response to their program review.

NIOSH Exposure Assessment (EXA) Program: Response to EXA Expert Review Panel’s Report pdf icon[PDF – 241 KB]

This document contains the NIOSH Exposure Assessment Program’s response to each recommendation in the review panel’s report.

NIOSH Construction Program: Evidence Package 2007-2017pdf icon

This document contains materials to demonstrate the relevance and impact of the Construction Program’s work in the areas of silica, musculoskeletal disorders, noise exposure and hearing loss, highway work zones, and fall prevention.

NIOSH Construction Expert Panel Reportpdf icon

This document contains the scores, rationale, and recommendations provided to NIOSH by the Construction Program review panel in response to their program review.

Construction Response to Panel Review pdf icon[PDF – 410 KB]

This document contains the NIOSH Construction Program’s response to each recommendation in the review panel’s report.

NIOSH Emergency Preparedness and Response Program: Evidence Package for 2007-2017 pdf icon[PDF – 8 MB]

This document contains materials to demonstrate the relevance and impact of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Program’s work in the areas of Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance (ERHMS), anthrax preparedness and response capabilities, and other emergency preparedness activities and responses.

NIOSH Emergency Preparedness and Response Program Expert Review pdf icon[PDF – 433 KB]

This document contains the scores, rationale, and recommendations provided to NIOSH by the Emergency Preparedness and Response Program review panel in response to their program review.

Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) Program: Response to EPR Expert Review Panel’s Report pdf icon[PDF – 225 KB]

This document contains the NIOSH Emergency Preparedness and Response Program’s response to each recommendation in the review panel’s report.

NIOSH Mining Program: Evidence Package for 2008-2018 pdf icon[PDF – 8 MB]

This document contains materials to demonstrate the relevance and impact of the Mining Program’s work in the areas of disaster preparedness and response, ground control, and respirable hazards.

NIOSH Mining Expert Panel Report pdf icon[PDF – 243 KB]

This document contains the scores, rationale, and recommendations provided to NIOSH by the Mining Program review panel in response to their program review.


  1. Downes A, Novicki E, Howard J [2018]. Using the contribution analysis approach to evaluate science impact. Am J Eval April: [Epub ahead of print], https://doi.org/10.1177/1098214018767046external icon
Page last reviewed: July 11, 2018