National Healthcare and Social Assistance Agenda

The National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) National Healthcare and Social Assistance (HCSA) Agenda was first published by the NORA HCSA Council in 2009. NORA is a partnership effort to define and conduct high priority research in occupational safety and health. Sector-based partnerships use research results to encourage changes in workplaces that will be effective in reducing worker injuries, illnesses, and deaths. NIOSH serves as a facilitator of the NORA process. More information about NORA is available.

The 2009 HCSA Agenda identified a group of high priority occupational safety and health issues facing the HCSA Sector. That version of the agenda only addressed the needs of those caring for or providing services to people. Since then, the Council has also sought to address the needs of those engaged in veterinary medicine and animal care (VM/AC).

NORA sectors are defined in terms of industries and described using North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. The HCSA Sector includes four subsectors focused on care of people. These include: ambulatory health care services (NAICS 621External), hospitals (NAICS 622External), nursing and residential care facilities (NAICS 623External), and social assistance (NAICS 624External). Social assistance includes establishments that provide nonresidential individual and family services for youth, elderly and persons with disabilities; community food, housing and emergency relief services; vocational rehabilitation services; and child day care services. The ambulance services industry (NAICS 62191External) is not included in the NORA HCSA sector program; however; it is included in the NORA Public Safety Sector, which developed goals specifically addressing this industry.

Because of the many parallels between human healthcare and animal healthcare, the NORA HCSA Sector also includes two VM/AC industries. Veterinary services (NAICS 541940External) comprises establishments of licensed veterinary practitioners primarily engaged in the practice of veterinary medicine, dentistry, or surgery for animals; and establishments primarily engaged in providing testing services for licensed veterinary practitioners. Pet care except veterinary services (NAICS 812910External) provides services such as boarding, grooming, sitting, and training pets. The issues and priorities described in the NORA HCSA Agenda also apply to VM/AC workers in other industries. Examples of these industries include zoos and botanical gardens (NAICS 712130External), which employs zoo workers, and a range of industries that employ laboratory animal care workers to enable life sciences research, such as academic institutions, pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies, etc. Services provided by farmers, ranchers and other workers in industries that are included in the NORA Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Sector, which has developed goals to address their needs, are not included in the NORA HCSA Agenda.

Many of the issues faced by VM/AC workers are similar to those faced by their counterparts caring for or providing services to people. Some, such as animal-related trauma, are unique. The main change to the updated HCSA Agenda is the addition of high priority issues affecting VM/AC workers. We invite comments on the updated agenda, especially these new parts.

National Healthcare and Social Assistance Agenda – February 2013Cdc-pdf [PDF – 474 KB]

Contact the NORA Coordinator if you have any questions:

Sidney C. Soderholm, PhD
NORA Coordinator
Page last reviewed: March 28, 2018