Respiratory Health Cross-Sector Council


National Occupational Research Agenda for Respiratory Health

The National Occupational Research Agenda for Respiratory Health is intended to identify the knowledge and actions most urgently needed to prevent respiratory diseases. This agenda provides a vehicle for interested parties to describe the most relevant issues, research gaps, and needs for respiratory disease prevention.  It is meant to be broader than any one agency or organization.

The National Occupational Research Agenda for Respiratory Health was developed over several months through a series of meetings starting in December 2016. Members individually wrote lists of priority issues for occupational safety and then discussed possibility research priorities as a group. Research objectives and sub-objectives were then ranked, and the top 10 were discussed and further revised. Council members wrote, reviewed, and revised the text accompanying each objective. The draft agenda had a 120 day public comment period to get broader input. Members made revisions in response to comments and finalized the agenda.

National Occupational Research Agenda for Respiratory Health

The 10 strategic objectives are organized into three sections. Strategic objectives 1-4 address occupational respiratory diseases. Strategic objectives 4-7 address occupational respiratory exposures. Finally, strategic objectives 8-10 focus on the fundamental activities of surveillance, exposure assessment, and communications that are needed for a comprehensive research and prevention program. Most objectives have sub-objectives that describe research needs in greater detail.

In 2022, halfway through the third decade of NORA, Respiratory Health Cross-sector Council leadership asked the 18 non-NIOSH members to choose their top two objectives to assess the Agenda’s current relevance. Member’s responses covered all 10 major objectives. This illustrates that many issues in occupational respiratory health still need attention, both in terms of research and interventions. It also reaffirms that objectives presented in the 2019 Agenda are relevant and important in 2022. The findings are available in the report, Review of the 2019 National Occupational Research Agenda for Respiratory Health by Non-NIOSH Members of the Respiratory Health Cross-Sector Council. [PDF – 312 KB]

Strategic Objectives 1-4: Work-Related Respiratory Diseases

Objective 1: Prevent and reduce work-related lower and upper airways diseases

Objective 2: Prevent and reduce work-related interstitial/dust-induced lung diseases

Objective 3: Prevent and reduce work-related respiratory infectious diseases

Objective 4: Prevent and reduce work-related respiratory malignancies

Strategic Objectives 5-7: Occupational Respiratory Exposures

Objective 5: Advance the understanding of how acute and lifetime mixed occupational exposures and mixed occupational and non-occupational exposures impact respiratory health

Objective 6: Advance the understanding of the impact of occupational chronic low-level toxicant exposure on respiratory health, notably chronic low-level irritant exposure

Objective 7: Advance protection of the respiratory health of workers who respond to or are impacted by natural and unnatural disasters, including epidemics and pandemics

Objectives 8-10: Fundamental Activities

Objective 8: Advance surveillance for occupational respiratory diseases and relevant exposures

Objective 9: Advance the assessment of occupational exposures for the study of respiratory health

Objective 10: Advance information dissemination, education, and positive changes in behavior for workers, patients, employers, policy makers, and health care providers about how to address the occupational contribution to respiratory health, including issues of impairment and disability

Page last reviewed: May 23, 2022