Respiratory Health Cross-Sector Council

Respiratory Health Cross-Sector Council

The NORA Respiratory Health Cross-Sector Council brings together individuals and organizations with a shared interest in preventing work-related respiratory disease. Council members share information, form partnerships, and promote adoption and dissemination of solutions that work. Contact the Co-Chair or NORA Coordinator to volunteer.


Work-related Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a primary focus of the NORA Respiratory Health Cross-Sector Council.


The Respiratory Health Cross-Sector Council and NIOSH hosted a two-day webinar event, Opportunities and Tools to Investigate Occupational Risk Factors for COPD  in September 2022. Fifteen world-class speakers shared about work-related COPD and opportunities for research. Viewers of the recordings can earn continuing education at no cost.

Faces of Work-related COPD video Series

Faces of Work-related COPD is an impact video series and a NORA Respiratory Health Cross-Sector Council initiative. There are four short videos providing physician and patient discussion on work exposures, quality of life with COPD, and ways to minimize risks of getting the disease.

Research Agenda

National Occupational Research Agenda for Respiratory Health

The NORA Respiratory Health Cross-sector Council identified research priorities for the third decade of NORA (2016-2026) in the National Occupational Research Agenda for Respiratory Health. The agenda identifies 10 research objectives for the nation.

Research objectives for the nation

Work-Related Respiratory Diseases

  1. Prevent and reduce work-related lower and upper airways diseases
  2. Prevent and reduce work-related interstitial/dust-induced lung diseases
  3. Prevent and reduce work-related respiratory infectious diseases
  4. Prevent and reduce work-related respiratory malignancies

Occupational Respiratory Exposures

  1. Advance the understanding of how acute and lifetime mixed occupational exposures and mixed occupational and non-occupational exposures impact respiratory health
  2. Advance the understanding of the impact of occupational chronic low-level toxicant exposure on respiratory health, notably chronic low-level irritant exposure
  3. Advance protection of the respiratory health of workers who respond to or are impacted by natural and unnatural disasters, including epidemics and pandemics

Fundamental Activities

  1. Advance surveillance for occupational respiratory diseases and relevant exposures
  2. Advance the assessment of occupational exposures for the study of respiratory health
  3. 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

International Perspectives on Priorities for Occupational Respiratory Health 2023

In 2023, The Respiratory Health Cross-sector Council (RHCC) of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) program conducted discussions with six experienced occupational health experts about their priorities for occupational respiratory health. The experts identified numerous priorities related to different topics. The priorities recorded in this document are a resource that members of the NORA RHCC and other organizations can use when developing an agenda for research and intervention in occupational respiratory health

Review of the Respiratory Health Agenda

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.

Cross-Sector Description

The Respiratory Health Cross-Sector addresses the harmful effects of hazardous respiratory exposures. It focuses on:

  • lower airways diseases (e.g., asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease)
  • upper airways diseases (e.g., rhinosinusitis)
  • interstitial lung diseases (e.g., coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, asbestosis, silicosis)
  • respiratory infectious diseases (e.g., tuberculosis, influenza, anthrax, emerging infectious diseases)
  • respiratory tract and pleural malignancies (e.g., lung cancer, mesothelioma)
  • emerging exposures and related diseases (e.g., engineered nanomaterials, World Trade Center dust, flavoring chemicals)

The NIOSH Respiratory Health Program facilitates the work of the Council and coordinates NIOSH research in this cross-sector.