ERC Academic Programs
To meet the needs of national and regional safety and health professionals, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) developed the Education and Research Centers in 1977. The purpose of this program is to support NIOSH ERCs to address the burden of OSH in the United States by providing state-of-the-art interdisciplinary training for the next generation of OSH practitioners and researchers. ERCs play a significant role in preparing the future OSH workforce to respond to new challenges posed by the changing nature of work. These changes are the result of technological advances, globalization, new and emerging risks, occupational health disparities associated with the changing demographics of the US workforce, and a myriad of other factors.
NIOSH’s network of ERCs across the United States helps address these challenges and provide the next generation of OSH leadership to protect workers and ensure a healthier national workforce. The ERCs provide well-trained graduates to meet the demand for a professional OSH workforce for federal, state, and local government agencies; not-for-profit agencies; industry; academia; business; healthcare; and labor organizations. ERCs help meet our nation’s need for skilled, knowledgeable practitioners and researchers in OSH and enhance the diversity of the safety and health workforce. NIOSH currently funds 18 university-based Education and Research Centers.
The Occupational and Environmental Hygiene program focuses on the anticipation, recognition, evaluation and control of factors in the workplace and community which may cause illness or injury. The basic curriculum includes physiology, toxicology, occupational health, occupational medicine, ergonomics, biostatistics, epidemiology, principles of industrial safety, health and safety program management, health and safety law, industrial noise, and industrial hygiene principles, measurements and controls. Training is offered at master’s and doctoral levels. The program leading to the Master of Science (MS) degree is intended to provide broad education, training, and experience for the general practice of industrial hygiene and safety. Doctoral training is available for qualified students interested in research careers. Research interests of the faculty include all aspects related to exposure assessment for physical, chemical and biological agents. An original research dissertation is required.
The Occupational and Environmental Medicine program offers 1) residency training in Occupational Medicine to physicians, 2) a joint doctoral program with the Department of Epidemiology in occupational epidemiology, and 3) a core curriculum in occupational and environmental health and medicine for masters and doctoral students in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health as well as postdoctoral fellows throughout the University. The Occupational Medicine Residency trains leaders in occupational medicine for careers in any of the major sectors of the field – academia, industry, government, clinical practice, or labor – and provides expertise in occupational and environmental medicine. The residency is a two-year program, with an optional third-year available for trainees interested in careers in academia. The Residency is fully accredited by the ACGME and contributes to eligibility to sit for the certifying examination in occupational medicine by the American Board of Preventive Medicine.
The Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing program offers training for nurses at the master’s and doctoral levels. The full-time 11-month long Master of Public Health (MPH) curriculum includes core courses in toxicology, industrial hygiene, occupational medicine, epidemiology, biostatistics, and safety and injury prevention. A part-time/internet-based MPH program with distance learning options is also available. Graduates are prepared for a variety of positions that uniquely combine knowledge in occupational health and nursing. A program leading to a PhD or DrPH in Environmental Health and Engineering is available to prepare qualified students for careers in research and academia. Research opportunities exist in clinical, laboratory, or field settings. An original research dissertation is required. There are also employment opportunities in programs concerned with environmental hazards for graduates of both the master's and doctoral levels.
The Occupational Epidemiology and Biomarkers Program training program offers doctoral level education, training, and research in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering. The objective of the program is to graduate highly qualified scientists who possess the knowledge and skills necessary to develop, evaluate, and apply molecular and biochemical biomarkers of exposure, effect, and susceptibility in occupational or environmental settings. Biomarkers are valuable tools for monitoring exposures or effects, and in molecular epidemiological studies of disease etiology. Graduates from the program are prepared to enter research and teaching careers in several venues including academic universities, research institutes, governmental health agencies, and international health organizations.
The Occupational Injury Epidemiology and Prevention program in the Department of Health Policy and Management stresses doctoral level education and training; however, the MPH degree program, with a Certificate in Injury Prevention and Control, is also available. The curriculum provides courses in the relevant areas of injury prevention, safety, quantitative and qualitative methods, prevention policy, and behavioral and social sciences. Among the skills mastered are occupational injury risk analysis, assessment, and reduction; injury epidemiology; critical evaluation of research data and recognition of deficiencies in the literature; ability to analyze data and provide recommendations to prevent or control injuries in the workplace. Students in the program usually enter careers in professional practice or in research and/or teaching at the university, government or the private sector level.