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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

UTHealth: Center to Promote and Protect Worker Health Gains National Acclaim

The Southwest Center for Occupational Safety and Environmental Health at University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health has been officially approved as an affiliate of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Total Worker Health program, strengthening a partnership spanning more than 40 years.

The Total Worker Health program is a research-to-practice effort that fosters an integrated approach, which is aligned to the center’s mission.

“Total Worker Health adopts a more holistic approach, building on the traditional focus of occupational health and safety on protecting workers from injuries and workplace exposures to chemical, physical, or biological agents,” said center director Dr. Elaine Symanski, professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health. “We’re now looking at a whole range of other factors that affect workers. The nature of work, the workforce, and employment arrangements are rapidly changing and impacting worker health, both positively and negatively. Moreover, our field is shifting its focus from keeping workers safe to achieving their best possible well-being.” 

The UTHealth center is one of 46 NIOSH Total Worker Health program affiliates, which include collaborations with academic, labor, nonprofit, and government organizations. The Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health has been continuously funded as a NIOSH Education and Research Center since 1977. Last year, it became the first institution in the U.S. to offer a Total Worker Health doctoral program, approved by NIOSH as a new Education and Research Center academic program.

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