Center for Occupational and Environmental Health Lands $6.6 Million Grant

Center for Occupational and Environmental Health Lands $6.6 Million Grant

Aug 22, 2007 6:00 PM

Deaths of coal miners highlight importance of training professionals in workplace safety

SALT LAKE CITY -- The University of Utah's Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (RMCOEH), the first statutorily established occupational health center in the United States, has won a $6.6 million, five-year grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to train graduate students and conduct research in occupational safety and health. A primary goal of the RMCOEH is to train professionals to prevent tragedies such as the multiple occupational deaths that have afflicted Utahns this month.

The RMCOEH will use the grant to:

* increase the size of the academic programs

* utilize research projects for student experiences

* further grow research programs

* develop a post-doctoral training program

* develop additional distance-based education programs

* re-start an occupational health nursing program

RMCOEH is partially funded by this grant, the largest training grant at the University of Utah, and has training programs in: ergonomics and safety, hazardous substance training, industrial hygiene, occupational injury prevention, occupational medicine, and continuing education. The RMCOEH's programs involve the Departments of Family & Preventive Medicine, Mechanical Engineering, Internal Medicine and Economics.

RMCOEH's grant application received the highest score of all other centers nationally. Kurt T. Hegmann, M.D., M.P.H., research associate professor of family and preventive medicine and RMCOEH director, said: "The tragic events involving Utah coal miners this month are a sobering reminder of the importance of workplace safety. The primary goal of RMCOEH is to prevent these kinds of accidents and this new grant will help us in that effort for workers in all industries."

The grant reviewers recognized the Center as having an outstanding advisory board composed of leaders in occupational safety and health in the community.

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Contact: Kurt Hegmann, M.D.


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