The University of Texas (UT) ITREOH program has been funded continuously since 1995, trained 5 masters and 7 doctoral students, 1 postdoctoral fellow, conducted over 90 short courses, and funded 14 pilot research projects in five countries. The overall goal of this program is to address the critical shortage of trained professionals and institutional resources in occupational and environmental (OEM) in Latin America.
The specific aims of the program are to: 1) train foreign scientists and professionals in OEH to deal effectively with the adverse health effects of workplace and community exposures;2) develop human, material, and intellectual capital in collaborating institutions in the science, scholarship and practice of OEH;3) develop national and regional prevention programs;and 4) develop an international network of trained professionals in OEH to collaborate in training and research programs aimed at the identification and control of exposures and their associated health effects. The geographic area of the UT ITREOH program is Latin America, with a two-tier regional approach. The first tier of collaborating countries include: Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Colombia. Activities in these countries include institutional support for academic research programs in public and private universities. Main Foreign Collaborators from these countries, together with UT faculty, guide the development of program initiatives and activities. The second tier of collaborating countries include: Mexico, Venezuela, and Ecuador. Collaborating institutions in these countries will provide an expanded regional network that builds on prior program accomplishments and impact. Activities in these countries will include continuing education, and eligibility to compete for pilot project research funds. The proposed training and research program has five main components: 1) doctoral degree training at UT, and masters degree training in established academic programs in first-tier countries;2) pilot project research training aimed at junior investigators;3) public health intervention projects that partner collaborating institutions and public health institutions;4) targeted short courses based on local needs assessment;and 5) dissemination of scientific information through peer-reviewed OEH literature in Spanish. Central to these activities will be the integration of returning and existing program graduates in collaborating countries. This application includes a Regional Resource Center that will support dissemination of information and continuing education. The public health relevance lies in the development of significant resources in training and research in OEH in Latin America. Relevant outcomes to date include: a better understanding of the causes and conditions of workplace injury and illness, interventions to improve injury rates and national reporting systems, the development of public policy in OEH and substantial national resources in training and research.
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