Over the past decade, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) has worked in collaboration with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) towards the goal of increasing state- based occupational health surveillance capacity. A long-term goal of the CSTE Occupational Health Subcommittee is to build, in collaboration with NIOSH, minimum capacity for the surveillance of work-related injuries and illnesses at the state level. The Western States Occupational Network (WestON) is a network of state-based occupational health epidemiologists and scientists from 19 western states, NIOSH and OSHA federal partners, and the NIOSH-funded Education and Research Centers (ERCs) and Agricultural Research Centers located in the western states. The overall goal of this meeting is to strengthen state-based occupational epidemiology in the Western region through capacity building and scientific collaboration, including the ongoing surveillance of work-related injuries and diseases, investigation of cases and outbreaks, and dissemination of information for public health prevention. The WestON meetings are a key step in identifying likely individuals and resources within the Western region, providing technical consultation, and initiating collaborative projects that can maximize limited financial and personnel capacity at the state and federal level. Our hypothesis is that this can be promoted through a "network" where state occupational epidemiologists can learn from experts at the same time they share expertise and experience among themselves. As such, CSTE seeks three-year funding to continue the WestON meeting from 2013 through 2015. WestON 2013-2015 meetings will be co-sponsored by the Mountain and Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC) and the NIOSH Western States Office. CSTE is requesting travel funding for participants who would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend the WestON meeting due to lack of funding within their state. CSTE requests support for airline transportation, ground transportation, hotel accommodations, per diem expenses, and other travel related expenses. The WestON meeting provides a unique opportunity for this group of professionals to meet and address common workplace safety and health issues and to further develop collaborations and partnerships to enhance state-based epidemiology, surveillance and prevention of work-related injuries and illnesses.
The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) have highlighted the lack of capacity of states to sufficiently track work-related injury and illnes. To address this gap, the Western States Occupational Network (WestON) meeting has focused on building occupational health capacity in Western states with minimal existing programs. The purpose of the WestON meeting are to: build capacity among Western states to conduct surveillance of work-related injuries and illnesses, and increase epidemiological capacity in occupational health at the state level;develop common priorities for occupational risk assessment, applied epidemiology, worksite interventions, educational outreach, and other prevention efforts;and promote scientific collaboration among state-based occupational epidemiologists, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and academic colleagues in the Western region. The concentration on Western states stems from common issues regarding workplace safety and health. These issues are points from which collaboration and partnerships have grown.