This proposal is to continue our NIOSH TPG program.
Our aims are to provide a high quality education to trainees, to have them conduct high quality basic and applied research, and to provide service to our profession, to industry, and to society. Our current program emphasizes three aspects of occupational safety and health (OSH) at the MS level: safety engineering, occupational ergonomics, and occupational biomechanics. In the current proposal, we intend to expand the program to include PhD-level trainees. The need for training in these areas is justified in several ways, though primarily by the continuing levels of occupational accidents, injuries and illnesses, substantial student interest, educational needs in contemporary OSH positions, and the need for graduates in these areas. Our program is characterized by a dual emphasis on breadth of trainee experience and the requirement for specialization, the latter emphasized by the need for a formal research project related to OSH. TPG funds allow us to maintain this emphasis, as well as attract and retain top students. A broad yet cohesive group of faculty and staff have been assembled to support the program. Training is achieved through a combination of formal coursework, faculty advising, research, and more general exposure through seminars and interdisciplinary interactions. Several mechanisms are either in place or proposed to evaluate and improve the program, including an external advisory board and trainee feedback, and a plan for diversity enhancement, enrollment, and retention. Candidates for our program are MS or PhD students accepted within the Human Factors Engineering and Ergonomics graduate option within the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department. Prospective trainees are also actively recruited through several means. Our program overall has been quite successful during the prior period, as based on the number of graduates, the high proportion of graduates continuing in the OSH field, faculty and student scholarly output, awards, and the continuing high number of applications received. The program plan described here is intended to continue in a similar fashion, and improve in several key areas, including minority recruitment and retention.