The Department of Occupational and Environmental Health (OEH) at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) College of Public Health provides graduate education leading to the Master of Science (MS) degree in Industrial Hygiene and Environmental Health Sciences (IH/EHS). The goal of the IH/EHS program is to prepare professional practitioners to apply scientific knowledge to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, and control of environmental hazards or stresses affecting human health. The IH/EHS degree has been prized by employers and students because graduates are prepared to direct environmental compliance programs, as well as occupational health and safety programs. The IH/EHS program at OUHSC is one of only four ABET-accredited masters level industrial hygiene programs in the south central United States. The program has been accredited by the Applied Science Accreditation Commission (ASAC) of ABET since 2000. The curriculum consists of 48 semester hours of coursework, including masters thesis research and a field practice experience, and it can be completed in 21-24 months of full-time study. Some courses are taught in innovative compressed format to better serve the needs of students who are working professionals. The OEH Department consists of 7 full-time faculty with diverse research interests and rich experience in professional practice. The Department is well-equipped with laboratory and field sampling instruments in support of the training program.
The Specific Aims of the proposed continuation of the NIOSH training project grant (TPG) are: (1) to attract highly qualified and motivated students, including individuals with cultural or linguistic fluency relatedto underserved populations, into the industrial hygiene profession and (2) to recruit students with diverse technical backgrounds who are interested in entering the industrial hygiene field. TPG funds will be used to support four traineeship slots per year, to be filled by full-time masters-level trainees. Trainees may be supported on the TPG for up to 24 months. It is anticipated that 10 new and 2 continuing trainees will be supported during the 5-year project period. The program has traditionally drawn well-prepared applicants from a number of undergraduate programs in the region. Oklahoma colleges have relatively high American Indian enrollments reflecting the state's unique ethnic mix, presenting an excellent pool of well-qualified prospectiv trainees from under-represented minorities. Recruitment will also target individuals with work experience in the health professions, engineering, chemistry, and environmental science who wish to make the transition into industrial hygiene practice.
Currently, there are not enough trained industrial hygienists to meet the need for these specialists, who work throughout all industrial sectors to protect workers from occupational hazards that could cause illness or death. The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center offers an accredited Master of Science program in Industrial Hygiene and Environmental Health Sciences. The training project grant will provide tuition and stipend support to attract students of diverse technical and cultural backgrounds into the program and enable them to rapidly enter the occupational safety and health professional workforce.