The Occupational Safety and Health Training Program at the Texas A&M University System Health Science Center's School of Rural Public Health (TAMHSC SRPH) delivers focused training in occupational safety and health, with available concentrations in safety, health, and ergonomics for masters level (MPH and MSPH) students. Students completing the program possess knowledge and skills in the general concepts of developing problems and solutions with cost/benefit analysis related to occupational safety and health/wellness, ergonomics, industrial hygiene, occupational disease, human anatomy, user-computer interaction, displays and controls, information processing, industrial process safety, epidemiology, vibration control, and statistics. The Occupational Safety and Health program, first at Texas A&M University (TAMU) and now at TAMHSC SRPH, has a long history of producing highly qualified safety practitioners. The success of the program is demonstrated by the aggressive recruitment of TAMHSC SRPH graduates by industry, healthcare, academia, and governmental agencies. Originally established in the TAMU College of Engineering through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the program and course faculty transferred to TAMHSC SRPH in 2002. In Summer 2009, the current Program received an initial three year award through the NIOSH T1 funding mechanism. The primary strengths of the TAMHSC SRPH program are the extensive faculty expertise and experience in safety and health, medicine, engineering, industrial hygiene, and ergonomics;the program's critical ties to industry partners, enabling not only capstone field training opportunitis and internships for students but placement of graduates in professional positions with these industry leaders;and the ability to attract a diverse student body via the school's commitment to and investment in innovative distributed learning technologies. TAMHSC SRPH has been on the cutting edge of eLearning distributed learning technology since the school's inception in 1998. Qualified students in the Training Program may pursue their degree through a combination of on-campus, distance learning, or distributed learning methods. With the NIOSH training grant funding, this historically successful program will be able to recruit and retain, ona competitive basis, the best trainee candidates in the country. While the program has been able to recruit and maintain a highly qualified and successful faculty, including professional engineers, medical doctors, certified professional ergonomists, and certified industrial hygienists, the NIOSH funding is greatly needed and will assist in recruiting and retaining new, highly qualified students and faculty members. For the proposed 5 year renewal period, the NIOSH funding will provide stipend support for five (5) pre- doctoral trainees each year as well as continued and expanded program recruitment and retention efforts.
Occupational safety and health specialists are critical to ensuring the safety and health of the nation's worksites and workforce. The program addresses the shortage of qualified occupational safety and health professionals, due in part to baby boomer retirements in the safety and health field, by delivering a high quality program via a combination of on-campus, off-campus, and distributed learning technologies. We continue to strive to meet the ever-growing Industry demand for our program interns and graduates.