The Central Appalachian Regional Education and Research Center (CARERC) provides graduate and continuing education for occupational safety and health professionals for the period July 2012 to June 2014. Specifically, we (1) provide interdisciplinary occupational safety and health education for graduate students;(2) enhance the research skills of students and faculty in the targeted disciplines;(3) encourage and conduct interdisciplinary research on a variety of occupational diseases and injuries;(4) deliver continuing education, consultation, and outreach to address environmental and occupational safety and health concerns in the Central Appalachian Region;and (5) translate research into prevention practice. CARERC's scope includes counties in eastern Kentucky, western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, western Virginia, and southern West Virginia, where elevated rates of occupational injuries and fatalities persist, particularly in production agriculture, forestry, mining, and transportation. CARERC combines the resources of the University of Kentucky College of Public Health (MPH, DrPH, and PhD in Occupational Epidemiology and MPH in Agricultural Safety and Health);the UK College of Nursing (PhD in Occupational Nursing);the UK College of Engineering (MS and PhD in Mine Safety &Health), and the Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) College of Justice &Safety (MS in Occupational Safety). CARERC collaborates with other regional institutions as well as industry, labor, and government in its Pilot Research Program (PRP), Outreach, and Continuing Education (CE) Programs to enhance research capacity and catalyze the translation of research to practice. We plan to support the following number of trainees each year: 7 doctoral students, 7 MPH, and 10 MS students across the core programs. CARERC serves as a catalyst for interdisciplinary research in occupational safety and health and a centralized resource center for innovative education and training. We focus our recruiting and training in the Central Appalachian region to reduce occupational disease and injury of the working men and women in this area. This application is a resubmission of our Occupational Safety (OS) core and a supplement for our Occupational Epidemiology (OccEpi) core. Eastern Kentucky University has provided graduate education in occupational safety since 1991, when the Master of Loss Prevention and Safety (LPS) was first established using a NIOSH grant. It later became a Master of Safety, Security, and Emergency Management (SSEM). It was originally designed to serve as a graduate educational experience for those who completed undergraduate degrees within the department in the areas of fire and safety engineering technology and assets protection. Occupational safety was represented in the undergraduate curriculum as a concentration, but it has evolved to become an independent degree. It was soon found that students from a broad spectrum of undergraduate degree programs, such as business and criminal justice were also successful in the graduate SSEM program. The on campus program has graduated over 200 students as of spring 2012.
Building on the strengths of our existing research programs and responding to the need for innovative, coordinated occupational safety and health training in central Appalachia, the proposed Central Appalachian Regional Education and Research Center (CARERC) will provide unprecedented levels of targeted instruction, training, and applied research while serving as a recognized source of knowledge and expertise.