NIOSH Center Director’s Meeting foretells changes

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) held it’s now annual NIOSH Center Directors meetings in Cincinnati, Ohio (March 19-20). Dr. Eula Bingham (Director of OSHA from 1977-1981), now 85, is pictured addressing the Directors on nanoparticles, and she recalled the Brazilian Blowout problem identified by the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences and Oregon OSHA. But NIOSH continues to change.

Attending from the Northwest: Kent, Leslie and Diane
Attending from the Northwest were the University of Washington’s Education and Research Center (ERC) and Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health (PNASH) Center, and the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center (OHWC) from OHSU, PSU, UO, OSU, Kaiser CHR. Drs. Kent Anger and Leslie Hammer attended for the OHWC. Dr. Diane Rohlman attended as the new Director of Iowa’s TWH Center. The Centers represent about 60% of NIOSH’s extramural funding, so it is their major investment.

New Affiliates: SAIF
NIOSH is looking to the future with new input on the National Occupational Research Agenda. The Total Worker Health (TWH) research agenda is being formulated and the new Affiliate program is expanding. Most recently, SAIF was named as a NIOSH TWH Affiliate, the first workers’ compensation insurance carrier to be named an Affiliate. SAIF joins NASA, 2 safety councils, 2 labor unions, a Department of Public Health and several Universities as NIOSH Affiliates. Only non-profit organizations need apply.

New Center on Aging
The TWH program is the fastest growing program in NIOSH, having added a large intramural (internal) program, and the first TWH Center within NIOSH was announced: The Center for Productive Aging and Work. This Center is focused on creating ‘aging-friendly’ workplaces and best practices and tools to support that goal.

Message Evolving: TWH is health protection and well-being
NIOSH Director John Howard keynoted the meeting. His remarks reinforced the focus of NIOSH on TWH. The TWH message is being refined as a focus on traditional OSH, or health protection, and well-being. The TWH program is focused on creating safe and healthy workplaces to ensure a safe, healthy and productive workforce. Wisely, NIOSH continues to increase it’s focus on burden (injuries, illnesses, fatalities), need, and impact. Every Center and grantee must report its productivity in these three domains.

Social Media: Why Wikipedia is So Important
Shown speaking is Dr. Max Lum of NIOSH (Senior Consultant, Office of the Director, e-Communication, research translation, global health). Max revealed that Google is the most frequent referring domain to NIOSH, followed by Bing and Wikipedia.

He reflected that NIOSH has 150,000 web pages and 8 million visits per year while Wikipedia has 3.4 Million articles and 8 million visits per hour. Per hour!  NIOSH authors articles for Wikipedia, and keeps them current as Wikipedia’s model is to build article through reader authoring.