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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 17, 2005

Photo: R. William Field, Ph.D., director of the Occupational Epidemiology Training Program and UI associate professor of occupational and environmental health and epidemiology

New Training Program Meets Health Needs Of Changing U.S. Workplace

Global forces are reshaping the modern American work place. The workforce is becoming ever more diverse - in age, gender, race and nationality. Work products are shifting from goods to services. And a significant percentage of workers are moving from large, fixed industries to small firms, temporary jobs or working at home.

As these changes ripple through the U.S. economy, health protection programs are adapting to identify new workplace hazards while continuing to address the health effects of traditional occupational exposures. To meet the growing demand for trained specialists who focus on work-related patterns of disease, illness and injury, a new Occupational Epidemiology Training Program (OETP), based in the University of Iowa College of Public Health, has been established.

Sponsored by the UI Heartland Center for Occupational Health and Safety, OETP offers fellowships to students pursuing a master's or doctorate in either the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health or the Department of Epidemiology in the College of Public Health.

Occupational epidemiologists identify and assess occupational risks, such as pesticides, heavy metals and radioactive materials that can affect the health of workers, according to OETP Director R. William Field, Ph.D., UI associate professor of occupational and environmental health and epidemiology. Occupational epidemiologists are often employed by state health departments, federal agencies, industry, consulting companies, academic institutions and a diverse range of health care organizations.

In addition to training new entry-level occupational epidemiologists, OETP also aims to provide useful skills for other health professions.

"One of the major goals of the OETP is to develop and enhance the occupational epidemiology skills for a variety of health disciplines," Field said. "The range of disciplines we're targeting is quite broad - from medicine, occupational health nursing and health physics to industrial hygiene, safety engineering, toxicology, environmental science and occupational injury."

For more information about the OETP fellowships, including degree requirements and financial support, visit www.public-health.uiowa.edu/heartland/OETP.htm.

STORY SOURCE: The University of Iowa College of Public Health, Office of Communications, 4261 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242.

CONTACT: (Media) Dan McMillan, 319-335-6835, daniel-mcmillan@uiowa.edu; (Program) R. William Field, 319- 335-4413