We study the impact of our surroundings, both natural and built, on health.
The field of environmental and occupational health covers everything from the air we breathe and the water we drink to the injuries and mental health challenges we may face at work. We strive to improve health by promoting practices and policies that reduce harmful exposures and protect vulnerable populations. From improving worker health and safety, to promoting healthy housing, to creating new tools to monitor air and water quality, we work to make our homes, our workplaces, and our communities healthier places for all.
A graduate degree in environmental & occupational health prepares you to think critically about complex challenges and to design solutions that improve public health. When you leave one of our programs, you’ll be ready to address emerging environmental and workplace issues in a way that builds on science while prioritizing real people. Our graduates work in environmental health and safety, emergency management, environmental epidemiology, and workplace safety and health in private, nonprofit, and government organizations.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month. Our center has been a proud NIOSH-funded center since 2007. We are grateful to contribute to NIOSH’s mission of science at work for people at work through our research, education, and practice.
Our support from NIOSH has impacted workers across our region and the country. From training students through six graduate and post-graduate programs to become experts and leaders in occupational safety and health (OSH) to conducting research on Total Worker Health® in small business, to designing practical interventions that help workplaces adopt best practices for worker health, safety, and well-being, we have been able to help advance the fields of OSH and Total Worker Health (TWH).
In celebration of NIOSH’s anniversary and our longstanding collaboration, we want to help you visualize a small representative of the impact we have had through our support and partnership.
The graduate student who earned a Ph.D. in occupational health psychology through the Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC). They are working to understand and prevent burnout to protect the health and longevity of the American workforce. (184 trainees have been supported through the MAP ERC.)
The small business owner in Weld County, CO who participated in our Small + Safe + Well study. The multi-year research project was designed to understand how small organizations support the health, safety, and well-being of their workforce and how employees perceive health and safety climate in their workplaces. The study resulted in a greater understanding of how TWH is adopted and implemented in small businesses and the role TWH leadership serves in improving employee and organizational outcomes. (Supported by NIOSH cooperative agreement, a NIOSH Center of Excellence for TWH.)
The Colorado doctor who treated injured patients for pain management. Our online course on opioid stewardship, taken by 1,348 individuals, was designed for health professionals in Colorado to help improve patient care and learn best practices for managing patients’ pain.
The ski lift operator in Utah who struggles with mental health. Our center co-hosted two days of workshops for mental health and suicide prevention in the workplace for tourism and service industries in the mountains. The in-person trainings focused on helping employers reducing stigma, identify warning signs, gain crucial conversation skills, and establish adaptable workplace supports.
The construction worker who is exposed to silica at their worksite. A researcher supported by our pilot project grants is measuring construction workers’ exposure to silica and the effectiveness of OSHA Table 1 mandated controls on the element. (Supported as a pilot project from NIOSH-funded MAP ERC or Supported as a pilot project grant from NIOSH Center for Excellence for TWH.)
The farmer in the San Luis Valley of Colorado. Our team’s research on harmful metals and chemicals that affect these communities has strengthened the local public health agencies’ impact on low-income communities and their understanding of their health risks.
The wellness coordinator of a school district who added a lactation room and more supportive family leave to their workplace. Through Health Links™, our mentoring program that offers evidence-based Healthy Workplace Certification™ and advising, organizations and their team members have and continue to be equipped to achieve TWH.
The Hispanic high school teacher who is stressed about their job. Another researcher supported by our pilot project grants is examining perceived stress related to work and minority status among Latinx and Hispanic K-12 teachers in Colorado in an effort to protect worker health and safety. (Supported as pilot project from NIOSH-funded MAP ERC or Supported as a pilot project grant from NIOSH Center for Excellence for TWH.)
All of these projects are made possible by our support from NIOSH. We are grateful for our partnership and look forward to the next 50 years of protecting and promoting worker health!
About the Center for Health, Work & Environment
The Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health is one of ten Centers of Excellence for Total Worker Health® and houses the Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center, one of 18 centers of its kind supported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Main offices for the Center are located at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado. The Center team works with faculty, students, and community partners on numerous projects in occupational and environmental health, safety, and well-being.
Written by Laura Veith, marketing and communications coordinator for the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health.