NIOSH Funds Two New Total Worker Health Centers of Excellence, Six in All

"New patterns of employment and work restructuring impact the safety and health of workers, and we look forward to working to improve safety interventions in construction, small business, and health care, among others," NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard, M.D., MPH, said.

NIOSH announced it has funded six Centers of Excellence for Total Worker Health®, with two new centers in Colorado and Illinois joining four existing Centers in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Oregon. "The Centers of Excellence represent the extramural portfolio of Total Worker Health (TWH) research funded by NIOSH to further its mission of protecting and advancing the safety, health, and well-being of the diverse population of workers in our nation," the agency's announcement stated.

"The center's regional presence and expertise play an important role in conducting novel research on the important connections between work and health, so vital in a rapidly changing economy," NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard, M.D., MPH, said. "New patterns of employment and work restructuring impact the safety and health of workers, and we look forward to working to improve safety interventions in construction, small business, and health care, among others."

NIOSH defines Total Worker Health as policies, programs, and practices that integrate protection from work-related safety and health hazards with the promotion of injury and illness prevention efforts in order to advance worker well-being. This approach prioritizes a hazard-free work environment that protects the safety and health of all workers.

The six Centers of Excellence for Total Worker Health include:

  • The Center for Work, Health, & Well-being in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, which is focused on expanding the evidence base for TWH by conducting research on system level approaches, developing and implementing best practices, assessing workplace policies, and building the capacity of trained professionals and organizations to carry out this work.
  • The Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace, a joint interdisciplinary initiative of the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the University of Connecticut with the goal of improving workers' health through a highly participatory process involving front-line employees and top-down organizational support. Its focus is health care workers and correctional officers.
  • The Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest (formerly known as the Healthier Workforce Center of Excellence) at the University of Iowa, which will continue its focus on small enterprises and expands by partnering with the states of Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas. A target of this center includes developing integrated approaches that address the precarious nature of work in the construction industry.
  • The Oregon Healthy Workforce Center at the Oregon Health and Science University, which aims to evaluate the TWH concept through research on intervention effectiveness and to determine its impact on workforce and population safety and health. This center's emphasis is on truck drivers and sedentary work.
  • The Rocky Mountain Center for Total Worker Health at the University of Colorado, which aims to advance the overall health and well-being of workers in the U.S. Mountain Region and highlights workers in small enterprises and high-risk industries.
  • The University of Illinois-Chicago Center for Healthy Work, aiming to improve the health of the rapidly growing number of vulnerable workers in the United States.

NIOSH established the extramural research Centers of Excellence in 2005. For more information about TWH, visit

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