UCLA /UCI NIOSH-SCERC Occupational Epidemiology Research Training Program

Deadline: None. Applications are reviewed quarterly in December, March, June, and September.

Description: Adults spend most of their waking hours in work environments that may be health promoting or a major cause of increased injury risk, chronic diseases, prolonged disability, or premature mortality. Occupational epidemiology is one of the core scientific disciplines used to identify, quantify, and prevent such health risks in the work environment. The National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) sponsors 18 Education and Research Centers (ERC) across the US that provide academic graduate level and professional interdisciplinary training in various fields related to occupational health or safety, including occupational epidemiology.

The Southern California NIOSH Education and Research Center (SCERC) at UCLA and UCI is directed by Dr. Niklas Krause, MD, PhD, MPH, Professor of Epidemiology and of Environmental Health Sciences at the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA. The center’s Collaborative Research Training Program in Occupational Epidemiology is co-directed by Dr. Krause at UCLA and Dr. Dean Baker, MD, MPH, Professor in Environmental Health Sciences at the School of Medicine at UCI in collaboration with the respective epidemiology departments on both campuses.

The program offers fellowships for doctoral training in occupational epidemiology to students who choose to address occupational health or safety issues identified in the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) in their dissertation research. Special emphasis is given to research training in chronic disease epidemiology (such as cardiovascular, respiratory, or neurological diseases), the epidemiology of work-related injury, musculoskeletal disorders, associated disability, and the study of chemical, physical, ergonomic, behavioral and work-organizational risk factors. Trainees follow the standard curriculum for doctoral students in the UCLA or UCI epidemiology program but will focus their elective coursework and research on occupational epidemiology and related exposure and risk assessment methods. They also participate in interdisciplinary training activities with other SCERC trainees from related academic trainings in occupational medicine, occupational health nursing, and industrial hygiene. Professors in the UCLA departments of epidemiology (Onyebuchi Arah, Leeka Kheifets, Niklas Krause, and Beate Ritz) and in the UCI department of medicine (Dean Baker) and epidemiology (Anton-Culver, Ralph Defino) provide primary mentorship for this collaborative research training program. Additional faculty in these and other departments and schools provide access to data and specialized training in specific research areas as needed.

Award Amount: Trainees in the doctoral program receive support for tuition/fees, stipends, and travel support to attend conferences or professional meetings up to a total amount of $40,000. Funds may be supplemented by departmental and other sources. Support typically provided for 1-3 years.

Requirements: Must have an MPH, MS, or equivalent degree in health-related field (or expect completion in the current academic year) and must be enrolled or eligible for enrollment in the UCLA or UCI epidemiology PhD program. Tuition and stipend support is available for US citizens or permanent residents only, however, training is also available for students with other sources of support. Current or prospective primary academic advisors need to support applications for this program.

Contact: Interested students should submit their inquiries or applications (informal cover letter, CV, transcripts, two-page statement of research interests, 1-3 letters of support) via their academic advisors or directly to the program directors at UCLA (Niklas Krause, 310-825-2079, niklaskrause@ucla.edu) or UCI (Dean Baker, 949-824-8690, dbaker@uci.edu).