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Translating Research Into Practice the NIOSH Way

A partnership created by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health examines more than 2 decades of research to find better ways to incorporate research findings into the workplace.


 

The National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), a partnership program created by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), is celebrating its second anniversary with a report addressing the question: how can research be better moved into practice in the workplace?

NORA has focused on 10 industry sectors representing major areas of the U.S. economy, and developed sector councils—comprising of stakeholders from universities, business, professional societies, government agencies, and worker organizations—that set priority research goals for the nation.

Related: NIOSH Guide Promotes Holistic View of Worker Health

In the past 20 years, NIOSH has had an average of 740 active projects per year. It invested an average of $243.8 million per year in research between 2007 - 2015. Between 2007 - 2014, nearly 11,000 publications were developed through NIOSH-funded research.

Outcome measures include whether those NORA outputs have been used by others, in citations and research. NIOSH says its outputs are widely disseminated; the VA and other veterans’ organizations, for instance, disseminated NIOSH information on return-to-work issues for veterans with PTSD. As another example, academicians and researchers are using NIOSH findings to improve tuberculosis risk and prevention education in workplaces. And approximately 50% of the NIOSH products cited by another federal agency in a Federal Register document were aged ≥ 11 years —suggesting that NIOSH documents have a “sustained relevance and impact well beyond their publication date,” the report says.

Related: Sick of Your Job—or Sick Because of Your Job?

NIOSH highlights NORA’s progress with “impact stories” about the influence of NORA on health, safety, and wellbeing of the U.S. workforce. Case in point: “Preventing Occupational Transmission of Blood-borne Pathogens Among Healthcare Workers” helped improve worker safety by instructing > 20,000 trainers and leading to new regulations, NIOSH says.

For its third decade, NIOSH says, NORA will build on the “many successes and lessons learned from the first 2 decades of this unique partnership approach.”

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