777 Interdisciplinary and experiential education in occupational safety and health

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Abstract

Introduction

The New York and New Jersey Education and Research Centre (ERC) provides a range of graduate continuing education for occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals in training. A key element of the education is to provide interdisciplinary and experiential education to industrial hygienists, ergonomists, occupational medicine physicians and other health and safety trainees to prepare them for the collaboration required to solve the complex occupational health and safety problems they will face in their careers.

Methods

The ERC has developed an innovative interdisciplinary and experiential training approach that provides an historical aspect, while allowing the graduate students to identify solutions to occupational issues from a multi-disciplinary approach. The ERC developed a tour that brings students to sites of historical and/or contemporary significance in the occupational safety and health and environmental fields. Sites included automobile manufacturing, a coal mine, a granite quarry, fishing boats, steel manufacturing, an asbestos mine, and others.

Results

The ERC has conducted twelve tours, and has included 208 trainees as participants. The participants consistently rate the tour as providing a high amount of OSH knowledge gained, and that the goal of providing interdisciplinary education was achieved.

Conclusion

This tour has been successful in bridging the OSH fields to better understand how occupational and environmental exposures have occurred, in order to prevent future exposures so that workplace conditions and health can be improved. Trainees state the experiential aspect provides knowledge and skills not otherwise learned in traditional educational experiences.

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