Occupational Health Services Research Training Program

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The UW Occupational Health Services Research (OHSR) Training Program is for pre-doctoral students and is offered as part of the Health Services Ph.D. program within the UW Department of Health Systems and Population Health (HSPop). Students follow the core curriculum for the Health Services Ph.D. program and take a minimum of 15 course credits for the occupational health area of interest. These courses can be tailored to students’ interests.

Occupational health services research (OHSR) is crucial to reducing occupational disparities, improving workers’ compensation health care and services, and improving return-to-work and other outcomes for workers with occupational injuries or illnesses. OHSR experts are essential to advancing the health of workers by improving physical and social work environments, developing policy to promote worker well-being, and increasing productivity for workers and organizations. They collaborate with employers and local, state, and federal governments to manage resources efficiently to provide better care for workers.

Our Training Program Strengths

The UW Health Services Ph.D. is currently the only program in the United States funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) that produces researchers and policymakers trained in occupational health services research.

The UW Department of Health Systems and Population Health, its Health Services Ph.D. program, and its research partners have an excellent record of producing highly qualified researchers. The average graduate writes three or more journal articles in training, and 90% of students pursue careers in health services research.

What to Expect

Our Occupational Health Services Research (OHSR) Training Program prepares Ph.D. students to become leaders in academia, public health, government, and the health industry. The training program offers multidisciplinary, applied research opportunities at the University, numerous research partners (including government agencies and health organizations), and in higher education institutions in the five-state region.

Curriculum Components

  • Health services core competency courses
  • Advanced health services theory and methods courses
  • Occupational health emphasis courses
  • Supervised research training

Mentorship is provided by experts, research teams, and program faculty. Trainees obtain advanced substantive knowledge of health policy, the health care system, social determinants, and population health. In addition, trainees pursue their individual interests by taking the Health Services Ph.D. program’s occupational health area of emphasis.

Trainees also obtain rigorous training in research methods, communication skills, and the translation of research into practice.

Collaborative Research Makes a Difference

The research mission of the Occupational Health Services Research (OHSR) Training Program focuses on questions pertaining to the delivery of occupational health services, health outcomes, and disability prevention.

While employment is an important social determinant of health, the focus of OHSR goes well beyond surveillance, prevention, health care, and outcomes related to occupational injury and illness. OHSR also addresses worker well-being, including topics such as precarious work arrangements, job strain and burnout, workplace health promotion, and health equity. OHSR may utilize the total worker health model.

Doctoral trainees will have the opportunity to become involved in a wide range of occupational health services research projects.

Research Project Types

  • Occupational health care delivered through the workers’ compensation system
  • Field-based studies on health and safety topics, including keeping workers healthy to decrease injuries and increase productivity

OHSR students conduct research projects using quantitative, qualitative, and/or mixed methods, while also developing conceptual models for interdisciplinary research that may include wide-ranging influences and outcomes, such as mental health and emotional well-being, labor law and policy, and the structures of our health systems.

The OHSR Training Program builds on principles of occupational health with additional training in health services research methodology, social and behavioral theory, and evaluation of workplace health, health care, and health systems that serve working populations. The interdisciplinary nature of OHSR supports a broad range of research interests.

Financial Support for Trainees

Trainees receive a monthly stipend, tuition support, and health insurance coverage. All stipend amounts are determined and updated annually by the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety.

In addition, travel support is provided for students to conduct research and attend national and regional public health meetings.


Selection of pre-doctoral trainees occurs during the annual Health Services Ph.D. admission process. Appointments are determined by the Admissions Committee in consultation with the OHSR program directors.

We highly recommend you meet with Janessa Graves, training program co-director, before applying to the program. Please email her directly (janessa@uw.edu) to schedule a time to meet.

Applicants should indicate and explain their interest in the OHSR Training Program in their statement of purpose for the Ph.D. program application.

Health Services PhD Admissions

OHSR Training Program Leadership and Team


Janessa Graves, Ph.D., MPH

Gary Franklin, M.D., MPH

Core Faculty

Faculty from within the UW Departments of Health Systems and Population Health (HSPop) and the UW Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) comprise the core faculty of the training program. Training co-directors are also part of the core faculty.

  • Margaret “Peggy” Hannon, Ph.D., MPH
  • Jeff Harris, M.D., MPH, MBA
  • Hendrika Meischke, Ph.D., MPH

Supporting Faculty

  • Barbara Baquero, Ph.D., MPH
  • David Bonauto, M.D., MPH
  • Colleen Daly, Ph.D., MPH
  • Beth Ebel, Ph.D., MPH, MSc
  • Jessica Jones-Smith, Ph.D., MPH
  • June Spector, M.D., MPH
  • Bryan Weiner, Ph.D., MA
  • Thomas Wickizer, Ph.D., MA, MPH, MSW
  • Emily Williams, Ph.D., MPH


  • Emily Bernet, MEd
  • Deborah Fulton-Kehoe, Ph.D., MPH

Training Program Funding and Partnerships

The Occupational Health Services Research (OHSR) Training Program is jointly sponsored by the Department of Health Systems and Population Health (HSPop) and the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) within the University of Washington School of Public Health (SPH).

The OHSR Training Program is administratively housed within the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety (NWCOHS), which is in DEOHS.

Funding for the OHSR Training Program is provided by a training grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

OHSR Publications

Below are select publications of faculty, students, and/or alumni of the OHSR training program.

All Student Publications


Local Health Departments’ Capacity for Workplace Health Promotion Programs to Prevent Chronic Disease: Comparison of Rural, Micropolitan, and Urban Contexts
Brown MC, Kava C, Bekemeier B, Ornelas IJ, Harris JR, Chan KCG, Robertson M, Hannon PA. J
Public Health Manag Pract (September 2021) PMID: 32487926

Considering Work Arrangement as an “Exposure” in Occupational Health Research and Practice
O’Connor, A., Peckham, T. K., & Seixas, N.
Frontiers in Public Health (August 2020)

Early High-Risk Opioid Prescribing Practices and Long-Term Disability Among Injured Workers in Washington State, 2002 to 2013
Haight JR, Sears JM, Fulton-Kehoe D, Wickizer TM, Franklin GM.
J Occup Environ Med (July 2020) PMID: 32730031

Coverage Gaps and Cost-Shifting for Work-Related Injury and Illness: Who Bears the Financial Burden?
Sears JM, Edmonds AT, Coe NB.
Med Care Res Rev. (June 2020) PMID: 31018756


Industrial Injury Hospitalizations Billed to Payers Other Than Workers’ Compensation: Characteristics and Trends by State
Sears JM, Bowman SM, Blanar L, Hogg-Johnson S.
Health Serv Res. (April 2017) PMID: 27140591

Relating Older Workers’ Injuries to the Mismatch Between Physical Ability and Job Demands
Fraade-Blanar LA, Sears JM, Chan KC, Thompson HJ, Crane PK, Ebel BE.
J Occup Environ Med. (February 2017) PMID: 28166127

State Trauma Registries as a Resource for Occupational Injury Surveillance and Research: Lessons From Washington State, 1998-2009
Sears JM, Bowman SM.
Public Health Rep. (November 2016) PMID: 28123225

Improving occupational injury surveillance by using a severity threshold: development of a new occupational health indicator
Sears JM, Bowman SM, Rotert M, Blanar L, Hogg-Johnson S.
Inj Prev. (June 2016) PMID: 26658981


Improving vocational rehabilitation services for injured workers in Washington State
Sears JM, Wickizer TM, Schulman BA.
Eval Program Plann. (June 2014) PMID: 24509051

Workplace-based influenza vaccination promotion practices among large employers in the United States
Graves MA, Harris JR, Hannon PA, Hammerback K, Ahmed F, Zhou C.
J Occup Environ Med. (April 2014) PMID: 24492538

Paid leave benefits among a national sample of working mothers with infants in the United States
Shepherd-Banigan M, Bell JF.
Matern Child Health J. (January 2014) PMID: 23584928

Early predictors of lumbar spine surgery after occupational back injury: results from a prospective study of workers in Washington State
Keeney BJ, Fulton-Kehoe D, Turner JA, Wickizer TM, Chan KC, Franklin GM.
Spine (Phila Pa 1976). (May 2013) PMID: 23238486

Trends in the disproportionate burden of work-related traumatic injuries sustained by Latinos
Sears JM, Bowman SM, Silverstein BA.
J Occup Environ Med. (October 2012) PMID: 22975666