Preparing the future OSH workforce for the new challenges of the changing nature of work.

The mission of the Central Appalachian Regional Education and Research Center (CARERC) is to provide state-of-the-art interdisciplinary occupational safety and health research, education, and training opportunities for stakeholders in 177 high-need counties of eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina, and Virginia.

Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (CDC/NIOSH), ERCs

  • Conduct state-of-the-art research in worker safety and health;

  • Provide graduate-level academic programs and continuing education (CE) in occupational safety, industrial hygiene, occupational health nursing, and occupational medicine;

  • Develop control technologies, workplace interventions and other solutions designed to protect worker health and safety and avert injury-related costs to businesses and families.

ERCs exist to provide an adequate supply of personnel qualified to carry out the purposes of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA Act) and to reduce the national burden of work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. According to a NIOSH-commissioned assessment of the occupational safety and health workforce, future demand for occupational safety and health services will significantly outstrip the number of professionals with the necessary training, education, and experience to provide them (Westat, 2011). Whereas U.S. employers expect to hire an average of 5,000 occupational safety and health professionals per year, only 2,835 such professionals graduated in 2011. Thus, future demand for professional occupational safety and health services will remain high.

In keeping with regional needs, CARERC aims to

  1. provide interdisciplinary occupational safety and health education for graduate students and occupational medicine residents

  2. enhance the research skills of students and faculty in the targeted disciplines

  3. encourage and conduct interdisciplinary research on a variety of occupational diseases and injuries

  4. deliver continuing education, consultation and outreach to address environmental and occupational safety and health concerns

  5. translate research into practice to prevent injury and disease

Our full-time and contributing faculty members are national and international leaders in their respective fields of

  • Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing

  • Occupational Safety

  • Agricultural Safety and Health

  • Occupational Epidemiology

  • Mining Engineering Safety and Health

CARERC courses and continuing education (CE) opportunities are offered on the campuses of both the University of Kentucky (Lexington) and Eastern Kentucky University (Richmond).