UI awarded $8.8 million grant for occupational health and safety training center

Published on August 6, 2019

The University of Iowa’s Heartland Center for Occupational Health and Safety has been awarded a grant of $8.8 million over 5 years to continue to provide graduate training, continuing education, and outreach in the area of occupational health and safety.

A portrait of Patrick O'Shaughnessy of the University of Iowa College of Public Health.
Patrick O’Shaughnessy

Directed by Patrick O’Shaughnessy, professor of occupational and environmental health, and based in the College of Public Health, the center offers training leading to masters and doctoral degrees in agricultural safety and health, ergonomics, industrial hygiene, occupational epidemiology, occupational injury prevention, and occupational safety. The occupational safety training program represents a new collaboration with faculty in the department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University.

The center supports about 40 graduate students annually through funding from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Its graduates have gone on to health and safety careers in manufacturing, insurance, health care, food processing, and research among other industries, says O’Shaughnessy. In addition, over the past five years, more than 9,000 occupational health and safety professionals from across Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska have taken part in the center’s continuing education programs.

“We are proud of our hundreds of graduates who have gone on to apply their training in professions that impact thousands of workers,” says O’Shaughnessy, noting that more than 35 percent of the program’s trainees are employed by companies and organizations in Iowa.

The Heartland Center has been continuously funded since 2000 and is one of 18 university-based Education and Research Centers throughout the United States. More information is available at