Nathan Fethke


Portrait of Prof. Nathan Fethke, head of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

Title(s): Professor and Department Head
Department: Occupational and Environmental Health
Office: S347 CPHB
Phone: (319) 467-4563

Students taking Dr. Nate Fethke’s courses learn that a world of difference exists between products labeled “ergonomic” and their actual benefits. Hand tools and other devices are examined and evaluated under the guidance of Fethke, who was experienced as an engineer in consumer product manufacturing before pursuing his Ph.D. in Occupational and Environmental Health.

“One of the things I try to teach is that there is a distinct difference between the word ‘ergonomic’ as used in marketing and ‘ergonomic’ in terms of health and safety,” Fethke said, citing the ubiquitous use of the term for gardening and hand tools, chairs, computer keyboards and more. “In reality, you may end up paying a premium for features with little or no health and safety benefit.”

Learn more about Dr. Fethke in this profile…

Courses Taught

  • Occupational Ergonomics: Principles
  • Occupational Ergonomics: Applications

Research Interests

  • Quantitative evaluation of ergonomics interventions
  • Exposure assessment strategies and physical risk factor exposure variability
  • Associations between exposure to physical risk factors and musculoskeletal health outcomes
  • Instrumentation and development of signal processing techniques to estimate exposure to physical risk factors for musculoskeletal health outcomes