About the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences

OccHealthSci researchers studying data on a computer.

Our Mission

The Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences is dedicated to health and safety in the workforce. Our mission is to promote wellness and prevent disease and disability among working Oregonians. We do so through basic and applied research, outreach, and education.

What We Do

Our Institute addresses the challenges facing the 21st-century workforce, providing new knowledge and evidence-based solutions that improve worker health, well-being, and productivity in Oregon, the region, and beyond. We harness the tools of basic, clinical, and applied research to promote wellness and prevent disease and disability among workers across industries. 

At the Institute, we focus on key areas critical to worker health and well-being: environmental exposure, supportive workplace practices, sleep, diet and exercise, and safety at work. 

We are the home of the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center, a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Center of Excellence for Total Worker Health®, and the NIOSH-supported Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program. 

Collaboration is essential to how we provide evidence-based solutions to improve the health and well-being of workers. At the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences, we partner with employees and employers, government agencies, and industry groups to understand and address the health-related challenges facing the 21st-century workforce. 

Our History

In 1985, Oregon House Bill 2290 created a center for occupational disease research and provided continuous base funding from the State Workers’ Compensation Fund. Two years later, the Oregon State Board of Higher Education provided programmatic approval for the center. The Institute’s current Director, Steven Shea, Ph.D., was appointed in 2012.  


We are base funded through Oregon’s Workers’ Compensation system. We leverage this investment to secure highly competitive federal grants that bring in more than twice the dollars provided by the Oregon base funding and thus substantially magnify our impact on Oregon and its workforce. While our research receives national and international acclaim, our mission and goal are to create safe, healthy workplaces right here in Oregon. Our advisory board, under the leadership of OHSU’s Vice President for Research, ensures stakeholders’ input to the direction of the Institue and the use of its state funds. 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Institute

We endeavor to provide a space to learn from each other and apply our growing knowledge of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to inform our research and professional practice to improve our research environments. Additionally, the Institute adheres to OHSU’s policies and definitions of diversity, equity, and inclusion