Programs & Funding

The NIOSH Healthcare and Social Assistance Program has developed strategic goals to guide our research and partnership efforts over the next decade.

NIOSH previously used priority topic areas (e.g., traumatic injury, hearing loss) to guide research efforts. Goals take this approach a step further by identifying specific outcomes that NIOSH wants to target, performance measures for evaluating progress in meeting the outcome goals, and intermediate goals to describe the necessary steps that need to be performed to accomplish the goal. Setting goals is challenging for the following reasons:

  • It forces us to focus on a subgroup of issues where we think NIOSH can make an impact - a long list would spread our resources too thin to accomplish the goals. Not every worthwhile topic can be included.
  • It is difficult to develop performance measures. Available injury statistics have limitations, and exposure and health outcome measures are typically not available.
  • It is ambitious for NIOSH to set goals to achieve outcomes such as reductions in a national fatality rate. NIOSH is a research agency, so we don't often directly influence outcomes - we must partner well and influence other groups to show results.
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