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University of California-Los Angeles

Superfund Research Program

Occupational and Environmental Exposures and Work Practices for Nanomaterials and Electronic Products

Project Leader: Su-Jung (Candace) Tsai
Grant Number: R25ES033043
Funding Period: 2021-2026
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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The proposed training program aims to provide professional training through academic curricula, research experiences, and continuing education courses in industrial hygiene and environmental health sciences to graduate students and industrial hygienists in the Southern California region, and to recruit diverse undergraduate and graduate students to join the graduate school pursuing master and doctoral studies in occupational and environmental health sciences related fields.

The Southern California Superfund Research Program (SCSRP) will build on the strong educational and research environments at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and the well-established UCLA Industrial Hygiene and Environmental Health and Sciences (EHS) programs to develop a modern and multidisciplinary training program for students and the community of industrial hygienists. Their mission is to prepare next-generation professionals for effective management of stressors caused by emerging technologies such as nanotechnology.

Their multidisciplinary team includes the highly diverse faculty members and student population at UCLA, UC Irvine (UCI) and California State University Fullerton (CSUF) and Long Beach (CSULB). Their faculty team has a proven track record in mentoring students with a combined total of more than 350 trained graduate and undergraduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Their team consists of industrial hygienists, environmental scientists, population health experts and community partners.

Training will focus on occupational exposures and effects, digital learning techniques, practices and protection guidance regarding engineered nanomaterials, emerging infectious agents, and nanotechnology- enabled products including consumer electronic products and their related waste to be managed at the generation and disposal stages. It is essential to provide proper training on the hazards of exposure to new materials used in emerging and rapidly changing technologies and their effective control strategies for workers, industrial hygienists, and the students, who will make up the future workforce.

Their program broadens the scope of current educational approaches with new and unique training regarding emerging technologies which are unavailable in other existing training programs ta the institutions. The team anticipates training 6, 7 and 8 graduate students in years 1, 2, and 3-5 respectively. This includes 2-3 nine-month trainees and 4-5 summer trainees per year. They will also recruit a diverse population of undergraduate students, with openings to 4-5 students per year with the 5-day training workshop. During the five-year program period, they anticipate providing 37 training positions for master and doctoral students; and for undergraduate students, providing them with 24 training opportunities in the 5- day workshop in the hopes of future recruitment into graduate school. They will also train more than 100 industrial hygiene professionals through the continuing education courses.

Upon completion of the program, participants will be well-trained industrial hygienists influential in the next generation workforce. These outcomes will aid the expansion of the existing educational programs in industrial hygiene and environmental health sciences.

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