Occupational Health Services (OHS)

Authors: Dr. Javier Valle, Medical Director, OHS & Cynthia Holbrook, Corporate Director, OHS

Occupational Health Services (OHS) is the medical branch of an occupational and environmental health partnership with the Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHSO) to ensure the health and safety of the Emory community. Both branches directly support the Office of Research Administration (ORA) in providing Emory research faculty and staff with clinical services in cases of workplace injuries or exposures to hazardous agents, guidance and training on mitigating workplace hazards, oversight and support in maintaining compliance with local, state, and federal regulations; as well as protection of our environment. OHS and EHSO actively participate in the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), and the Research Health and Safety Committee (RHSC) and provide expert advice on mitigating potential health and environmental hazards related to the safe conduct of research protocols where chemical and/or biologic agents are employed in animal and human studies.  

 As it relates to health and human safety, OHS maintains multiple surveillance systems to monitor, prevent, and manage physical injuries and illnesses caused by exposures to potentially hazardous agents among Emory University researchers and staff. Initial screening for potentially at-risk individuals is done through the Annual Health Questionnaire sent out electronically to Emory University research faculty and staff. Timely completion of the Annual Health Questionnaire allows OHS to identify individuals for inclusion in a specific surveillance panel, to assess the individual risk of injury or illness based on job role and worksite hazard, and to develop risk mitigation interventions. 

 For physical injuries and exposures to hazardous agents at the workplace, OHS is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers (nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and physicians board-certified in Public Health and General Preventive Medicine and Infectious Diseases), registered nurses, nurse case managers, medical assistants, physical therapists and administrative support personnel. In the event of a workplace injury or exposure, Emory University research faculty and staff can access OHS services by reporting their injury or exposure online through the Health and Occupational Management at Emory (HOME) system. They can also request an appointment at an OHS clinic to receive a medical evaluation and treatment. OHS also has an on-call healthcare provider if an injury or exposure occurs after normal business hours or during weekends and holidays.

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