Mission & History

RMCOEH students

Our Vision, Mission,
and Goals


Be the leading international center in meeting current and future occupational and environmental health and safety challenges.


Protect diverse workers and the environment through interdisciplinary education, research, and service.


  1. Advance superior OSH academic programs that include diverse and underrepresented trainees.
  2. Conduct meaningful OSH research for all affected and diverse populations.
  3. Provide exceptional and continuing education, service, and outreach that address Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity.
  4. Engineer OSH solutions.

The Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (RMCOEH) was established in 1977 to meet the need for comprehensive occupational and environmental safety and health programs in the West. We are one of 18 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-sponsored Education and Research Centers in the U.S., and one of only two in the Department of Health and Human Services’ Region 8, which includes Utah, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming. (Our reach also extends into Idaho and Nevada.)

Our passion is protecting workers and their environment, and we do so in three ways:

  • training the next generation of occupational safety and health professionals through state-of-the-art degree programs, as well as an occupational medicine residency. Our programs have produced more than 750 graduates, each equipped with the education and skills to make an immediate impact in their fields.
  • performing groundbreaking research that contributes key knowledge to many areas of study within occupational and environmental health and safety.
  • sharing our knowledge through an extensive Continuing Education program that has served more than 150,000 professionals and thousands of businesses, as well as outreach efforts such as lectures, presentations, site visits, and consultations.

While our purpose never changes, one hallmark of RMCOEH is that we are always evolving. That’s true not only with respect to our approach to education, but also to the center itself — including a major recent transition.

Utah lawmakers in 2021 passed legislation transforming us into a first-of-its-kind partnership between the University of Utah and Weber State University. It’s a big shift from our first 40-plus years, when we operated solely within the University of Utah, but the partnership marks an exciting new chapter for the center. It allows us to continue to expand, provides more resources to educate trainees, and ultimately, enables us to make an even bigger difference in the lives of workers throughout the West and beyond.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

RMCOEH has a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion that goes beyond the belief that everyone should benefit from equal opportunities. Achieving our ultimate ambition — the optimal reduction of occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities — requires a level of diversity among occupational and environmental health and safety professionals that mirrors the diversity in the industries where these kinds of incidents are common.

To that end, we strive to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion in each of our programs, including through active recruitment of underrepresented students and faculty and creating a welcoming environment where people of all colors and creeds thrive.

Our parent institutions are also devoted to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion. For more:

Legislative Support

RMCOEH has long benefited from strong bipartisan support in the Utah Legislature. Working with lawmakers of both parties who believe in our mission, we have helped spearhead more than a dozen laws over the last two decades aimed at making workers throughout the region safer and helping businesses thrive. 

The major legislation we have been involved in includes: 

  • 2005: S.B. 159 — Establishment of tax credit support for RMCOEH through workers compensation premium taxes (Sen. Eddie Mayne)
  • 2006: H.B. 9 — Workers compensation studies, including coverage of firefighters and drug officers (Rep. Joseph Murray)
  • 2007: S.B. 234 — Establishment of RMCOEH in Utah state statute, a first in U.S. (Sen. Eddie Mayne)
  • 2009: S.B. 15 — Establishment of Eddie Mayne funds for RMCOEH (Sen. Karen Mayne)
  • 2010: H.B. 221 — Reauthorization of tax credit support mechanism for 10 years (Rep. Kevin Garn)
  • 2015: S.B. 3 — Startup funding for bachelor of science in occupational safety and health program (Sen. Lyle Hillyard)
  • 2017: H.B. 175 — Supports training, health care provider reimbursement for opioid screenings (Rep. Steve Eliason)
  • 2018: S.B. 14 — Renewal of Eddie Mayne Funds established in 2009 and removal of sunsetting (Sen. Karen Mayne) 
  • 2020: S.B. 11 — Reauthorization of tax credit support mechanism for 10 years (Sen. Curtis Bramble)
  • 2020: H.B. 3007 — COVID-19 support for first responders (Rep. Francis Gibson)
  • 2021: S.B. 172 — Establishment of RMCOEH as state’s first multi-university program partnership, between Weber State University and the University of Utah (Sen. Karen Mayne)
  • 2022: H.B. 3 — Provides $2 million in ongoing funding for RMCOEH Weber State-University of Utah partnership (Rep. Bradley Last)


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