Contact UsEric Wood, MD, MPH
Director of Occupational
Residency Program Coordinator
An electrician who fell off a ladder and shattered his ankle at a jobsite. An assembly line worker who’s developed De Quervain tenosynovitis so severe that it’s limiting her ability to hold a spoon or button a jacket. A warehouse worker who can no longer walk up stairs without becoming severely short of breath.
Each year, more than 2.7 million Americans experience workplace injuries or illnesses, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an occurrence that comes with devastating repercussions, including the human toll on injured workers and their families and a nationwide economic burden that is in line with that of heart disease and cancer.
Physicians in occupational and environmental medicine (OEM) — a specialty within preventive medicine concerned with the health, safety, and performance of workers and their families and communities — have critical roles in limiting the impacts that stems from occupational injuries and illnesses. OEM physicians become intimately familiar with job requirements of myriad occupations. This knowledge is a key factor in distinguishing OEM providers from other specialists. Additionally, RMCOEH trainees learn to identify the highest quality evidence-based practice guidelines and practice applying them to maximize recovery in the most time- and cost-efficient manner, enabling workers to more quickly return to life and productive employment.
The practice of OEM professionals is far beyond high-quality clinical injury care, with OEM physicians assuming other roles such as organizational management of corporate occupational health and safety programs, policy development, work in public health settings, or even impacting community health domestically and internationally. There was no more important medical discipline in medicine in managing the corporate response to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, than occupational and environmental medicine.
The Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health boasts one of the largest Occupational Medicine Residency programs in the country, and we take pride in offering doctors a path to a satisfying career in which they improve the lives of workers.
Our two-year residency through the University of Utah School of Medicine is rigorous and engaging, with unparalleled opportunities for physicians. Elements that define our program include state-of-the-art courses specific to occupational and environmental health, exceptional clinical experiences, diverse rotations in corporate and governmental settings, and the chance to perform research with major clinical impacts.
We’re particularly proud that, in a 2022 survey of physicians who’ve completed our program, 100% indicated they were pleased with their time at RMCOEH (70.6% “very satisfied,” 29.4% “satisfied”). And, we continue our unending commitment to ensuring residents leave with both world-class training and memorable educational experiences.
“RMCOEH offers experiences that are not offered at any other training program,” one former resident said in the anonymous survey. “I was able to rotate with toxicologists, corporate OM directors, (government) organizations and highly trained/knowledgeable physician specialists all associated with the RMCOEH program. I have absolutely no doubt that I received the best occupational medicine physician training in the United States.”
What Our Training Involves
RMCOEH’s Occupational Medicine Residency takes two years to complete and consists of two phases, with the clinical experiences integrated over the residency:
MOH (OM Emphasis) degree requirements
Practicum phase (See rotations Below)
- At least eight weeks at corporate sites (institutions that provide comprehensive occupational health services to defined work groups)
- At least six weeks at population-based occupational and/or environmental sites, such as OSHA, the Utah Labor Commission, NIOSH, or public health departments
- At least 12 weeks in occupational medicine community clinics with patient continuity experiences
- Additional specialty rotations, such as Utah Miners Clinic, pulmonary, orthopedics, or dermatology (selected based on a resident's prior training and experience)
- Completion of a research project
Throughout the program, residents will also participate in the RMCOEH Journal Club, occupational medicine grand rounds, clinical case conferences, Richards lectureships, and regularly scheduled teaching sessions, as well as providing community education on asbestos and other topics and participating in field data collection for major ongoing research projects at RMCOEH.
Occupational medicine physicians are in high demand throughout the U.S., and doctors from our residency are heavily recruited, with most, if not all, employed immediately after completing the program. The median salary is highly variable based on workplace, level of responsibility and geographic location. Starting salaries are generally $200-300,000+. Clinical and managerial positions have higher base salaries. Corporate positions provide additional remunerative sources.
The rewarding nature of the career is remarkable. Occupational medicine is ranked among the highest medical specialties in physician job satisfaction and has the lowest measured burnout rate. Doctors who’ve come through our program can attest to that: all respondents remained employed in occupational medicine. Our alumni work across the entire spectrum of occupational medicine including leadership roles in clinical occupational medicine and corporate occupational medicine as well as careers in academia and governmental agencies.
- Visit the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) for additional information about occupational and environmental medicine
University of Utah Occupational Medicine Clinics
Redwood Health Center and South Jordan Health Center
This is a core occupational medicine clinical rotation for our residents. Residents work directly with our expert faculty for approximately two to four weeks in the OEM-1 year, 12 weeks in the OEM-2 year, and as an ongoing continuity clinical experience. The clinics provide acute, subacute, and chronic care for patients with occupational injuries and illnesses. The clinics also serve various businesses and government organizations in the region, with services including fitness-for-duty evaluations, pre-placement evaluations, commercial driver medical evaluations, hazardous chemical medical evaluations, asbestos evaluations, and a wide range of other specialty consultative evaluations regarding potential occupational and environmental exposures.
Residents may also be directly involved in field investigations and inspections of site facilities to develop an understanding of program development and administration within the context of a community-based occupational medicine clinic. Residents gain increasing levels of responsibility through their training and develop core competencies in state-of-the-art practice of primary, secondary, and tertiary occupational medicine.
Chevron - Houston, Texas
This rotation includes experience in the development, management, and evaluation of comprehensive occupational and environmental health programs within a multinational corporation with global activities and one of the world's largest energy companies. Residents learn the medical basis of fitness to work issues and evaluate industry employees for fitness to work within specific industrial settings and occupational demands. They also learn multinational and multicultural aspects of occupational medicine practice, and develop expertise in travel health consultation and medical orientations for expatriate employees and their families and corporate business travelers.
Hill Air Force Base - Layton, Utah
This site provides residents with experience at an occupational and environmental health clinic within a major military base. This clinic provides comprehensive services to approximately 20,000 civilian and military employees involved in a huge variety of activities related to military aircraft maintenance and overhaul. These activities include numerous “shops,” each analogous to a manufacturing plant with unique exposures. The resident works with occupational medicine, safety, industrial hygiene, environmental health, and management personnel.
NASA - Kennedy Space Center, Florida
This preceptorship provides residents with experience providing comprehensive health and safety support at a large government aerospace facility. Residents learn the unique health and safety problems and programs present in a major aerospace manufacturing operation. They participate in job task analysis, evaluate work relatedness of reported illnesses and injuries, review medical surveillance and screening programs, and gain experience in administrative and management aspects of health care programs.
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard - Bremerton, Washington
The Puget Sound Naval Shipyard services many different types of naval ships and submarines. Residents at this site learn the occupational hazards associated with shipbuilding and a variety of industrial processes and work practices, including work in machine and paint shops, work with radiation sources, and work in confined spaces. The occupational health providers at this site conduct extensive hazardous materials medical surveillance programs for military and civilian workers. In addition, residents learn the intricacies associated with fitness for duty determinations. Residents work with a health and safety team that includes industrial hygienists, an occupational health nurse, safety specialists, and occupational medicine practitioners.
Toxicology and Occupational Diseases - Albuquerque, New Mexico
This rotation includes visits to several sites in the Albuquerque area, including Intel, Honeywell Defense Avionics, and Ethicon (a Johnson & Johnson company). Residents work with a board-certified toxicologist who provides workplace medical services, evaluation, and consultation.
WCF Insurance, Salt Lake City, Utah
This preceptorship is highly diverse with a schedule developed and tailored to upcoming events and a resident's interests. This rotation facilitates a comprehensive understanding of the entire workers compensation system at the largest insurer in the state of Utah (~65% of the insured market). Activities include: working with the Medical Director reviewing claims; site visits and analyses of exposures with industrial hygienists, ergonomists, safety specialists; understanding claims processing from an examiner’s viewpoint to facilitate the payment of reports upon graduation from residency; attending select educational seminars of interest; working with specialists regarding injury reporting; fraud investigation; vocational rehabilitation activities; medical case management; and meetings with claims adjusters. Additional opportunities include research investigations, depositions, and workers compensation hearings to understand these matters from the standpoint of an insurer. Residents also have the opportunity to learn about utilization review and the application of evidence-based guidelines to help determine optimal medical management for injured or ill workers.
Utah Department of Environmental Quality - Salt Lake City, Utah
This preceptorship provides an experience in investigating environmental health concerns, participating in regulatory development and implementation processes, and interacting with state and local legislators.
Utah Labor Commission - Salt Lake City, Utah
During this rotation, residents gain experience with the workers compensation system from the standpoint of evaluations and applications, claims adjustments, emergency response teams, industrial hygiene and safety field site investigations of regional businesses, consultation with industrial hygienists and safety professionals, and the management and operation of Utah OSHA programs.
Utah Department of Health - Salt Lake City, Utah
This preceptorship provides experience in occupational health legislative and administrative activities as well as opportunities to participate in investigations of occupational and environmental health problems.
Veterans Affairs Administration - Salt Lake City, Utah
Residents gain experience in administrative and management aspects of health care programs at the Veterans Affairs Hospital, including the following: defining hospital and agency goals, priorities, and structure; planning, designing, and implementing programs to meet new occupational and environmental and other health requirements while supporting organizational goals; preparing and advocating budgets; establishing occupational environmental health and safety staffing requirements; complying with legal and regulatory occupational and environmental health and safety requirements; using formal and informal communication channels, including participation in appropriate management meetings; and interacting with the media.
National Institutes for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) - Cincinnati, Ohio; Anchorage, Alaska
Participating residents gain knowledge about the organizational structure of NIOSH and how NIOSH responds to requests for assistance from regulatory agencies such as OSHA and the EPA. They learn how to conduct an epidemiological investigation of health-related complaints of workers and participate in one or more worksite evaluations and accomplish a public health project during the rotation period.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) - Atlanta, Georgia
Residents gain experience working with a federal agency (part of the Centers for Disease Control) that serves the public by responding to public health toxicological exposure concerns and providing health information to prevent harmful exposures and diseases related to toxic substances. Residents learn the toxicological profiling activities, organization, and work practices of the agency.
U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) - Washington, D.C.
This site provides experience at a national occupational health regulatory agency. Residents gain experience in regulatory, enforcement, and consultative services of OSHA. Residents assist in research and report writing for cases or questions that are submitted to the Office of Occupational Medicine in the U.S. Department of Labor.
Civil Aerospace Medical Institute - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Residents gain experience in the preventive, occupational, environmental, human factors, and regulatory aspects of civil aviation medicine. Residents gain understanding and experience in the aeromedical certification process. They learn commercial aviation industry medical surveillance program requirements and develop skills necessary to interpret surveillance data. Residents develop an approach to investigate occupational health questions or problems within the aviation environment and gain familiarity with aviation-specific health hazards.
Common Clinical Rotations in Utah at the University of Utah and the Salt Lake Veterans Affairs Medical Center
- Emergency medicine
- Physical medicine and rehabilitation
- Physical therapy
- Sports medicine
- WorkMed (Intermountain Healthcare), Salt Lake, Layton, and Orem (Utah)
Letter to Prospective Residents
Thank you for your interest in the University of Utah Occupational Medicine Residency program. The rapidly expanding scope of occupational medicine and increasing demand for graduates of residency programs make the field a particularly attractive one. Our residency is part of the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (RMCOEH), which is jointly operated by the University of Utah and Weber State University.
The Rocky Mountain Center was established in 1977 and has maintained an occupational medicine residency program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) since 1978. The residency is a two-year program with the first year OEM-1 (formerly PGY-2) focused on academic coursework and applicable clinical rotations and the second year OEM-2 (formerly PGY-3) focused on a combination of academic, clinical, practical (field), and research experiences. All residents are required to obtain a license to practice medicine in the state of Utah.
The OEM-1 year includes coursework leading to a Master of Occupational Health (MOH) degree. The MOH core courses include Introduction to Industrial and Environmental Toxicology and Physiology, Introduction to Occupational Epidemiology, Applied Occupational Biostatistics, and Administration and Management of Health and Safety Programs. Residents are also required to take courses in industrial hygiene, ergonomics, occupational safety and health, preventive medicine, and occupational injuries and diseases. The MOH degree requires 32 semester hours of academic credit completed over two semesters. Application to the graduate school for the MOH degree should be submitted along with application to the residency program.
During the OEM-2 year, at least 14 weeks of preceptorship are required at available industry and government locations to gain experience in comprehensive occupational health and safety programs. Current sites include locations such as Chevron (Houston, Texas), Hill Air Force Base (Ogden, Utah), NASA Kennedy Space Center (Florida), Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (Bremerton, Washington), OSHA (Washington, D.C.), National Institutes of Safety and Health (Alaska and Ohio), Workers Compensation Fund (Utah), and state labor and public health agencies. Residents are trained in the comprehensive management of workers with occupational injuries and diseases at the University of Utah Occupational Medicine Clinics. Rotations in other specialties are selected according to the resident’s prior training. It is rare for OM residents to have night or weekend calls.
RMCOEH’s faculty includes occupational medicine physicians, certified industrial hygienists, specialists in safety/ergonomics, epidemiologists, nutritionists, and physical therapists. Faculty members of the University of Utah’s Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and other departments provide training in other specialty areas. The Occupational Medicine Residency program participates in the voluntary program established by directors of occupational medicine residencies to encourage uniform dates for applications and notification about acceptance to residency programs.
Please submit your application and attachments as soon as possible. We make offers for positions beginning on the date agreed to by the national OM Residency program Directors for the following year. RMCOEH seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services, and activities for people with disabilities. Reasonable prior notice is needed to arrange accommodations.
To review the ACGME specialty requirements for residency training in occupational medicine, visit ACGME, and to review the current board certification requirements visit the American Board of Prevention Medicine.
Please feel free to call us at any time at 801-581-4800 if you need any additional information. We appreciate your interest in our residency training program.
Eric Wood, MD, MPH
Director, Occupational Medicine Residency