Frequently Asked Questions

What is Occupational and Environmental Medicine?

Occupational and Environmental Medicine (OEM) is a subspecialty of the American Board of Preventive Medicine. OEM focuses on ways that workplace, home, or community environmental factors affect human health. Our field spans workplace safety; infectious disease hazards in the workplace or community; the toxic effects of chemicals (in the workplace, food, water, air, soil, or consumer products); effects of physical agents (such as noise or radiation) on health; chronic musculoskeletal stressors and ergonomic issues; workplace stress and other psychological issues; and even global environmental health issues (such as the effects of climate change on health). OEM is an exciting field because there are many opportunities for research and intervention to help improve the health of individuals and communities.

What does postgraduate training at the UW in Occupational and Environmental Medicine (OEM) offer?

Our ACGME-accredited program was established in 1977 and is one of the top OEM training programs in the country. We specialize in training physicians for leadership positions in academic research, teaching, public health, and policy positions, as well as providing training in clinical OEM. Our trainees build a foundation of knowledge in epidemiology, toxicology, biostatistics, risk assessment, and public health through participation in the master of public health (MPH) program in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences  at UW’s School of Public Health. Trainees then develop more in-depth expertise through industry and community site visits, research projects, complex clinical evaluations, and presentations. Board certification in Preventive Medicine – OEM opens up many career opportunities to physicians in academia, clinical settings, industry, consulting, and government.

What are the components of OEM training?

OEM training is a two-year program. The first year typically focuses on coursework toward a master’s in Public Health (MPH) from the UW’s Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences. The second year consists primarily of practicum experience at a variety of clinical, research, and public health sites. Physicians who already have an MPH degree still complete two years of training, but they only take a few MPH courses specific to occupational medicine and have more time for elective rotations and research. Additional components of the UW training program include an in-depth research project, site visits to workplaces and communities, case conferences, a current topics seminar, and other learning opportunities such as local and national professional meetings.

How many residents or fellows do you have in your program?

We are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for a maximum of six trainees across the two years of the program. However, in practice our ability to accommodate trainees is limited by available funding, and we typically have 3–5 trainees in our program at any time.

What are the prerequisites for your program?

Physicians who have undergone a minimum of one year of postgraduate training in an ACGME-approved program are eligible for consideration for our training program. We look for applicants with a demonstrated commitment to OEM through experience in clinical medicine, research, policy, or public health practice.

Can foreign medical graduates apply to the program?

Foreign graduates are welcome to apply to the program. However, all of our trainees must have a Washington medical license or training authorization, and foreign medical graduates are not eligible until they have completed 24 months of training in the US. In addition, all foreign medical graduates must have passed the USMLE examination and hold valid ECFMG certificates as well as either a valid J-1 visa or permanent US residency status or citizenship. If you meet the above criteria, we will consider your application. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide stipends or funding support trainees who are not US citizens or residents.

What financial support and benefits does the program offer?

OEM trainees who are US citizens or residents are eligible to receive a monthly stipend in accordance with UW Graduate Medical Education policies. Health insurance is provided for the trainee and eligible dependents. Find more information on support and benefits.

What is your calendar for applications and training?

We accept applications through ERAS September through October, depending on the date when ERAS opens, for the training program starting the following July 1. Learn more about applying.