Pilot project funding


Grants for research on worker health and safety

We are no longer accepting applications for 2020-21. Submitted applications are under review and awards will be announced in late September 2020. 


The Professional Training Opportunities Program (PTOP) through the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety offers small grants for research projects and activities that address worker health or safety.

Applicants are welcome from any discipline or field of study, including students earning associate’s degrees as well as undergraduate, graduate or post-doctorate degrees. Applications are also welcome from nonprofit staff and employees at organizations interested in developing expertise in occupational health and safety.

Grants of no more than $10,000 (including direct and indirect costs) will be made to support:

(1) A research project or demonstration.

(2) An internship or other learning experience.

(3) An activity or program.

All proposals must address health and/or safety issues in the workplace or for working populations.


2019-2020 Projects

Fatigue Reduction Training for Night Shift Nurses
Kootenai Health
Awardee: Sandra Albritton
Mentor: Dr. Marian Wilson 

The project aims to train nurses, who regularly work in a night shift workforce setting, on techniques for measuring and reducing fatigue. The project will build on research that has been jointly conducted by the applicant and mentor. The application of knowledge and research from other industries can be used to create a best practice environment for nurses to use allotted break times to maximize safety on the job.

Assessing Worker Satisfaction with PFDs in the Bristol Bay Salmon Gillnet Fishery
Alaska Marine Safety Education Association
Awardee: Heather Brandon
Mentor: Jerry Dzugan

This project will distribute a survey to 71 Bristol Bay gillnet salmon fishermen who were provided with two novel, wearable types of Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) to utilize during the 2019 fishery season. The survey will ask whether the PFDs were worn during work and what factors contributed to that decision as a step to determine successful elements of a potential larger program in the future. 

Vocational Health Internships at Iḷisaġvik College
Iḷisaġvik College
Awardee: Caitlin Walls
Mentor: Emily Gueco

Iḷisaġvik College proposes to expand its vocational student internships in health and safety via this project, supporting 2-3 interns in health and safety fields.

Examining Psychological Health Among Oregon Migrant & Seasonal Farm Workers
Portland State University
Awardee: Megan Snoeyink
Mentor: Dr. Larry Martinez

The proposed research aims to identify the work and health outcomes among migrant and seasonal farmworkers (MSFW). Semi-structured interviews will be conducted in collaboration with a local community partner to determine mental health outcomes resulting from working in a dangerous occupation. Results are expected to benefit the target population and a local organization, and inform future research efforts.

Policy Analysis of Worker Health and Safety: Best Practices for Public Sector Employees Exposed to Wildfire Smoke During Work
University of Washington
Awardee: Alexa Yadama
Mentor: Dr. Tania Busch Isaksen

The goal of this study is to collect and analyze existing public sector policies for outdoor work conducted during wildfire smoke events; conduct key informant interviews to inform gaps in existing policies at the local and state level; and develop a policy template for municipalities to use to protect outdoor public sector workers during wildfire smoke and poor air quality events.

2018-2019 Projects

Characterizing and Communicating Lessons Learned from Agricultural Pesticide Misuse Investigations in Idaho
Boise State University
Student: Rachel Phinney
Mentor: Dr. Cynthia Curl

Assessment of Whole-Body Vibration and Work-Related Injury Burden Within a Public Works Department
Oregon State University
Student: Stephanie Fitch
Mentor: Dr. Jay Kim

Rural Alaska Native Utility and Construction Worker Injury Prevention Project
Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
Student: Chris Fish
Mentor: Dr. Noah Seixas

Rethinking Rural: Seed. Root. Work
Rural American Digital Lab (RADLab)
Student: Aurora Martin
Mentor: Nancy Simcox, MS

Check out the video developed for this project: Seek. Root. Work

Strategies for Addressing Occupational Health Hazards at the Workplace for Formerly Incarcerated Workers
FIGHT (Formerly Incarcerated Group Health Together)
Student: Jamie Wong
Mentor: Dr. Bill Daniell