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Table 5 Interview Respondents’ Recommendations for Improving Funding Mechanisms for Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) and Workplace Health Promotion (WHP)

From: Workplace health promotion and safety in state and territorial health departments in the United States: a national mixed-methods study of activity, capacity, and growth opportunities

Recommendation Barrier addressed
Reduce the number of requirements associated with the NIOSH State Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Surveillance Program applications. SHD leadership viewed application requirements as too time-consuming, prohibiting submission: “…there are letters of support required. Well, because this is a brand new program and there’s such a long wait time on applying for it…our management is unwilling for me to go out and try and start. It wants you to actually start having a committee…and they don’t want us to do that…” (OSH7)
Revise the NIOSH State OHS Surveillance Program application to focus on public health practice rather than research. Funding surveillance through a research grant created administrative burden and limited the OSH practice activities SHDs could engage in: “…the way the funding occurs is…it’s actually a research grant…And the fact that it’s a research grant significantly limits our ability to conduct certain activities…we have to consider ‘is this research activities, does it need to be approved by IRB?’ and the fact that it’s research typically says we’re trying to make generalizations about other populations, when a state-based health program should be aimed at trying to improve the population in our state” (OSH6)
Give states greater flexibility in how grant funds are used. Flexibility would give SHDs increased ability to respond to emerging priorities: “Right now our staff almost entirely, each one, is tied to a specific funding source that dictates what they’re able to work on and that really doesn’t leave us with staffing that we can decide what they should work on” (OSH4)
Provide more resources within grants for administrative and grant management personnel. This will give SHDs the grant management infrastructure that allows them to expand programming: “So we’ve turned down at least 2 or 3 funding opportunities because we didn’t have the bandwidth to add the bureaucratic levels to deal with that and manage that funding. So, I think that building into funding opportunities ways to reach that would be really useful” (WHP2)
Provide greater stability in funding sources from year to year. Stable funding would ensure that fluctuations in funding wouldn’t undo the SHD’s capacity to expand or continue WHP activities that were previously supported: “It’s hard when funding comes and goes, you know? It’s just like the latest greatest this year, but then next year it’s taken away. And so efforts come and efforts go, which I think is really sad” (WHP5)