The mission of the University of Kentucky Occupational and Environmental Medicine (OEM) Residency Program is to graduate residents who possess the knowledge base, and clinical and collaborative skills to promote and safeguard worker health and safety and who are proponents of well-being, productivity, economic development, diversity, and inclusion for all in the workplace.

Aims of the training program are:

  • To provide residents with the requisite skills and fund of knowledge required to be well-rounded practitioners of the specialty who can effectively practice in a variety of clinical occupational medicine settings.
  • To equip residents with the knowledge, scholarship and skills necessary to conduct research and fulfill academic roles in the field.
  • To prepare residents to sit for and pass the American Board of Preventive Medicine’s certification examination in Occupational Medicine.
  • To equip residents with the skills and attitudes to be effective and respectful member-leaders of the multidisciplinary workplace team of occupational health professionals whose common focus is worker health and safety.

Dating to 1983 the OEM residency program at UK is a fully institutionally funded, and ACGME accredited two-year residency program that provides residents with the qualifications to sit for Board Certification in Occupational and Environmental Medicine through the American Board of Preventive Medicine.

An OEM resident at UK can expect a wide range of quality instructional courses, thoughtful design of educational plans for each resident, and rotations designed to give hands on experience in the specialty. As part of the residency curriculum, our graduates will earn a Master of Public Health degree from the UK College of Public Health. The UK College of Public Health is a fully-accredited school of public health and an active participant in the Association of Schools of Public Health.  Funding for the graduate coursework in this program is provided by the UK College of Public Health.  In addition, residents receive benefits and salary at the PGY2 and PGY3 level from University of Kentucky Graduate Medical Education.  In July 2019, the residency program gained additional funding support through its inclusion in the NIOSH-supported Central Appalachian Region Education and Research Center grant. Residents selected for inclusion in the CARERC program will receive extra funding for travel and conferences and participate in interdisciplinary activities with the other core grant sections.

To be considered for a resident position, applicants must have completed at least one year of ACGME accredited clinical training (PGY1 internship) and have completed and passed USMLE Step III to be eligible to apply for this program. Given the critical nature of a strong clinical background, accepted residents have, almost without exception, had additional clinical training and/or “hands on” experience in occupational medicine or a primary care specialty prior to being accepted into the program. The residency accepts a maximum of 2 residents each year.

Program Structure

The academic, clinical and practicum activities of the OEM residency are combined over the two year (PGY2 & PGY3) program.

The academic components of the residency program are:

  • Coursework leading to the MPH degree as well as the additional ACGME-required classes for occupational medicine residents
  • Capstone research project (required for MPH)
  • Weekly didactic curriculum to expose the resident to real-world applications of occupational and preventive medicine
  • Monthly journal clubs to critically analyze current research done in the areas of preventive and occupational medicine
  • Monthly MMWR and Toxicology Case presentations by residents
  • Inter-professional conferences/didactic opportunities at University of Kentucky
  • Annual professional conferences – local, state and national, e.g. ACOEM, KOEMA

The clinical component of the residency allows residents the opportunity to obtain core and special competencies in a variety of practice settings that represent a spectrum of occupational health concerns and issues. This experience includes required rotations:

  • Toyota Motor and Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK)
  • UK HealthCare at Turfland, Occupational Health and Travel Medicine Clinic
  • Local general occupational medicine clinics, e.g. Baptist Health Occupational Medicine, Concentra Occupational & Urgent Care Clinics
  • University of Kentucky Employee Health Service
  • Lexington Fayette County Public Health Department
  • Kentucky Department of Public Health
  • Specialty clinic rotations: dermatology, pulmonology, radiology, sports medicine/orthopedics

Other established rotation opportunities exist in:

  • Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC)
  • UK neurology
  • NIOSH – Health Hazard Evaluation
  • Lexington VA Medical Center – Emergency Department

Residents routinely have time within their schedule for elective/selective rotations. In addition to spending time in the established rotations, there is a possibility for residents, with the approval and assistance of the residency director, to identify and help develop new rotation experiences.

The practicum requirement for the Master of Public Health Degree can usually met by residents through opportunities and activities in which they engage while at the public health departments. (Residents are encouraged to add the practicum to their course schedule at initial registration for classes.)

Master of Public Health

Resident coursework is completed at the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health which is a fully accredited school of public health and an active participant in the Association of Schools of Public Health. Funding for the graduate coursework for OEM residents in this program is provided by the University of Kentucky. As graduate students, residents in OEM will concentrate in the area of Environmental Health. The curriculum consists of core courses for the MPH degree as well as coursework to satisfy board guidelines and provide solid grounding in the specialty.

The MPH degree requires a minimum of 42 credit hours. All students must complete the Council on Education for Public Health required MPH core course work. These MPH core courses provide a broad overview of the disciplines of public health and the basic principles of public health practice. Occupational medicine residents must also take additional ACGME mandated courses to be eligible for board certification. Three hours of field practicum experience and a capstone project are required. The culminating experience, the research-based capstone project, requires a formal written product and a final examination presentation.

Required ACGME Core Courses include:

  • Epidemiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Occupational/Environmental Health I
  • Management of Public Health Organizations
  • Behavioral Aspects of Health

Required ACGME Courses for OEM Residents include:

  • Occupational/Environmental Health II
  • Toxic Agents and Public Health
  • Occupational Epidemiology
  • Risk Hazard Control and Communication
  • Industrial Hygiene, Safety & Ergonomics

Clinical Rotations

Residents participate in clinical rotations to being enrolled as full time students in the MPH program at University of Kentucky. Rotations are designed to provide a broad and deep range of experience to prepare the resident for independent practice and to satisfy competencies required by the ACGME. Most rotations are in two month blocks, however, there are some one month long and two week long rotations.

Required rotations:

Toyota Motors and Manufacturing Kentucky (4 months)

Teaching for this educational assignment is in a very active on site industrial clinic. Residents see and manage a variety of injuries, e.g. wide array of musculoskeletal, eye, trauma; and illnesses both job-related and personal, e.g. dizziness, chest pain, syncope, allergic reactions, asthma, dermatitis. Residents rotate through the onsite PT/OT/work hardening area when return to work and fitness for duty are issues. They participate in daily “morning meetings”, where employee cases are presented to a group of work comp/safety engineer/group leaders from each department. Opportunities exist for Job Hazard Assessments with a designated TMMK team of health and safety personnel. There are also opportunities for attendance of lectures, exposure to onsite Wellness programs and the Primary Care Clinic.

University Health Services (4 months)

In their rotations through UHS, residents see a wide range of illnesses and injuries that occur in the 14,000+ faculty and staff population of the university and its hospital. There is opportunity to become familiar with various compliance programs in healthcare settings, e.g. TB monitoring, respirator protection, vaccine compliance, hearing conservation, animal handlers, etc.

Kentucky Department of Public Health (2 months)

The site is the State Health Department headquarters in Frankfort, KY. Rotations are based on availability of appropriate topics at the time of the rotation. Residents actively participate in all aspects of State occupational medicine. Supervision is by the Cabinet Department Director and physicians. During this rotation residents participate in the functioning of a state health department with a focus on public health services, management and administration, environmental risk assessment and regulation compliance. Under supervision, the resident will be responsible for duties in the following areas, based on availability and need during the rotation: work-site evaluations; occupational and environmental health program management and clinical care of workers. Skills knowledge and abilities gained by residents include communications, planning, management coordination and communicable disease control. Residents choose a project to work on while at the site which often is the foundation of their practicum requirement for the MPH degree.

Lexington Fayette County Public Health Department (2 months)

The resident participates actively in aspects of County Public Health Occupation and Environmental Medicine while rotating at LFCPHD. The site contact pre-arranges several hands-on experiences. These are based on requested competencies, including the only primary care County Public Health Clinic in the Commonwealth, TB and STD clinics. Field experiences such as inspections of restaurants, swimming pools, hotels, tattoo parlors and work site wellness programs.

UK Occupational Health and Travel Medicine Clinic at Turfland (4 months)

Residents participate in the major occupational medicine practice of the University of Kentucky at the Turfland Clinic. Supervision is by university attending physicians. Residents participate in Travel Clinic briefings, Walk-In Clinic, assist in consultative evaluations, help perform regulatory compliance physical evaluations, e.g. respiratory physicals, radiation worker physicals; learn about and aid in performing specialized exams, e.g. DOT, FAA; and assist in Medical Review Officer (MRO) Program for illicit drug screening. They participate in performing Independent Medical Examinations and develop a proficiency in this area of occupational medicine. There may be opportunities for residents to accompany faculty on occasion to company sites in the area for on-site medical consultation, Human Resource briefings, and assist in safety/medical compliance evaluations.

Concentra Occupational Medicine and Urgent Care Clinics (2 months)

Residents participate in a one month rotation in each of the two years of the training program. While rotating with Concentra, the largest provider of occupational medicine services in the US, residents gain broad-based and in-depth experience in the evaluation and management of a variety of occupational medicine patients and issues.  During the rotation, residents spend time at several Concentra Urgent Care and Occupational Medicine Clinics in the greater Lexington area.  Residents progress from supervised evaluation of patients to independent management and are exposed to a full range of occupational medicine services, e.g., respirator examinations, injury management, pre-employment and return-to-work physicals, drug testing, Worker’s Compensation management, and Department of Transportation examinations. During the initial rotation, residents have the opportunity to complete DOT training and certification through the program offered by Concentra.

Dermatology (2 weeks)

Residents have the unique opportunity to rotate and work with Dr. Joe Fowler and his colleagues at Forefront Dermatology located in Louisville, KY. Dr. Fowler is a nationally known dermatologist, recognized for his work in the field of rosacea, skin allergies and contact dermatitis. He is the author of over 160 scholarly publications and medical chapters and the co-author of "Fisher's Contact Dermatitis", one of the most used dermatology textbooks.

Baptist Health Medical Group Occupational Medicine (1 month)

This rotation gives residents training and experience in-depth view of the evaluation and management of Occupational Medicine clients in a clinical practice outside the university setting. Rotation activities include the management of workers’ compensation cases, Department of Transportation examinations, post-offer history and physical examinations for the purpose fitting prospective employees for duty, respirator examinations, and other traditional Occupational Medicine tasks. The resident will be exposed to the process of reviewing urine drug screen testing results and the adjudication of the results. The resident will train in the method of relating to employers while caring for their employee while not compromising the Doctor-Patient relationship. Time will be spent at several different Baptist Health Clinics during the course of the rotation including a clinic in Louisville. Another important part of the resident’s experience - that will be relevant to many in their practice - will be the exposure to mid- level practitioners.

UK Pulmonology (1/2 day/week during UHS rotations)

While rotating on University Health Services, residents can opt to spend a half day a week under the tutelage of pulmonary faculty learning how to read and interpret spirometry and pulmonary function testing. There will also be the opportunity to attend pulmonary clinic during this time.

UK Radiology (2 weeks)

Different options based on a resident’s interest exist for the rotation with UK Radiology. The resident can opt to have his/her 2 week experience in, for instance: the UK Emergency Room; the Musculoskeletal area; Interventional; or Neurology-focused radiology. Residents work with the attending only and discuss the studies, i.e. no dictation of reports. During their rotation block, there are weekly radiology lectures that all residents must attend which focus on learning how to do studies and read x-rays.

UK Sports Medicine / Orthopedics

Located at UK HealthCare at Turfland, this is a very busy practice that sees a range of sports injuries in athletes running the gamut from “weekend warriors” to UK’s NCAA premier student-athletes. This is a new rotation for OEM residents and is in new clinic space with a state of the art dedicated physical therapy facility onsite as well.

Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (Elective)

KIPRC is a partnership between the KY Department for Public Health and UK College of Public Health that combines academic investigation with practical public health initiatives.Through this elective rotation at KIPRC, residents have historically found an area in which to base their capstone project. A range of experiences are available through participation in this rotation.

Application Process

Check list for the application:

  • Electronic Residency Application Service
  • Dean’s letter from medical school
  • Medical school transcript
  • Evaluation/summation letter from the Program Director at the end of your preliminary year
  • Copy of Medical School Diploma
  • Copy of Residency Certificate
  • Certificate of completion of PG1 clinical year (and subsequent years, if applicable)
  • Copy of current licensure and DEA certificate, as applicable
  • Three letters of recommendation - at least one letter should be written by the Department Chairman and/or Residency Program Director
  • Copy of their current licensure and DEA certificate
  • Copy of USMLE, FLEX, or other nationally recognized assessment examination results

Inquiries should be directed to Deana Bellis, Residency Program Coordinator.

Deana Bellis
Residency Program Coordinator
Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health
College of Public Health
111 Washington Avenue, Suite 220
Lexington, KY 40536-0003
Phone: 859-218-2100
Fax: 859-257-9862