What is Occupational and Environmental Medicine?
Occupational and environmental medicine (OEM) is the prevention and management of occupational and environmental injury, illness and disability and the promotion of health and productivity for workers, their families and communities.
OEM includes individual patient care and population health management, and it's generally considered to be a preventive medicine subspecialty within public health.
Training in OEM prepares physicians to obtain certification by the American Board of Preventive Medicine.
Careers in OEM are intellectually challenging and provide physicians with an opportunity to have a major impact through disease prevention in populations. As a specialty, OEM physicians report the highest satisfaction with work-life balance and are least likely to experience burnout (Shanafelt et al. Arch Intern Med 2012).
Specialists become leaders in a wide range of settings including academia, corporate, hospital-based clinics, private clinics, government and military. Many OEM specialists also boast of a good quality of life regular hours with excellent compensation.
Some examples of OEM-related issues include:
- Physical, chemical, biological, psychological, safety and
- Ergonomic hazards
- Asbestos contaminated vermiculite in Libby, Montana
- Hexavalent chromium in water (Erin Brockovich)
- Popcorn workers' lung
- Worksite health promotion programs