Christopher J. Drucker, PhD, MS, BS, NREMT
Project/Program Manager III
Division of Emergency Medical Services
Seattle and King County Public Health
What was your educational and relevant work experience prior to enrolling in the OIPRT program?
Prior to enrolling in the OIPRT program, I completed undergraduate (BS) and graduate (MS) degrees in Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, concentrating in the field of Human Factors/ Ergonomics (HF/E). As a NIOSH trainee, my studies focused on work-related adverse health outcomes stemming from the HF/E domain. After completion of my studies at the University at Buffalo, I enrolled in the OIPRT program at the University of Minnesota. At the time of my enrollment, my relevant work experience included analyzing industrial workspaces for Greatbatch (implantable medical device company) for known HF/E issues.
What made you interested in the field of occupational injury prevention?
I was always interested in the science, math and medical fields growing up. Somehow, I wanted to mix all three interests together and it wasn’t until my years as an undergraduate student that I discovered the field of HF/E. In a nutshell, HF/E is the science of understanding the interaction between humans and machines. Utilizing principles in science and math, and then adapting them to the human body to understand how the human operates biomechanically, physiologically, and psychologically allows me to satisfy all three fields at once. My interests further evolved into the field of occupational injury prevention after I spent some time conducting HF/E-based research on workstations. It was intriguing to know my research would be used directly to help the workers by reducing the risk for injury.
What made you choose the University of Minnesota?
Choosing this university was not that hard of a decision. The University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health is one of the top schools in the nation. It also has exactly what I was looking for � a research-oriented Ph.D. program in occupational injury prevention that would allow me to integrate my HF/E background with public health practices and research.
What type of job would you like to find upon completion of the program? (or describe your current position)
Upon the completion of my doctoral degree at the University of Minnesota, I have obtained employment with the Texas Department of State Health Services’ Injury Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch as an injury epidemiologist. The State of Texas mandates all Emergency Medical System (EMS) runs and trauma-related hospital patient data be reported to the state’s EMS/Trauma Registry. As a subject matter expert on the Registry which collects national data elements (NTDB and NEMSIS), some of my activities include: cleaning and analyzing Registry data; producing state-wide and region-level reports; and consulting with stakeholders regarding Texas’ EMS response and trauma system. As the injury epidemiologist team lead, some of my activities include: coordinating the efforts of staff epidemiologist and ensuring that Federal, State, and other ad hoc reports are completed while assisting in the strategic planning of the Injury Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch to advance the program for the State of Texas.
What would you say to a student considering the program?
The program, from beginning to end, was very supportive of students with diverse backgrounds and had an objective in turning me into the best public health professional that I can be. The program desires success for all its students and as a result, it presents opportunities for success by way of research and funding opportunities, support for conference attendance and presentations, and networking opportunities. There are many factors that determine a candidate’s acceptance into the program but it should be known that if you are accepted, it is because they program believes in your success.