The intervention-research aspects of the AFF Program’s goals align well with high-priority research subjects identified in the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), including control technology and personal protective equipment and intervention effectiveness in the category of research tools and approaches. The research goals are general and do not include specific measurable objectives or stated strategies for accomplishing the goals. NIOSH relies largely on NORA and the peer-review process to ensure the relevance of funded intramural and extramural projects. However, the process lacks formal mechanisms for coordinating research efforts in a scientific community that includes NIOSH scientists and engineers and extramural investigators in the NIOSH Centers for Agricultural Disease and Injury Research, Education, and Prevention (Ag Centers) and other research institutions and centers. The current NORA-2 process for establishing the goals and objectives of the AFF Program needs to ensure relevance. The current strategic goals of the AFF sector defined under NORA-2 are in development. In addition, the process through which the NORA sector councils are being developed needs to ensure that emerging problems are identified through interaction and communication with stakeholders. It seems likely that the establishment of an AFF sector in NORA will ensure that the research programs align with priorities established through the NORA-2 development process.
Information received from the NIOSH AFF Program (NIOSH, 2006a) related to inputs, activities, outputs, intermediate outcomes, and end outcomes in intervention research is summarized in the intervention research logic submodel (Figure 7-1).
Funding for intervention research has been provided through cooperative agreements, extramural grants, and internal funding of specific projects.
The major subprograms related to intervention research are listed in Table 7-1 with approximate dates and funding levels. The Ag Centers are listed as a whole, because detailed project information was not available by individual center. The activities are consistent with intervention research, which is an element of several AFF Program goals, including those related to high-priority populations, chemical exposure, hazard control, and outreach.