Noted Sylvester Public Health Researcher to Chair NIOSH Study Section

Alberto J. Caban-Martinez, D.O., Ph.D., MPH, a principal investigator in firefighter safety initiatives launched by the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has been named chair of the Safety and Occupational Health Study Section of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Alberto Caban-Martinez, D.O., Ph.D., MPH, and his construction research team and medical/public health students collecting musculoskeletal disorders data from a South Florida construction jobsite.

“It is a huge honor for me to represent the University of Miami in this study section, which reviews and prioritizes proposals that will have a positive impact on future occupational health and safety research,” said Dr. Caban-Martinez, assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences’ Division of Environment & Public Health.

Noting that peer review of research grants is the cornerstone of the nation’s research enterprise, Dr. Caban-Martinez said NIOSH’s Safety and Occupational Health Study Section provides peer review of grant applications, provides advice, and makes recommendations on national scientific, research, and training areas related to occupational safety and health. The study section also reviews fellowships and training grant proposals related to the cause, prevention, and control of diseases and injuries in the workplace.

“This appointment shows how well Dr. Caban-Martinez is recognized and respected in the field of occupational health and safety,” said John C. Beier, Sc.D., professor and chief of the Division of Environment & Public Health.

Dr. Caban-Martinez first participated in the NIOSH study section in 2012 as an outside reviewer while a junior investigator at the Harvard School of Public Health. He continued to provide ad hoc reviewer service after joining the Miller School in 2014. The following year, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services appointed him to a four-year term on the study section ending in June 2019. At 38, Dr. Caban-Martinez is the youngest appointed chair of the study section.

“Since his faculty appointment to the Miller School of Medicine just four years ago, Dr. Caban-Martinez has quickly established himself as a leader in the field of occupational medicine at the local, state, and international level,” said David J. Lee, Ph.D., professor and director of graduate programs in the Department of Public Health Science and project director of the Florida Cancer Data System. “His appointment as chair of the NIOSH study section is an impressive endorsement of his scientific and leadership acumen.”

Dr. Caban-Martinez’s firefighter safety research is funded by the state of Florida and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He has also conducted extensive research into injuries and musculoskeletal disorders among construction workers.

“We are looking for ways to develop evidence-based interventions that protect and promote the health of workers,” Dr. Caban-Martinez said.