Part of Boston University Research Compliance, BU’s Research Occupational Health Program (ROHPResearch Occupational Health Program ROHP is part of the ...) is focused on the health, wellness, and safety of the University’s scientific research community.

ROHP promotes a culture of safety by working closely with Environmental Health and Safety, leadership at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDLNational Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories The NE...), and other research-related support services. It makes use of comprehensive best practices to perform medical surveillance, workplace risk assessments, biosafety and agent training, and clinical occupational health services led by board-certified occupational medicine and infectious disease physicians.

Population Served

ROHP serves BU and Boston Medical Center (BMC) laboratory researchers and those who support those research laboratories. Its client population includes faculty, staff, students, and sometimes visitors to:

  • NEIDL
  • Animal Science Center (ASCThe Animal Science Center manages and oversees animal-relate...)
  • BU or BMC research laboratories
  • Scientific SCUBA divers

ROHP is the primary occupational healthcare provider for these groups. Certain biological agents and other materials used in the labs for research may have distinct hazards or special occupational health requirements. Researchers and other staff who handle animals, biological agents, or viable samples from animals and humans should consult with ROHP before handling the animal or materials.

ROHP Services

  • Researcher pre-placement and fitness to work evaluations
  • Immunizations and screenings for researchers
  • Research work hazard identification
  • Animal allergy screening
  • Reproductive counseling
  • Training programs specific to laboratory and research hazards
  • Respirator medical screening, for those who need to wear a respirator
  • Liaison with Boston Public Health Commission and the MA Department of Health for any reportable exposures, injuries or illnesses
  • On-the-job injury/exposure care for researchers or incidents occurring in research laboratories or with animals:
    • Immediate first aid
    • Follow-up care for work-related injuries and illnesses
    • Coordination of care and referrals to specialists
    • Coordination of post-injury return to work

When to Go to ROHP vs. Someplace Else

ROHP:

  • Anyone working in the NEIDL, ASC, or in research laboratories should use ROHP as their occupational health provider for issues related to their work in the research environment.

BU Occupational Health Center (BUOHC) provides general occupational health services for all BU employees. BU employees who support research laboratories get most of their occupational health needs met at BUOHC. For example:

  • BU Facilities workers assigned to the NEIDL require pre-placement screening by ROHP before working in the NEIDL.
  • However, if a Facilities worker sustains an on-the-job injury outside of the NEIDL or other research laboratories, they should go to BUOHC.
  • BUOHC provides Department of Transportation (DOT) certification for BU employees who need it for their jobs. ROHP does not provide this service.

Student Health Services is the primary health care provider for BU students.

  • BU students assigned to work in research laboratories (for pay, or not) will need to be cleared by ROHP prior to working in a lab. Typically, ROHP will ask students to provide their immunization documentation from their Student Health Services (SHS) record.
  • BU students working in labs should contact ROHP for any injury or exposure that occurs in a research lab.
  • BU students should continue to use SHS for general health matters such as immunizations, routine allergies and colds, and behavioral health services.

BU Healthway manages all aspects of BU’s COVID-19 health program, including symptom screening, testing, medical evaluation of leaves of absence related to COVID-19 and contact tracing. ROHP does not determine leaves of absence or anything else related to COVID-19.

BMC Working Well:

  • While ROHP may screen BMC researchers for research hazards, BMC employees should see BMC Working Well for routine and non-laboratory related occupational health needs.
  • BMC researchers may go to either ROHP or BMC Working Well for laboratory injuries or exposures; they will need to at least touch base with BMC Working Well for workers’ comp and other administrative matters.

    Questions? Just reach out to ROHP and we will make sure you get to the right place:

    Agent Information Sheets

    Find detailed information about biological agents approved for use within the Boston University/Boston Medical Center research community that have the potential to cause laboratory acquired infection (LAI). While LAI is a rare event, the research community continues to take proactive measures to further mitigate risk to researchers, safety personnel, and medical providers.

    View Sheets

    Information to Assess and Avoid Risks in the Lab

    Get useful information on assessing individual risk and avoiding potential health problems, particularly those associated with exposure to laboratory animals including allergies, working with non-human primates, and microbiological agents.

    Learn more

    Forms & Questionnaires

    Many of the forms used as part of the ROHP medical surveillance program are available on this site in the Forms tab above. When completed, the form(s) should be sent to ROHP either by email or faxed to the ROHP secure electronic fax number, 617-977-8788.

    The ROHP medical staff will review your questionnaire(s) and contact you if additional information, testing, immunizations, or a clinic visit is required. ROHP staff will contact you directly to schedule an appointment for you to visit us at the ROHP clinic located on the Medical Campus: Evans Building, 72 E. Concord Street, 8th Floor, Room 825.

    Note about privacy: Many of the forms request personal health information, which is needed to establish a baseline medical history for those persons performing research or supporting research. To protect the privacy of your medical information, these questionnaires should be sent directly to ROHP and should not be shared with your supervisor, manager, colleagues, or HR representative. For more on the privacy of your health information at ROHP, please see our Privacy Policy.

    Additional External Resources

    ROHP practices are informed by a variety of expert resources external to BU. Below is a selection of resources that lab workers will find useful.