Postgraduate Diploma in Industrial Health (DIH)
About this course
The Diploma in Industrial Health course has been taught at the University of Otago since the 1960s and has been available in this distance learning format since 1999. The course is designed for both general practitioners who have an interest in occupational medicine and those who want to follow the specialist career path.
The objective of the course is to build on your existing clinical skills. As Ramazzini said in the 18th century "When a doctor visits a working class home he should be content to sit on a three legged stool, if there isn't a gilded chair, and he should take time for his examination; and to the questions recommended by Hippocrates he should add one more - what is your occupation?" The course has the following aims:
- To present the student with the learning opportunities which will develop their clinical, investigative and managerial skills in the context of industry and the workplace.
- To assess the progress towards, and test achievement in, meeting the following competencies which incorporate, but are not limited by, those competencies required by the Australasian Faculty of Occupational Medicine for training of Occupational Physicians.
- Competency in clinical medicine and rehabilitation.
- Ability to carry out a structured and comprehensive workplace assessment.
- Management and communications skills.
- Understanding of research methods and their application in evidence based occupational medicine.
Other useful sites to view are:
- The Faculty of Occupational Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians (UK)
- Faculty of Occupational Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland
There are four semester based papers in the course, INDX701-704. These are based on structured workbooks, but a significant proportion of the course material will also be presented in a web-based format using the University of Otago's Blackboard platform. The papers have a strong clinical and practical bias, and students will be expected to perform clinical and investigative work in their own practice. Experential learning will be assisted through participation in teleconference sessions. Additional practical experience will be gained through attendance at block weekends, which are held in both New Zealand North and South Island locations and require a total of four visits for overseas students. During the weekends clinical and investigative skills will be developed and assessed through case studies and practical sessions.
Introduction to Occupational Health - INDX 701
The title speaks for itself- it provides an introduction to some of the specialist skills that you will need to practice occupational medicine. The paper starts by discussing what an occupational physician does and reviews some basic clinical skills. It then introduces the student to the specialist clinical skills required to take the occupational history and perform a health evaluation. We then move on to occupational health legislation in relation to both health and safety in employment and accident compensation. Occupational physicians require a good working knowledge of both these topics.
While most students will be familiar with how the health service works, the workings of industry may be more of a mystery, so the following two modules cover some basic business concepts, how industry is structured, and how occupational health services fit into the picture.
After this, we examine some special issues in the practice of occupational medicine- communication and ethics. The special working relationships which the occupational physician develops creates special problems here, and the practitioner must be aware of these.
Although occupational medicine is a very clinical subject, it is practised in the workplace, which poses special problems, because students must learn about what the workplace is, and how to assess it. This requires that students go out into the workplace both by themselves, and as a member of the occupational health team. The course builds up enough knowledge and skills in order to do so with a degree of confidence!
We then cover three subjects not covered in detail elsewhere in the Diploma: rehabilitation to work, accidents at work and the environment in occupational medical practice.
The block weekend focuses on industrial relations skills and practical exercises on history taking. Introductory work-place visits and assessments are an integral part of this first weekend.
Clinical Occupational Medicine - INDX 702
Occupational medicine is a clinical specialty, and this paper will revise basic clinical skills, and introduce the specialist clinical skills needed by the occupational physician in order to diagnose, assess and advise on the management of disease and injury in relation to work. Candidates will be encouraged to develop the clinical skills necessary in Occupational Medicine through appropriate clinical attachments, for example attendance at outpatient sessions, and will be required to provide evidence of patient contact through case reports and investigations. These, along with development of a rehabilitation plan, will form part of the assignment requirements for this paper. Block weekends will provide the face to face teaching opportunities necessary to ensure the development of clinical skills, and will have as a focus case material presented by experienced Occupational Physicians, and numerous opportunities to participate in interactive teaching.
Assessment and Control of Occupational Hazards - INDX 703
This paper introduces many unfamiliar concepts, although these are mostly based on harm to biological systems so that the subject area, at least, will be familiar. Having completed it, the student will be familiar with the basic concepts in toxicology and occupational hygiene and will have the confidence to carry out identification, measurement, assessment and control of occupational hazards within the workplace,
The block weekend will focus on the practical skills necessary in occupational hygiene and toxicology. Students will be required to submit evidence that they have performed practical hazard identification in the workplace, which shall form part of the assignment requirement for this paper.
Research Methods in Occupational Health - INDX 704
The aims of this paper are to prepare the candidate for a research project, and enable the student to interpret and evaluate research which affects his/her practice. The block weekend in this paper will focus on practical evaluation exercises, small group work on epidemiological problems and a workshop on how epidemiology can inform Occupational Health practice.
It is purely a matter of skill, which all may attain if they will...
A candidate for the Diploma must hold a registrable medical qualification, and present satisfactory evidence that previous training and experience fit the candidate to undertake the course. We have papers in our occupational health programme for other health and safety professionals (OCCX 401 and OCCX 402).
The papers will be offered consecutively, and the course can be completed in two years.
Overseas students are welcome, but must be able to travel to New Zealand for the block weekends. Entrance requirements and course fees can be viewed at http://www.otago.ac.nz/international/postgraduate/index.html
- Nicola Casey
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine
Dunedin School of Medicine
PO Box 913
Tel 64 3 479 7201
Fax 64 3 479 7298