Man kneeling next to buckets of chemicals while wearing protective gear

Our History

Our History

The Center for Occupational and Environmental Health was established through Assembly Bill 3414, chapter 1245, section 50.8 of the Labor Code and approved on September 27, 1978. 


SECTION 1.  Section 50.8 is added to the Labor Code, to read:  50.8.  The department shall develop a long range program for upgrading and expanding the resources of the State of California in the area of occupational health and medicine.  The program shall include a contractual agreement with the University of California for the creation of occupational health centers affiliated with regional schools of medicine and public health.  One such occupational health center shall be situated in the northern part of the state and one in the southern part.  The primary function of these occupational health centers shall be the training of occupational physicians and nurses, toxicologists, epidemiologists, and industrial hygienists.  In addition, the centers shall serve as referral centers for occupational illnesses and shall engage in research on the causes, diagnosis, and prevention of occupational illnesses.

The centers shall also inform the Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the Department of Industrial Relations, State Department of Health Services, and the Department of Food and Agriculture of their clinical and research findings.

SECTION 2.  The sum of two million dollars ($2,000,000) is hereby appropriated from the General Fund to the State Controller for allocation to the Department of Industrial Relations for purposes of developing the program authorized by this act, provided that such allocation shall not be made sooner than 30 days following notification from the Director of Finance to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee of such allocation of funds to the department.





Assembly Bill 3414 establishes occupational health centers which become a permanent part of University of California in 1981 as multi-campus, multi-disciplinary centers.


The Northern Center for Occupational and Environmental Health becomes a permanent fixture of the University of California, linking UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, and UC Davis. It is housed at UC Berkeley.


UC Davis Northern California Occupational Health Center (COEH) is established under the direction of Dr. Marc Schenker within the Institute for Environmental Health Research. Dr. Schenker becomes the director of, and the liaison to the Northern Center (housed at UC Berkeley) for the Davis campus.