Tanner Coles, a second-year MPH candidate at the WVU School of Public Health, has taken a special interest in the research and prevention of workplace violence.  After completing a course on Occupational Injury Prevention at West Virginia University, taught by Dr. Kimberly Rauscher, Assistant Professor of Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences, he knew he wanted to work to ensure a safer environment for employees. 

In June, Coles began a nine week, 360 hour practice-based experience under the guidance of Dr. Daniel Hartley, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which functions under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Working at NIOSH, Coles assists in the development of workplace violence and workplace bullying course education modules made available to healthcare staff as continuing education courses.     

“Workplace violence and workplace bullying are a critical issue within the healthcare setting.  Studies show that as many as 80% of nursing staff do not feel safe at work” Coles said.  “Another study shows that 76% of those bullied at work wish to leave the organization they work with, leading to turnover costs of up to $145,000 per nurse depending on location, and field of specialty.” 

Victims of workplace bullying can experience many physical, psychological, and emotional consequences including hypertension, chest pain, anxiety, and depression.   

The workplace violence training modules will be made available to the public via the link below.  The training module Coles is helping to develop has not yet been released, however, the first course that overviews workplace violence is available.  


Coles, of Emmaus, Pa., graduated from Bethany College in Bethany, W.Va., where he majored in chemistry with emphasis in biochemistry. Graduating in December 2015, he is pursuing a master’s degree in the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences because of his interest in occupational injury prevention and passion to help protect America’s workforce.   Coles is the son of William and Gail Coles of Emmaus, Pennsylvania.