Recognition, Renewal, and Reimagining - Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety Education and Research Center

Recognition, Renewal, and Reimagining

MCOHS reflects on the Center’s history and looks toward an expanding future with an updated logo.

The original MCOHS logo

Jimmy Carter is sworn in as the 39th President of the United States, with Minnesota’s own Walter Mondale as Vice President. Elvis Presley dies at the young age of 42. The television miniseries, Roots, grips the nation with unprecedented viewership. And, the Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety (MCOHS) takes root at the University of Minnesota, becoming one of the first National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Education and Research Centers in the country.

For forty-four years, MCOHS has served the Midwest region of the United States by offering cutting-edge interdisciplinary academic training, research-to-practice addressing current and emerging occupational health and safety threats, up-to-date continuing education for professionals, and expanded outreach with long-standing and committed partnerships with major industries, healthcare institutions and one of the best state health departments in the country. As an integral Center within the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, MCOHS has a long history of preparing exceptional leaders who make significant contributions to the field of occupational health and safety.


With the ongoing COVID pandemic, the past two years have been a season of monumental challenges, but also increased opportunities with the renewed focus on public health. Through innovation and outreach, MCOHS faculty, staff, and students have risen to the challenges, striving to be a voice, spreading the message about protecting the health and safety of America’s workforce.

At the same time, it is a period of renewal, change, and growth within the Center. Under the phenomenal leadership of Dr. Susan Gerberich (Emerita Director) and Dr. Pat McGovern (Emerita Deputy Director), MCOHS has established an outstanding foundation in occupational health and safety. Dr. Gerberich continues to provide guidance and invaluable knowledge and expertise in the field of occupational health and safety. A new Director and Deputy Director have taken the reigns at MCOHS, Drs Marizen Ramirez and Susan Arnold. Together, they are blazing forward with new initiatives focused on occupational health disparities, while also continuing to develop and maintain the standards of excellence established by MCOHS.


In recognition of the growth and change within our Center, and also to commemorate our 45-year anniversary approaching in 2022, MCOHS launched an internal evaluation and re-design of our Center’s logo, branding, and messaging. Faculty and staff from across the Center worked together in the planning, design, review, and selection of a new look that reflects not only who we are, but where we come from and our mission for the future.

Over the years, MCOHS has become synonymous with the Midwest, often being referred to as simply the “Midwest Center”. It is for this reason that the original logo was simply two stalks of wheat – a nod not only to physical location, but the region we serve. While the logo has become a recognizable symbol of MCOHS, we wanted to expand the design to incorporate more, just as the Center initiatives are also expanding.

The new MCOHS logo is a nod to our rich history, and a focus on the future.


The new logo represents MCOHS in a variety of elements:


  • WHEAT. It was important to everyone within the center to preserve a part of our history. For this reason, we incorporated a wheat symbol, as an acknowledgement of the history of the Center, a continued commitment to the Midwest region, and a history of research in agricultural health and safety.
  • PEOPLE. They are at the heart of what we do. Protecting workers. Training new leaders in occupational health and safety. Developing partnerships with companies, communities, and health and safety organizations. Everything about MCOHS revolves around people, and therefore, they are at the center of our logo.
  • HEALTH AND SAFETY. Our mission and purpose. It’s literally in our name. Our mission is to address the current and emerging threats in occupational health and safety, to equip leaders to protect the workforce. For this reason, the person in our logo is also a safety checkmark; a symbol for checking the boxes to protect workers and prevent injury, illness, and death.
  • INCLUSION, EQUITY, AND OUTREACH. MCOHS has placed a strong emphasis on outreach and public health equity and inclusion. These initiatives are core to the MCOHS mission. Through outreach efforts with partners and community members, we are working to expand our reach and share the occupational health and safety message, giving people the tools they need to protect workers and reduce injuries and illness. Health equity, diversity, and inclusion are also a significant issue that have long been overlooked. Occupational health and safety is crucial for all workers, and equitable access to information, care, and protection is a critical issue. The gold circles surrounding the person are intended to represent not only an expanding reach outward, but also a sense of inclusion – total worker health for everyone.

We are extremely grateful to everyone who contributed to this re-imagining process.

It was a collaborative effort of MCOHS faculty, staff and students working together in every step; from administrative planning, review of our history and alignment with our mission, multiple rounds of review and feedback, to ultimately the selection of the final design.

It is a proud reflection of the collaborative nature of MCOHS.