Matthew S. Thiese, PhD, MSPH


  • English

Academic Information

  • Departments: Family & Preventive Medicine - Associate Professor
  • Divisions: Occupational and Environmental Health

Academic Office Information

  • 801-587-3322
  • Rocky Mtn Center for Enviro/Occupational Hlth
    Rocky Mountain Center
    391 Chipeta Way
    Salt Lake City, UT 84108

Academic Bio

Matthew S. Thiese, PhD, MSPH, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Utah’s Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, one of the 18 NIOSH-sponsored Education and Research Centers in the US. He earned his BS in Exercise and Sport Science (2001), MSPH in General Public Health (2003), and PhD in Occupational Injury Prevention (2008). Dr. Thiese’s dissertation focused on the predictive relationship on physical activity and the incidence of low back pain. This dissertation involved field measurements of workers’ on-the-job and leisure time physical activity. He has extensive experience in physical activity assessment, energy expenditure measurement, and observational research. Dr. Thiese’s primary areas of research interest are 1) transportation worker health and 2) musculoskeletal disorders. His research has included multiple field studies, including three large cohort studies and two large cross-sectional studies involving either transportation workers or musculoskeletal disorders. Dr. Thiese currently teaches three courses at the School of Medicine and is involved in multiple ongoing field research projects. Dr. Thiese has field experiences with measuring aerobic capacity and energy expenditures in both laboratory and occupational settings.

Research Statement

My research focuses on the overlap between a person’s job and their health. This includes everything from musculoskeletal disorders like Low Back Pain or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, to motor vehicle crashes, to cancer. I have has coauthored 67 articles, 31 practice guidelines and 5 book chapters. I direct the Occupational Injury Prevention program, mentoring 11 PhD and Masters students, and teaching 4 courses. I have extensive experience in transportation health and safety, including research analyzing relationships between driver health and subsequent crashes in a retrospective cohort of 50,000 drivers. I also have been part of multiple large prospective cohort studies evaluating relationships between musculoskeletal disorders and both job and personal factors.

Education History

Type School Degree
Doctoral Training University of Utah
Public Health - Occupational Injury Prevention Epidemiology Emphasis
Graduate Training University of Utah
Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Advanced Epidemiology, Health
Undergraduate University of Utah
Major in Exercise and Sport Science, Minor in Chemistry

Global Impact


Date Role Description Country
12/02/2014 Faculty Advisor I am the faculty advisor for a student club called RAW Planet, which promotes health and literacy across the globe through service projects directed by student members. Brazil

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  1. Cox AL, Handy RG, Thiese MS, Sleeth DK (2018). Development of an Empirical Formula for Describing Human Inhalability of Airborne Particles at Low Wind Speeds and Calm Air. Ann Work Expo Health, 63(9), 1046-1060.
  2. Okorie O, Thiese MS, Murtaugh MA, Sheng X, Handy R, Hegmann K (2020). Relationships Between Poor Health and Calories From Fat Among Commercial Truck Drivers. J Occup Environ Med, 61(11), 944-948.
  3. Cheng M, Thiese MS, Wood EM, Kapellusch J, Foster J, Drury D, Merryweather A, Hegmann KT, BackWorks Study Team (2019). Relationship Between Opioid Use and Pain Severity Ratings in Workers With Low Back Pain. J Occup Environ Med, 61(10), 836-840.
  4. Phillips AL, Thiese MS, Freeman M, Kartchner R, Hegmann KT (2019). Implementation of an Opioid Guideline Impacts on Opioid Prescriptions, Adverse Outcomes, and an Association with a State Opioid-Related Fatalities. J Occup Environ Med, 61(8), 653-658.
  5. Hegmann KT, Thiese MS, Doxey R (2019). Reply to Franzblau et al. J Occup Environ Med, 61(6), e302-e303.
  6. Owens JD, Hegmann KT, Thiese MS, Phillips AL (2019). Impacts of Adherence to Evidence-Based Medicine Guidelines for the Management of Acute Low Back Pain on Costs of Worker's Compensation Claims. J Occup Environ Med, 61(6), 445-452.
  7. Ferguson SA, Merryweather A, Thiese MS, Hegmann KT, Lu ML, Kapellusch JM, Marras WS (2019). Prevalence of low back pain, seeking medical care, and lost time due to low back pain among manual material handling workers in the United States. BMC Musculoskelet Disord, 20(1), 243.
  8. Bao SS, Kapellusch JM, Garg A, Silverstein BA, Harris-Adamson C, Burt SE, Dale AM, Evanoff BA, Gerr FE, Hegmann KT, Merlino LA, Thiese MS, Rempel DM (2014). Developing a pooled job physical exposure data set from multiple independent studies: an example of a consortium study of carpal tunnel syndrome. Occup Environ Med, 72(2), 130-7.


  1. Thiese MS, Walker S, Lindsey J (2017). Truths, lies, and statistics. J Thorac Dis, 9(10), 4117-4124.