Matthew S. Thiese, PhD, MSPH


  • English

Academic Information

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

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. Edwards LJ, Fowlkes AL, Wesley MG, Kuntz JL, Odean MJ, Caban-Martinez AJ, Dunnigan K, Phillips AL, Grant L, Herring MK, Groom HC, Respet K, Beitel S, Zunie T, Hegmann KT, Kumar A, Joseph G, Poe B, Louzado-Feliciano P, Smith ME, Thiese MS, Schaefer-Solle N, Yoo YM, Silvera CA, Mayo Lamberte J, Mak J, McDonald LC, Stuckey MJ, Kutty P, Arvay ML, Yoon SK, Tyner HL, Burgess JL, Hunt DR, Meece J, Gaglani M, Naleway AL, Thompson MG (2021). Research on the Epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 in Essential Response Personnel (RECOVER) Study: Protocol for a multi-site longitudinal cohort. JMIR Res Protoc.
  2. Thiese MS, Hegmann KT, Page GB, Weames GG (2021). Letter to the Editor: Landsbergis et al (2019) Titled "Work Exposures and Musculoskeletal Disorders Among Railroad Maintenance-of-Way Workers". J Occup Environ Med, 63(10), e745-e750.
  3. Tomasi SE, Ramirez-Cardenas A, Thiese MS, Rinsky JL, Chiu SK, Luckhaupt S, Bateman R, Burrer SL (2021). COVID-19 mortality among Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and Transport Workers Union (TWU) workers-March-July 2020, New York City metro area. Am J Ind Med, 64(9), 723-730.
  4. Thompson MG, Burgess JL, Naleway AL, Tyner H, Yoon SK, Meece J, Olsho LEW, Caban-Martinez AJ, Fowlkes AL, Lutrick K, Groom HC, Dunnigan K, Odean MJ, Hegmann K, Stefanski E, Edwards LJ, Schaefer-Solle N, Grant L, Ellingson K, Kuntz JL, Zunie T, Thiese MS, Ivacic L, Wesley MG, Mayo Lamberte J, Sun X, Smith ME, Phillips AL, Groover KD, Yoo YM, Gerald J, Brown RT, Herring MK, Joseph G, Beitel S, Morrill TC, Mak J, Rivers P, Poe BP, Lynch B, Zhou Y, Zhang J, Kelleher A, Li Y, Dickerson M, Hanson E, Guenther K, Tong S, Bateman A, Reisdorf E, Barnes J, Azziz-Baumgartner E, Hunt DR, Arvay ML, Kutty P, Fry AM, Gaglani M (2021). Prevention and Attenuation of Covid-19 with the BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 Vaccines. N Engl J Med, 385(4), 320-329.
  5. Gomez NG, Gaspar FW, Thiese MS, Merryweather AS (2021). Trends in incidence and correlation between medical costs and lost workdays for work-related amputations in the State of California from 2007 to 2018. Health Sci Rep, 4(3), e319.
  6. Kapellusch JM, Bao SS, Malloy EJ, Thiese MS, Merryweather AS, Hegmann KT (2021). Validation of the Revised Strain Index for Predicting Risk of Incident Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in a Prospective Cohort. Ergonomics, 1-10.
  7. Gaspar FW, Thiese MS, Wizner K, Hegmann K (2021). Guideline adherence and lost workdays for acute low back pain in the California workers' compensation system. PLoS One, 16(6), e0253268.
  8. Thiese MS, Allen JA, Knudson M, Free K, Petersen P (2021). Depressive Symptoms and Suicidal Ideation Among Lawyers and Other Law Professionals. J Occup Environ Med, 63(5), 381-386.
  9. Thiese MS, Moffitt G, Hanowski RJ, Kales SN, Porter RJ, Hartenbaum N, Hegmann KT (2021). What Medical Conditions Limit or Medically Disqualify Truck Drivers: A Large Cross Sectional Study. J Occup Environ Med, 63(2), 139-146.
  10. Tang R, Kapellusch JM, Hegmann KT, Thiese MS, Wang I, Merryweather AS (2020). Evaluating Different Measures of Low Back Pain Among U.S. Manual Materials Handling Workers: Comparisons of Demographic, Psychosocial, and Job Physical Exposure. Hum Factors, 18720820971101.
  11. Thiese MS, Lu ML, Merryweather A, Tang R, Ferguson SA, Malloy EJ, Marras WS, Hegmann KT, Kapellusch J (2020). Psychosocial Factors and Low Back Pain Outcomes in a Pooled Analysis of Low Back Pain Studies. J Occup Environ Med, 62(10), 810-815.
  12. Merris J, Phillips AL, Hegmann KT, Owens JD, Amoafo LA, Thiese MS (2020). Morphine Equivalent Dose-Days (MED-D): Predicting the Impact of Opioid Prescription on Total Workers' Compensation Claim Costs for Acute Low Back Pain. J Occup Environ Med, 62(9), 700-705.
  13. Kagabo R, Thiese MS, Eden E, Thatcher AC, Gonzalez M, Okuyemi K (2020). Truck Drivers' Cigarette Smoking and Preferred Smoking Cessation Methods. Subst Abuse, 14, 1178221820949262.
  14. Merris J, Phillips AL, Hegmann KT, Owens JD, Amoafo LA, Thiese MS (2020). Morphine Equivalent Dose-Days (MED-D): Predicting the Impact of Opioid Prescription on Total Workers' Compensation Claim Costs for Acute Low Back Pain. J Occup Environ Med.
  15. Robbins RB, Thiese MS, Ott U, Wood EM, Effiong A, Murtaugh M, Kapellusch J, Cheng M, Hegmann K (2020). Metabolic Syndrome in Commercial Truck Drivers: Prevalence, Associated Factors, and Comparison With the General Population. J Occup Environ Med, 62(7), 453-459.
  16. Kagabo R, Okuyemi K, Eden E, Kapellusch J, Murtaugh MA, Hegmann KT, Thiese MS (2020). Psychosocial Factors and Tobacco Use Among Commercial Truck Drivers. J Occup Environ Med, 62(6), 439-444.
  17. Hegmann KT, Travis R, Andersson GBJ, Belcourt RM, Carragee EJ, Donelson R, Eskay-Auerbach M, Galper J, Goertz M, Haldeman S, Hooper PD, Lessenger JE, Mayer T, Mueller KL, Murphy DR, Tellin WG, Thiese MS, Weiss MS, Harris JS (2020). Non-Invasive and Minimally Invasive Management of Low Back Disorders. J Occup Environ Med, 62(3), e111-e138.
  18. Fitch MS, Thiese MS, Wood EM, Kapellusch JM, Hegmann KT (2020). The Coexistence of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Workers With Trigger Digit. Hand (N Y), 1558944719893048.
  19. 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.
  20. Okorie O, Thiese MS, Murtaugh MA, Sheng X, Handy R, Hegmann K (2019). Relationships Between Poor Health and Calories From Fat Among Commercial Truck Drivers. J Occup Environ Med, 61(11), 944-948.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.


  1. Thiese MS, Hegmann KT, Weames GG, Page GB (2021). Concerns re Landsbergis et al: Occupational risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders among railroad maintenance-of-way workers. [Letter to the editor]. Am J Ind Med, 64(8), 714-716.
  2. Kagabo R, Okuyemi K, Eden E, Kapellusch J, Murtaugh MA, Hegmann KT, Thiese MS (2020). Psychosocial Factors and Tobacco Use among Commercial Truck Drivers. [Letter to the editor]. J Occup Environ Med, 62(12), e774.
  3. Hegmann KT, Thiese MS, Doxey R (2019). Reply to Franzblau et al. [Letter to the editor]. J Occup Environ Med, 61(6), e302-e303.