An OEN is a neurologist who is also trained in occupational and environmental medicine.  Since an OEN physician also has a public health degree, this is a characteristic.

The background of this physician enables this practitioner to be able to incorporate many diverse skills into one evaluation.  These include taking a thorough and complete medical as well as occupational and environmental history, performing a comprehensive risk assessment including biological exposure indices and aspects of industrial hygiene and personal protective equipment, understanding causation in various arenas, disability and its legal ramifications, and a complete neurological examination as well as the ability to perform some (EMG and NCV) and interpret neurodiagnostic testing. The OEN physician also has a thorough understanding of neuropsychological testing regarding both diagnosis and causation analysis.

Neurologists learn how to diagnose and treat brain, spinal cord, muscle and nerve problems.

Occupational medicine physicians have experience with primary care, injury and accident medical management, the workers compensation system, disability management, public health, epidemiology and toxicology.

An OE neurologist has all of these skills. A referral to an OEN ensures that issues regarding causation and impairment and return to work are addressed comprehensively.

The issue of causation is important since an OEN is familiar with an occupational and environmental exposure history.

About the Author

Jonathan S Rutchik, MD, MPH, FACOEM is board certified in both Neurology and Occupational and Environmental Medicine and is Associate Clinical Professor at UCSF. He provides clinical evaluations and treatment, including electromyography, of individuals and populations with suspected neurological illness secondary to workplace injuries or chemical exposure. Dr. Rutchik is also a California State Qualified Medical Examiner. He can be reached at or (415) 381-3133 or visit