Collaborative research across the ocean

Thai visitors 2017 presentThe Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at OHSU and the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center hosted four colleagues from Bangkok Dusit Medical Services (BDMS) last week as part of the Institute’s continuing partnership with BDMS through OHSU Global Health, Southeast Asia.  Building on this partnership, the BDMS team at Prapadaeng Hospital led by Dr. Pankit has developed an innovative wellness intervention involving individual improvement strategies, organizational support (e.g., making work time available, setting up an area of the cafeteria for healthy foods) and social media that they are piloting now in Thailand.  The project’s status was described by the visitors, a focus of the visit that was organized by Dr. Ryan Olson who is supporting research projects and strategic planning for the collaboration.

Thai visitors respondInstitute and Oregon Healthy Workforce Center researchers described their mission and themes, and shared current research and methodologies on training, behavior tracking and occupational stress.  Our Thai colleagues also attended our fall symposium on “Navigating Mental Health in the Workplace” and participated in our Behavior Change journal club with each partner describing their vision of important behavioral change research.

Previously, Institute staff have supported occupational health and industrial hygiene training both in Thailand, and with visitors here in Portland, and as reported in Partnering in occupational health and  Trading notes across the ocean.

Thai vistors 2017 and OHSU team


#Mentalhealthatwork: Join in now

FullSizeRenderIf you are sitting at work or home and wishing you had registered for today’s “Navigating mental health in the workplace: What do we know and where do we go,” join us now by webinar! Dr. Nancy Spangler is kicking off our morning helping us understand resilient individuals and resilient workplaces. All of our speakers today will be translating and applying research in this field. Tune in by visiting this website: and follow instructions to enter the webinar.

Follow along and share what you learn on twitter with the hashtag #mentalhealthatwork. We hope to see you virtually!

National Pesticide Information Center wins award

Perhaps the best “perk” I receive from working at the Institute is being able to associate with all the wonderful, intelligent and dedicated people here. But I also enjoy a similar reward as Co-Primary Investigator with the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC), a project funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and cooperatively administered between Oregon State University and EPA.

NPIC is staffed by highly trained and dedicated specialists who provide objective, science-based information about pesticides and pesticide-related topics to enable people to make informed decisions about pesticides and their use.

NPIC staff receive Oldfield/Jackman Award

NPIC staff receive Oldfield/Jackman Award

Due to the efforts of our wonderful staff, NPIC was the recipient of a prestigious award, the James and Mildred Oldfield/E.R. Jackman Team Award, presented November 7 at the 2017 Faculty & Staff Awards luncheon at OSU. The award was established in order “to recognize superior and distinguished interdisciplinary team achievements through teaching, research, international, or extended education activities of faculty and staff. The award highlights the importance of interdisciplinary team efforts in achieving the goals of the College of Agricultural Sciences, Oregon State University and of Oregon agriculture, and to show in a tangible way that the College stands strongly behind such efforts”. The award consists of the Oldfield/Jackman certificate, presented to each team member and an award of $4,000 for the team, which will be used to further our efforts to minimize the risks and maximize the benefits of pesticides in society.IMG_2242 IMG_2241IMG_2240

Industrial hygiene research meets practice in Spokane

NOHC 2017 classroom groupOur fall safety & health conference season extended into Washington state at the end of October, when about 120 local and regional occupational health and safety professionals and students gathered in Spokane for the 60th annual Pacific NW Section – American Industrial Hygiene Association (PNS-AIHA) fall conference (a.k.a. NW Occupational Health Conference, or NOHC). Three concurrent technical sessions kept everyone hopping. Exhibit booth time also gave us an opportunity to engage in conversation with dozens of colleagues about the Oregon Healthy Workplace Center and OR-FACE.

NOHC 2017 Kelsey prz NOHC 2017 Barb prz

The Institute was well represented, with Kelsey Parker, PhD, project manager for the Community or Practice and Safety Support program, presenting updates on her field research study on the impact of caregiving on worker health. Barb Epstien, MPH, CIH, FAIHA (OR-FACE) and Todd Schoonover, PhD, CIH, CSP (WA FACE) collaborated on a joint presentation about FACE program perspectives on fatal logging injuries in the PNW: a review of Oregon and Washington surveillance data, investigations, field research, and prevention outreach.

NOHC 2017 Dede boothOf course, the networking aspect of this conference is always a highlight, connecting and reconnecting with folks in all stages along the IH career pathway. My hopes for the future of our profession were boosted by the many student presentations, especially on relevant emerging issues, e.g. injury and illness prevention in non-traditional workplaces and industrial/occupational psychology perspectives.

NOHC 2017 lunch crowd


Connecting at OPHA


Faculty and staff attended the The 2017 Annual OPHA Conference and Meeting held in Corvallis, OR on October 9th to October 10th. During the conference we showcased research findings, networked with public health professionals, and met with attendees interested in learning more about toolkits and tools developed by the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center (OHWC).

With the exhibition of several posters at the poster session, many conference attendees were curious about the Institute’s role in researching and developing interventions to promote occupational safety, health and well-being. During an Injury Prevention Session, Dr. Kent Anger gave an oral presentation on “Total Worker Health intervention for construction improves safety, health and well-being”. His main focus was to bring awareness to the “Be Super!” toolkit, aimed at promoting the health of construction workers. Below are direct links to the abstract from all presentations given during the conference.


Total Worker Health Intervention for Construction Improves safety, health and well-being
Authors: W. Kent Anger*, Jason Z. Kyler-Yano, Katie A. Vaughn, Bradley Wipfli, Ryan Olson, Magali Blanco

Poster Presentations:

Putting Total Worker Health to practice: Disseminating toolkits by the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center
Authors: Anjali Rameshbabu*, Rachel Matsumoto, Dan Austin, Kent Anger, Helen Schuckers, Leslie Hammer

The COMPASS Total Worker Health® program for home care workers: Impact and dissemination
Authors: Kelsey Parker*, Ryan Olson, Jennifer Hess, Sharon Thompson, Kristy Luther Rhoten, Miguel Marino

Why Total Worker Health expands occupational health into the arena of traditional public health
Authors: W. Kent Anger*

Detecting safe patient peer leaders with social network analysis
Authors: David A. Hurtado*, Lisset M. Dumet, Samuel A. Greenspan

Workplace aggression associated with work schedule: A case study among parole probation officers
Authors: Lisset M. Dumet*, Samuel A. Greenspan, David A. Hurtado

Social network analysis of peer-specific safety support and ergonomic behaviors: An application to safe patient handling

Authors: Samuel Greenspan*, Lisset Dumet, Yaritza I. Rodriguez, David Hurtado

Blog Submitted by Helen Schuckers, MPH, Dissemination Specialist/Research Associate and Sharanya Pradeep, Intern.IMG_8687IMG_8650


Happy Halloween!

Picture of happy revelers in Halloween costumes having lunch in  the lab.

Fun at the Southern Oregon Safety & Health Conference

Dede Montgomery and Fred Berman engage attendees at the Southern Oregon Occupational Safety & Health Conference in Ashland.

Dede Montgomery and Fred Berman engage attendees at the Southern Oregon Occupational Safety & Health Conference in Ashland.

The Southern Oregon Occupational Safety & Health Conference, held Oct. 17-19 at the Ashland Hills Hotel and Conference Center, was (as are all Oregon safety & health conferences) educational and fun. So much fun that Dede and I forgot to get photos to show you of our presentation, Fatigue at Work: Causes, Impacts and Solutions. So, you’ll just have to imagine a conference room with about 80 attendees actively engaged in a discussion on the very important topic of sleep. I think we can all relate to the topic, especially those of us who have ever had to work a non-9-to-five job……the lifestyle places increased risk on our physical and psychological health.

This year, Kerry Barnett, president and CEO of SAIF Corporation, delivered the keynote presentation. His talk centered on efforts to move Oregon forward in becoming the safest place to work in the nation. He discussed the great strides Oregon legislators made in the past to reform and strengthen the Workers Compensation (WC) System, which at that time faced enormous costs. Our WC system now enjoys among the lowest rates in the nation. Barnett pointed out that institutional memory of this fact should not be lost, otherwise legislators run the risk of making future decisions that impede or even reverse this progress.

In the exhibit hall, Dede and I enjoyed many fruitful interactions with conference attendees. We are always impressed with the interest and energy attendees express towards maintaining and improving workplace safety, health and wellbeing. Thanks to the Southern Oregon Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and Oregon OSHA for co-sponsoring this conference. And thanks to Southern Oregon ASSE for the photo (above) of Dede and I engaging with conference attendees!

SERVe Summit

Dr. Leslie Hammer

Dr. Leslie Hammer

This week, representatives from organizations across Oregon gathered at Portland State University for the Study for Employment Retention of Veterans (SERVe) Employer Summit. SERVe, a 5-year study funded by the Department of Defense, is aimed at increasing the retention of veteran employees within organizations and improving the health and well-being of veterans and their families through supervisor training. At the Summit, members of the SERVe research team, led by Dr. Leslie Hammer of Oregon Health & Science University and Portland State University, shared the progress of the SERVe project and discussed future endeavors with 65 community professionals and researchers from around the region.

Leslie Hammer, the Principal Investigator of SERVe, welcomed the audience and gave presentations about the SERVe project and the results of the supervisor training. Cynthia Mohr, Co-Investigator of SERVe and Professor at Portland State University, also gave a presentation about the Daily Family Study (DFS), a 32-day study of over 150 couples comprised of a participating Veterans from the SERVe project along with their spouses. The DFS aims to capture a better understanding of day-to-day issues that veterans and their families face, including psychological health, work-family conflict, and experiences with children. Additionally, Phoenix Rainbird demonstrated the Veteran Supportive Supervisor Training (VSST, the training product of the SERVe project).


Buddy Byrd

During lunch three members of the SERVe research community shared insights about their Veteran related services and transition experiences. First, Dawn Taylor from Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) discussed the nature and scope of services provided to civilian-sector Veteran employees, which include educating employers about federal law regarding deployment and subsequent reintegration into the workforce. Second, Charles “Buddy” Byrd of the United States Forest Service briefly discussed some of his and his colleague’s experiences transitioning from the military to the civilian workplace, and how important training supervisors on this transition process can be for Veterans. Finally, Michelle Kochosky, Director of the Oregon National Guard Service Member and Family Support Services gave an overview of the services that her organization provides and outlined her relationships with partner organizations all aligned around supporting service members and Veterans.

Phoenix Rain Bird

Phoenix Rain Bird

Overall the SERVe Summit was a wonderful achievement, and the SERVe team was excited to put a capstone on their work with the Oregon community concerning this specific study. The next steps they will take include further examination of the data to better understand the effects of the supervisor training on service member and spouse health and well-being, and dissemination of both the research findings and the supervisor training.

Submitted by Derek Brown and Luke Mahoney, Research Assistants

Helen Schuckers discusses OHWC toolkits.

Helen Schuckers discusses OHWC toolkits.

Join us: Movie screening of “A Day’s Work”

day's workWe invite you to join us at our upcoming public health movie night and screening of A Day’s Work, co-sponsored by our Institute and the OHSU/PSU School of Public Health. Mark your calendar for Wed., November 8 from 4-6 pm at OHSU’s Collaborative Life Sciences Building (CLSB 1A001) to watch this impactful documentary, and join us in discussion with producer Dave DeSario. This free event is open to all faculty, students, staff and community members. RSVP now on Eventbrite.

This 2015 documentary shares the story of 21-year old Day Davis. Ninety minutes before he was killed on his first day of work as a temporary employee, he texted a picture of himself to his girlfriend. He was excited for his future. The film shares how his sister, then 17-year old Antonia, searches for answers. A Day’s Work reveals troubling issues that led to Day’s death, and that threaten the safety and health of other American temporary workers.

Our Institute, demonstrated through the work of the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center and Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (OR-FACE) program, recognizes the significant workplace risks that exist for many temporary workers. Our Institute together with the OHSU/PSU School of Public Health, join other public health institutions, colleges, and worker advocates across the nation committing to learn from this tragic and personal story. This free event is open to students, workplace and temporary worker advocates, and community members.

We hope that you will join us. Please do RSVP on the Eventbrite event page.

A Day’s Work movie trailer
OccHealthSci Resource Directory: Temporary Workers
OR-FACE Investigation Reports

OR-FACE 2015 annual report published

face imageThe Oregon Fatality Assessment & Control Evaluation (OR-FACE) recently published Occupational Fatalities in Oregon Annual Report 2015.

OR-FACE annual reports include analysis of the incidents that occurred in the reporting year, with charts for industry, event, age, gender, time, month, and more. These reports also include an abstract of each case. In 2015, OR-FACE recorded 38 fatal occupational incidents resulting in worker deaths. The transportation industry had the highest number of fatalities for the year with forestry / logging and construction tied as second highest. There were 3 delayed deaths (>2 days from date of injury) in 2015. The incident for one of these cases occurred 39 years prior.

These annual reports and other resource materials have been published on the OR-FACE website since 2003 when the program began. It is hoped that better understanding of these fatal incidents may help to save the lives of other workers in similar situations.

Submitted by Barb Epstien, OR-FACE

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