What a summer we’ve had P.S.

Summer Intern '17And regarding those summer interns: Ever wonder just what it is they are researching? All of us at the Institute and the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center congratulate our 2017 summer research interns for presenting posters on the following research topics:
  • Oskar Linde, Portland State University, Stephen Lloyd Lab – Development of fluorescent chimeric DNA repair enzymes for detection of DNA damage.
  • Lydia Lutsyshyna, Reed College, Matt Buter Lab – The Development Consequences of Mis-timed Feedings.
  • Jessica Nguyen, Portland State University, Leslie Hammer Lab – Role Ambiguity and Job Satisfaction Among Forest Service Employees: Moderating Effects of General Support.
  • Molly Herinckx, Oregon State University, Mitch Turker Lab – Measuring Cytogenetic Aberrations Induced by Simulated Galactic Cosmic Rays.
  • Gregory Heinonen, Oregon State University, David Hurtado Lab – Lacking Co-Worker Support for Safe Patient Handling May Contribute to High Rates of Turnover in Nursing Staff: An Exploratory Analysis.
  • Randall Olson, University of Portland, Miranda Lim Lab – Decreased Motor Function in a Combined Mouse Model of TBI and PTSD.
  • Sydney O’Neill, Portland State University, Brad Wipfli Lab – Evaluating Pedal Stand Measurement and Intervention Methods.
  • Ali Noel Gunesch, Brown University, Charles Allen Lab – Cannabinoids and the Circadian Clock.
  • Izzy Fawson, Lewis and Clark College, Doris Kretzschmar Lab – Homozygous hTau Mutants Cause loss of function in Drosophila.
  • Sharanya Pradeep, Portland State University, OHWC Outreach Core – Disseminating Toolkits from the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center.
  • Jonathan Sisley, Oregon State University, Ryan Olson Lab – Sleep Device and Fatigue Evaluation for Team Truck Drivers.
  • Payton Bushaw, University of Portland, Suzanne Mitchell Lab – Comparing Measures of Delay Discounting in Rats.
  • Meera Bhide, Cornell University, Steven Shea Lab – Cannabis Use and Sleep: An Online Survey.
  • Austen Suits, University of Washington, Peter Spencer Lab – Magpi© Software for Data Collection on Sleep Deprivation from Multiple Populations Simultaneously: Comparing the Pacific Northwest to Uganda.
  • Natashia Andrews, Oregon State University, Amanda McCullough Lab – DNA Repair Enzyme Reduces Risk of Cancerous Mutations in Melanocyte Cell Lines.
  • Teala Alvord, Portland State University, Ryan Olson Lab – COMPASS Intervention Adaptation for Personal Support Workers.

What a summer we’ve had!

August 9th was a festive day here at the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences. In a room abuzz with nervous excitement, our summer interns stood by their posters, proud to share their summer’s work with Institute staff, friends, and family – all just as excited.

Beginning in 1993 and currently directed by Dr. Ryan Olson, the annual Summer Internship Program is an opportunity for students to be mentored by Institute members conducting research in the area of occupational health.

As always, this year’s posters showcased a variety of basic and applied research projects that reflected the Institute’s core themes: sleep & shiftwork, hazardous exposures, Total Worker Health, injury treatment & prevention, and outreach & dissemination.

Setting aside the competition format this year, each poster was reviewed by Institute scientists who provided feedback. Some observations were recurrent: in just a few weeks, students demonstrated impressive insight into their topic and remarkable skill in communicating their work.

For many mentors like myself, this summer program was an equally enriching experience and we wish our interns a rewarding future!

Summer Internship 2017

Oregon Healthy Workforce Center Toolkits

Picture1Research studies that began in 2011 at the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center (OHWC) have resulted in four toolkits that we are eager to disseminate to workplaces! The toolkits, “SHIP”, “PUSH”, “Be Super!”, and “COMPASS” are for supervisors, young workers, construction workers, and homecare workers respectively. These evidence-based toolkits, described below, are designed to share our intervention findings in a practical manner so to promote occupational safety, health and well-being within the workplace.

  • Safety & Health Improvement Program (SHIP) is intended for supervisors and their teams. SHIP can reduce stress and work-life conflict, increase safety practices, improve employee health and safety, and improve team communication and effectiveness. Originally tested in the construction industry, it has been adapted for use in other industries as well.
  • Promoting U Through Safety & Health (PUSH) was created to help young workers, who may be more likely to be injured at work, know their rights, advocate for their safety, health, and well-being. PUSH includes supervisor training with supervisor-led “Start the Conversation Activities”, a Tumblr page (social media) and engaging videos to supplement and reinforce information introduced in the training.
  • Be Super! toolkit strives to improve the safety, health, and wellbeing of employees through supervisor skill training, behavioral self-monitoring cards, scripted lessons and take home activities. Geared toward the construction industry, Be Super! aims to improve communication between employees and supervisors and help cultivate healthy lifestyle behaviors, which can decrease blood pressure, unhealthy food and beverage consumption, and improve employee happiness and productivity.
  • Community of Practice and Safety Support (COMPASS) was designed to safeguard the health of home care workers. Homecare workers experience higher rates of physical and mental illness when compared to workers in other industries, and generally work isolated without coworker support. COMPASS provides a support network for homecare workers, encouraging them to set goals, participate in team activities and challenges, attend small, in-person group meetings, and learn about pertinent job safety and health topics.

SHIP, PUSH, Be Super!, and COMPASS are low cost, feasible toolkits that can be implemented in any organization. Contact OHWC if you think a toolkit is right for your organization!

Submitted by Sharanya Pradeep, 2017 OHWC Intern

Industrial hygiene and green chemistry

Teni Adewumi-Gunn and Dede Montgomery.

Teni Adewumi-Gunn and Dede Montgomery.

I didn’t realize when I went to meet with Teni Adewumi-Gunn the other day that I was about to meet a rock star. Well, a rock star of sorts in our line of work and among newer industrial hygienists! I knew that I was going to meet with a SAIF Corporation summer industrial hygiene intern to trade notes about green chemistry resources and needs in Oregon. I was in for a big treat to be able to learn about Teni’s doctoral research, related to my own interests, as well as to meet someone I am certain will be a fine addition to our profession. Most of us graying industrial hygienists share a similar concern: the aging of our profession and challenges recruiting new folks into the field –  even though the job outlook is highly promising. And I’m afraid some of us might come off as a little overly enthusiastic when we find someone new in our field of work.

Teni is currently a doctoral student in the Environmental Health Sciences department at UCLA, with a Master’s in Environmental Health Sciences (industrial hygiene track) already under her belt. Her research interests include applying industrial hygiene to underserved worker communities, sustainability, and environmental policy. UCLA’s website informs me that Teni is a Women’s Policy Institute Fellow; Student Section National Chair of the American Industrial Hygiene Association; and serves on the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology Health and Safety Committee. She was previously the Environmental Justice Research and Policy Analyst for Black Women for Wellness, where she used knowledge about her industrial hygiene skill set to engage community members to influence local, state, and national level policies that regulate the safety of chemical use in cosmetics and personal care products.

Given our mutual interests it was only natural for us to briefly talk about the challenges facing stylists – particularly when chemicals are hidden in products and warnings are not effectively conveyed through messaging, as our Institute found back in 2010 as we collaborated with Oregon OSHA to document high levels of formaldehyde in salon products.

SAIF Corporation is lucky to have Teni this summer as she helps craft information for businesses on green chemistry, including offering practical advice on how to move away from more toxic chemicals and products. I am eager to see what she develops. Perhaps I look even more forward to learning more about the work Teni takes on as she moves into and through her career. As always, I feel lucky to have the partners that we have, such as SAIF, who are working to move the needle forward in protecting workers.

Further reading:
Learn more about becoming an industrial hygienist
OccHealthSci Resource Directory: Green chemicals/Safer alternatives
Emerging Issues timeline on formaldehyde in hair products




Tell us what you think!

Construction workers, homecare workers and young workers all have high rates of preventable injuries and illnesses. The Oregon Healthy Workforce Center (OHWC) has developed Total Worker Health® toolkits to improve occupational safety, health, and well-being. These toolkits aim to cultivate effective supervision and educate workers on safety practices and healthy habits.

Our next step is to disseminate our evidence-based resources. We have created one-page infographics corresponding to each of the four toolkits, SHIP, PUSH, Be Super!, and COMPASS.

push-one-pager_23173791_ef22bf0c79686eaf37513afabea1ad313546368aWe would like your help! We have developed a brief survey as a way to test our promotional infographics. Let us know what you think! Your responses will be reported in the aggregate and no personally identifying data will be collected. In appreciation of your time and input, we’d like to offer a limited-time discount of 40% on a toolkit purchase. This survey closes July 31st.

Access the survey here:

Submitted by Sharanya Pradeep, Summer Intern (Outreach and Dissemination)

Paying attention: Using “lessons learned” to be safer


Image credit: NIOSH.

How often do we learn about an accident or near miss, only to recognize that the same incident occurred recently during the same or similar operation? What are our excuses?

  • We are busy.
  • We aren’t paying attention.
  • We have too few people doing the job of too many.
  • We are sleepy.
  • We didn’t think it could happen again.
  • Or…we don’t even realize it because we aren’t tracking what is happening and making the changes necessary to prevent it.

A key reason safety and health professionals look to the “hierarchy of controls” to support workplace injury prevention is their effectiveness in limiting the impact of human error.  Hierarchy of hazard control is promoted as standard practice in the workplace as a system to minimize or eliminate exposure to hazards. More recently, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) updated the traditional safety-based hierarchy to represent controls related to Total Worker Health ® principles.

But back to those lessons. How can we use previous incidents to reduce injuries and illnesses?

  1. Thoroughly and carefully review injuries, workplace-induced illnesses and near misses in and around our workplaces. Find ways to control hazards that rank high on the hierarchy of controls, including systematic changes to prevent incidents. For example, removing the possibility of a worker falling from height is preferred to simply training a worker about the risk of falling.
  2. Create a workplace culture where all employees feel appreciated and supported to weigh in about hazards and fixes pertinent to their work, or the work around them. After all, it has been demonstrated again and again that the person who does a task best understands its challenges, and potentially, how work can be improved.
  3. Be diligent in sharing knowledge about lessons learned, both within and beyond our organization.
  4. If we hire contractors or subcontractors: look at their record on safety. Expect of them what we expect for our own workers, and provide them with relevant information to do their job safely.

In addition to using your own organizationally-created lessons, there are a wealth of resources available to further injury and illness prevention, enhance training materials, and improve worker well-being.  Our favorites are listed in our OccHealthSci Resource Directory within the topic page of Safety Toolbox Talks, categorized by subtopics: Lessons Learned, Safety Talks, Online Videos, and Infographics. Do you have other favorite resources or tips?


Image credit: NIOSH.

Image credit: NIOSH.

What we do

Those of us at the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences dedicated time and energy this past year to create short videos to demonstrate to our friends, partners and stakeholders, just what it is that we do. And we are pleased to say – we love them! All of the videos embedded below, and many others, are accessible from our playlist on an OHSU’s YouTube channel. We hope that you will take some time, if you haven’t already, to check out these newly crafted videos to learn a bit more about our research and activities.

Overview of the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences
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Exposure Consequences and Prevention
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Injury Treatment, Recovery, and Prevention
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Sleep and Night Shiftwork
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Total Worker Health
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Outreach and Education
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BR coverIf you’d like to learn just a bit more about our research, our faculty and staff, and what we accomplished over the past two years, make sure you check out our hot off the press Biennial Report. Keep in mind that this electronic copy is full of live links allowing you to drill down to specific details and information.

As always, we continue to look forward to connecting with you,  and working together to discover and disseminate those things that help us improve the health, safety and well-being of people everywhere.


Industrial hygienists flood Seattle

UW at AIHce

Marty Cohen staffs the UW Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Department’s exhibit.

It’s a funny thing when thousands of industrial hygienists embark on a city for the national American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo! Suddenly, a profession that few people still understand, takes over. And as I attended the 2017 AIHce event earlier this month in Seattle, I was reminded how odd it is to see bunches of folks who share our sometimes odd sounding title swarming downtown.

For me and many others I know, it is the networking aspect of this conference that makes it all worthwhile. And we notice, every year, a few more folks drop out of the pack due to retirement or because they simply aren’t with us anymore. Perhaps that is why it feels more sentimental than exciting to me, as it once may have early in my career. I am, however, so happy to see younger folks joining our trade. Our Institute was pleased to join a number of others in co-sponsoring the University of Washington Department of Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences celebration for alumni, friends and families. We appreciate the partnership we have with  so many institutions and organizations.

AIHce2017 presentation banner (1)Barb Epstien, fatality investigator/outreach specialist in the Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (OR-FACE) program and Illa Gilbert-Jones, retired OR-FACE program manager, gave a presentation during the conference. The presentation was part of the session entitled “Topics in Safety” that also included talks on workplace electrical fatalities and a study of health and safety training in vocational education programs for automotive repair.

Barb and Illa’s presentation discussed the trends and patterns shown by OR-FACE surveillance data obtained over 13 years (2003-2015). Data were analyzed by industry, occupation, event, age range, and other descriptions. Data analysis revealed that four industries in Oregon consistently have the highest number of fatalities: transportation, forestry/logging, construction, and agriculture, with transportation having the highest number of cases during the 13-year period studied. Motor vehicle accidents lead in total number of fatal cases, followed by contact and falls. Audience questions and comments indicated a high level of interest in OR-FACE’s toolbox talk guides, one of the program’s most popular outreach publications. You can find a copy of the presentation here.

And for a little Friday afternoon sappy humor – fellow industrial hygienists- what stage are you?
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New OR-FACE toolbox talk guides published

New OR-FACE Toolbox Talk.

Maintaining an injury prevention culture requires many components, and safety communication is fundamental to that goal. Safety communication can be implemented in a number of ways, including warning labels, safety training and meetings, hazard alerts, and informal, routine communications among supervisors, workers, and co-workers. In OR-FACE’s experience, increasing the level of interaction between supervisors and workers can have a positive influence on safe behaviors. Further, when the interaction is based on actual, relatable events, that impact can be significant. Toolbox talks are brief discussions typically facilitated by team leaders (e.g. crew supervisors). They provide a practical tool for engaging workers and employers in discussion about ways to improve safety practices, sharing experiences, promoting safety awareness, and ultimately, influence safe behaviors.

OR-FACE creates toolbox talks that are formatted using evidence-based safety communication principles and are based on real-world fatal events that occurred in Oregon. The guide’s front side includes a simple line drawing that can be seen from a distance by the group participating in the safety meeting. Under the drawing are bulleted key actions and recommendations for preventing a similar accident. The back side includes a narrative of the incident for the supervisor to read, along with bulleted prevention recommendations, and a list of questions intended to spark discussion about current practices, unsafe conditions, and an action plan for making improvements. OR-FACE routinely receives positive feedback on the utility of these guides and they are one of the most popular resources accessed on the OR-FACE website.

OR-FACE recently published two new toolbox talk guides, one for the construction industry and for logging/forestry. You can find all of OR-FACE’s toolbox talk guides here, including six that are translated into Spanish.

Submitted by Barb Epstien, OR-FACE

Additional Resources
OccHealthSci Resource Directory Topic: Safety Toolbox Talks

Work, Stress, and Health 2017: Oregon Healthy Workforce Center in action

From Left to Right: Center director, Kent Anger, Associate directors Leslie Hammer and Ryan Olson, and collaborator Diane Rohlman following their symposium on Total Worker Health ® Interventions.

From Left to Right: Center director, Kent Anger, Associate directors Leslie Hammer and Ryan Olson, and collaborator Diane Rohlman following their symposium on Total Worker Health ® Interventions.

The 2017 Work, Stress and Health bi-annual conference headed toward the Great Lakes last week to explore the latest research on how work lives impact the health and well-being of workers. Minneapolis, Minnesota welcomed a crowd of interdisciplinary researchers and practitioners June 7-10 for research presentation sessions, professional development, and networking events. The Oregon Healthy Workforce Center (OHWC) was well represented, both to present our own work, as well as well as to learn from collaborators and colleagues from around the world.

This year’s conference theme, “Contemporary Challenges and Opportunities” was a fitting home for some of the cutting edge research being presented by our OHWC team. Additionally, the focus of WSH on Total Worker Health coincides effortlessly with the OHWC mission of research effectiveness, collaboration, and dissemination to improve the health, safety, and well-being of workers.

The OHWC was particularly honored this year to present two dedicated symposium sessions focusing on some of our work with our large-scale interventions. The SERVe project (PI: Leslie Hammer) was featured in the symposium Support for Health and Well-Being Through Work: The Study for Employment Retention of Veterans (SERVe), chaired by MacKenna Perry. Presentations included lessons learned in recruiting large organizations by Krista Brockwood1; how veterans’ social support and financial strain impact work by MacKenna Perry2; work-family conflict as experienced daily by both veterans and their spouse/partners by Wylie Wan3; and effectiveness of the supervisor training at the center of by project by Leslie Hammer4.

On Saturday, the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center was featured in a symposium, chaired by Kent Anger, Effectiveness of Total Worker Health® Interventions and Dissemination Strategies of the Oregon Healthy Workforce. Leslie Hammer presented findings from the Safety and Health Improvement Project (SHIP)5, a project with construction workers. Ryan Olson presented findings from the COMPASS program for home care workers6, and Diane Rohlman demonstrated an effective safety intervention for young workers in the PUSH project7.

Professional development takes a prominent role at Work, Stress, and Health, and the Center contributed to the dialogue. Layla Mansfield and Leslie Hammer served as professional development panelists in “How did you get that job?”8 and “What Employers Want,”9 respectively. Janelle Cheung presented in a symposium focused on successfully mentoring graduate students, offering her perspective as a successful mentee10.

The SERVe Symposium Session: Discussant Mina Westover (Far left) offers her perspective and insights on the research presented by panelists (seated, L to R), MacKenna Perry, Wylie Wan, Leslie Hammer, and Krista Brockwood

The SERVe Symposium Session: Discussant Mina Westover (Far left) offers her perspective and insights on the research presented by panelists (seated, L to R), MacKenna Perry, Wylie Wan, Leslie Hammer, and Krista Brockwood

OHWC also had several other successful presentations and posters by Kent Anger11, David Hurtado12,13, and Anjali Rameshbabu14. The 2017 bi-annual Work, Stress, and Health Conference was a  rousing success, both for disseminating out own findings, as well as learning about the exciting work being done by colleagues from around the world. We already look forward to 2019!

Submitted by Sarah Haverly, MS, Doctoral Student and Graduate Research Assistant, Portland State University


  1. Recruitment of Organizations in a Large-Scale Intervention Study. Krista Brockwood, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR; Leslie B. Hammer, PhD; Phoenix Rainbird, BS
  2. Social Support, Income Resources, and Outcomes: A Test of the Work–Home Resources Model. MacKenna L. Perry, MS, Portland State University, OR; Leslie B. Hammer, PhD; Janelle H. Cheung, PhD; Todd Bodner, PhD; Kathleen F. Carlson, PhD
  3. Daily Work–Family Experiences and Well-Being of Employed Service Members and Their Partners. Wylie Wan, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR; Sarah N Haverly, MD; Jackie Schroeder, MS; Leslie B. Hammer, PhD; Cynthia D. Mohr, PhD; Todd Bodner, PhD
  4. Supervisor Training Effectiveness and Health and Work Outcomes Among a Sample of Service Members. Leslie B. Hammer, PhD, Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR; Wylie Wan, PhD; Cynthia D Mohr, PhD; Krista Brockwood, PhD; Todd Bodner, PhD
  5. Safety and Health Improvement Program (SHIP). Leslie B. Hammer, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR; Donald M. Truxillo, PhD; Amy C. Pytlovany, MS
  6. The COMPASS Total Worker Health® Program for Home Care Workers: Impact and Dissemination. Ryan Olson, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR; Kelsey N. Parker, PhD; Jennifer M. Hess, PhD; Sharon V. Thompson, MS; Kristy L. Rhoten, BA; Miguel Marino, PhD
  7. The Role of Online Forums in an Occupational Safety and Health Training for Young Workers. Diane S. Rohlman, PhD, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA; Megan Parish, MPH; Diane L. Elliott, MD; Ginger Hanson, PhD
  8. How Did You Get That Job? Lessons Learned From Academic and Applied Job Searches. Panelist: Layla Mansfield, MS
  9. What Employers Want: Preparing for Occupational Health Jobs. Panelist: Leslie Hammer, PhD
  10. A Mentee’s Perspective in Launching a Successful Career. Janelle Cheung, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
  11. Total Worker Health® Intervention for Construction Workers Improves Safety, Health, Well-Being. W. Kent Anger, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR; Jason Yano, MS; Katie Vaughn, BA; Bradley Wipfli, PhD; Ryan Olson, PhD; Magali Blanco, BS
  12. Differences in Perceived Social Support for Safe Patient Handling by Gender Among Healthcare Workers. David A. Hurtado, ScD, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR; Alejandra Garfias; Anjali Rameshbabu, PhD; Rachel A. Matsumoto, MS; Leslie B. Hammer, PhD
  13. Applying of Social Network Analysis to Identify Safety Champions. David A Hurtado, ScD, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR; Yaritza Rodriguez, BSc; Samuel A. Greenspan, MPH; Lisset Dumet, MBA
  14. Hello Research, Meet Practice: Plans for Action to Disseminate Total Worker Health®. Anjali Rameshbabu, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR; Rachel A. Matsumoto, MS; Dan Austin, MS; W. Kent Anger, PhD; Leslie B. Hammer, PhD

Other Resources
Total Worker Health topic page, OccHealthSci Resource Directory
OHWC Toolkit Kiosk

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