Come attend our Summer Institute!

Here at the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center, we’re excitedly preparing for the 2016 Summer Institute: OHP Innovation and Creative Strategies Leading to Total Worker Health, July 12-14, 2016. Download the program here.

Experts from academia and industry will discuss cutting-edge research in Occupational Health, share real-world experiences, and brainstorm active strategies to bring Total Worker Health into the workplace. Our speakers, excellent in their field, come from across the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands.

With a steady flow of attendees, our spots are filling up quickly so we encourage you to register at the earliest. Register online.

When: July 12-14, 2016
Where: Portland State University, Portland, OR.
Where can I stay: We have rooms blocked at Hotel Modera with guaranteed special event rates until July 1; please book at your earliest!

Visit our Summer Institute webpage for more details.

SI 2014, Leslie HammerSI 2014, Donald Truxillo


Welcome 2016 summer interns!


Twelve of our fifteen 2016 interns.

It’s that time again! Our summer research interns have begun showing up – ready to dive into occupational health and safety research. We are so lucky to be able to collaborate with such energetic and bright young people.

This summer we welcome 15 interns:

Yvonne Barsalou – Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR – Lim Lab
Georgeann Booth –Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR – Shea Lab
Todd Carroll – University of Portland, Portland, OR – Olson Lab
Kathleen Daly-Jensen – Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA – Turker Lab
Alejandra Garfias – Portland State University, Portland, OR – Hammer Lab
Ali Noel Gunesch – Brown University, Providence, RI – Allen Lab
Julia Khoury – Oregon State University, Corvallis, WA – Olson Lab
Sadie Krahn – George Fox University, Newberg, OR – Kretzschmar Lab
Eleanor Lagnion – Washington State University, Pullman, WA – Wipfli Lab
Luke Mahoney – Portland State University, Portland, OR – Hammer Lab
Mubark Mebrat –Portland State University, Portland, OR –Lloyd Lab
Natalie Ploof – Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA – Wipfli Lab
Austen Suits – University of Washington, Seattle, WA – Spencer Lab
Shivam Swamy – University of Portland, Portland, OR – Butler Lab
Vivienne Voisin – Portland State University, Portland, OR – Hurtado Lab

To be eligible for an Institute-funded award, students must be Oregon residents or attend college in Oregon, and be undergraduates. Thank you to all students who applied for these very competitive awards.

Biking to work: Have you performed your JHA?

FullSizeRender[1] (1)Many of us here at the Institute commute to work by bike. And OHSU has logged riders this year with surpassing 70,000 commuting miles! Certainly, bicycle commuting continues to gain popularity – and for all kinds of good reasons. It’s healthy, it reduces our carbon footprint …it makes us feel better and leads us to be more productive during the day.

That being said, I have a few friends who believe bike commuting to be a dangerous and unsafe choice. Perhaps, just like we do for our day jobs, we need to take this concern seriously and implement risk prevention. I’ve been thinking about this a lot –  about the tragedies that occur when cars and bicycles meet. In addition to doing everything we can to make our roads safer for all forms of travel – vehicles, bikes, pedestrians – and educating everyone about the “rules and responsibilities” of the road, we all need to do our own Job Hazard Analysis, and plan accordingly.

My JHA for my commute might look a bit like this:

Task Description: Riding a bicycle to work, and home again.

Hazard Descriptions: Potential falls, Collisions with both animate and inanimate objects (especially big shiny moving ones), Temperature extremes.

Hazard Controls:

  1. PPE: wear the appropriate visible clothing for the expected weather,  select non-slip footwear (nope, not flip flops), and a brain protector (helmet) that fits, glasses as needed.
  2. Protect against the elements of inclement weather and darkness: do you engineer it out (like me, I don’t ride in the dark or heavy rains, plus I use lights during daylight as I have a long and not always bike-friendly commute) or choose as many administrative protections as possible (thoughtfully choose your route, avoid high hazard areas, outfit yourself so you are visible, follow all the rules of the road).
  3. Follow standard safety practices (yes, that means following traffic signals and rules of the road).
  4. Prepare for surprises (choose your route carefully, be fully mindful during the commute, be prepared for daily surprises (yes, in Oregon, blackberry vines can grow a foot overnight and suddenly spike through the bike lane, especially on Terwilliger Blvd).
  5. Ride defensively and try to be thoughtful, kind and generous with those around you – but always prepare for those surprises (and yes, this can be hard when you were just cut off by a driver texting or the ear-budded pedestrians who might be sharing our sidewalks and trails – oh, right, we already blogged about that!)

It’s summer – likely another hot one. Hydrate – ride safely – and stay healthy!

What about you – do you have additional safety tips to suggest?

OccHealthSci topic: Transportation <<<Bicycles
Bicycle Transportation Alliance
City of Portland PBOT Portland Bike Maps & Trip Planning

Building a Total Worker Health ® Case for the Construction Industry

Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences attended the Pacific Northwest Apprenticeship Education Conference (PNWAEC) 2016, an event hosted by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI).

The biennial conference brought together policy makers, educators, business leaders and professionals in the construction trades. The goal of the conference was to create, “a platform to strengthen Registered Apprenticeship, empower the skilled trades Workforce and connect business, government and education.”

Jason Yano standing in front of poster at PNWAEC

Jason Yano describes his poster

Jason Kyler-Yano and Kent Anger presented a poster on their intervention study designed to improve the safety and health and wellbeing of construction workers and to teach supervisor skills to foremen, superintendents, project managers and anyone who has employees or subcontractor employees report to him or her, and a series of Get Healthier cards on healthy lifestyles.

Fred Berman speaks to attendee about occupational resources at PNWAEC

Fred Berman at PNWAEC

Diane Rohlman and Megan Parish presented findings from their study funded by the Bureau of Labor and Industries Apprenticeship and Training Division and the Oregon Department of Transportation, Office of Civil Rights: “A Foundation of Health: Evolution of a Nutrition Training for Apprentices in Oregon,” described factors impacting construction workers health and safety that reach beyond traditional occupational hazards. The study had two goals: 1) conduct an assessment of the health and safety needs of construction apprentices, and 2) develop and evaluate an online nutrition training for construction apprentices. Detailed findings will be available shortly.

Fred Berman represented the Institute as an exhibitor and presented Health Impacts Safety Guides and Toolbox Talk Guides developed by the Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (OR-FACE).

Diane Rohlman, Megan Parish, Jason Kyler-Yano, Kent Anger at PNWAEC

Diane Rohlman, Megan Parish, Jason Kyler-Yano, Kent Anger at PNWAEC

Events like these highlight the importance of the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Science’s continued focus on Research-to-Practice and allow researchers to more deeply connect with the communities we serve.

Trading notes across the ocean

Many thanks to ANB Laboratories for allowing us to perform a walkthrough Practicum.

Many thanks to ANB Laboratories for allowing us to perform a walkthrough Practicum.


More team planning.

More team planning.

Being part of OHSU Global Health SE Asia has given us a terrific opportunity to collaboratively learn with our Thai partners. As part of OHSU’s Alliance with Bangkok Dusit Medical Services I am in the midst of teaching a five-day class in Bangkok to occupational health and nursing professionals, kindly joined by two seasoned occupational health nurses. I thank my OHN friends, Karin Drake of Kaiser and Mary Salazar of the University of Washington, for joining me on this trip.

In addition to enhancing our training participants’ hazard identification and action planning skills, we are comparing and contrasting the strengths and weaknesses of the US and Thai occupational health systems. Without a doubt there are some things that work better here in Thailand, and others that are more effective in the States. But thanks to global learning opportunities like this, we can try to examine the best of both as we move ahead to provide the healthiest and safest environments for all workers everywhere.

Lead Instructor Dede Montgomery, MS, CIH.

Lead Instructor Dede Montgomery, MS, CIH


Sharing an example of an ergonomic-related Total Worker Health intervention.


Sharing results of a hazard mapping Practicum.


Dr. Santaya Pruenglampoo from Thailand Social Security Office joins in discussion about differences between Thai and US occupational laws.


Oregon campaign to prevent falls in construction

L to R: Harvey McGill (PNW OSHA Education Center), Cecil Tipton, (Oregon Area Director, OSHA), David Douglas, Dan Daley and Russ Nicolai

L to R: Harvey McGill (PNW OSHA Education Center), Cecil Tipton, (Oregon Area Director, OSHA), David Douglas, Dan Daley and Russ Nicolai

On May 6 there were 60+ attendees at the Portland, Oregon Stand-Down event.  A few truly went the distance and traveled from Idaho and Washington.  Several local organizations (see April 29 blog) began collaborating in January to ensure an effective campaign during 2016 National Safety Stand-down week (May 2-6).  These partners, among many things, arranged for advertising on metro buses, presentations at safety meetings, distributed resources to association members, apprenticeship programs, and workers compensation safety consultants.  The May 6 event was a culmination of all the activities that the partners initiated for and during the week.

Special thanks to industry experts, Dan Daley (Daley Construction), Russ Nicolai (Snyder, roofing contractor), and David Douglas (Fred Shearer & Sons) for their presentations.  Several attendees noted that their discussions on personal experience, commitment and passion were extremely valuable.

Russ Nicolai and attendees

Russ Nicolai and attendees

Harvey facilitating panel discussion

Harvey facilitating panel discussion



Connecting at work


Institute Staff enjoy a sunny lunch.

When I first started working here at OHSU it took me awhile to adjust to an academic research environment. Research, like some other industries, is sometimes stereotyped as made up of a workforce focused more on working solo than engaging socially: Work that can’t be bothered by coffee breaks or “chatting around the water cooler.”

Of course, what we know to be true is how we feel about the teams we work with really does affect our health, well-being, productivity and turnover!  And while we all have days with our nose to the grindstone as we eat while at our computer or dodge in early and avoid the chit chat of others; we also now encourage coworkers to take the time to be part of our team. Some days a few of us might walk the few minutes together to grab that morning tea or coffee. And other days – not everyday perhaps – we take a few minutes to sit in the sun while we eat our lunch, sharing both pleasure and business.

I’m sure now, the days that I get away from my work for that time – be it 5 or 20 minutes – enhances all aspects of me, my well-being, and my ability to be successful in what I do.

What about you and your work team? What are you doing to support your workplace relationships? We’d love to know!



Dr. Saurabh Thosar earns first place at Research Week

SaurabhWe congratulate our colleague, Saurabh Thosar, who was selected as the first place winner among postdoc oral presentations at OHSU’s annual Research Week.  Dr. Thosar’s presentation was titled Endogenous circadian rhythm in vascular function and cardiovascular risk.

Research Week 2016 consisted of four days full of events and activities celebrating the research taking place at OHSU with more than 400 participants. Dr. Saurabh supports the Shea Lab, here at Occupational Health Sciences, which investigates the effect of circadian rhythms and sleep disorders on human disease.

Learn more about Research Week. Learn more about the Shea Lab.

OccHealthSci Topic: Sleep and Shiftwork

OHSU Research Week, May 2-5

OHSU Research Week is a university-wide event that celebrates the excellence of research performed across all schools, centers, institutes (including OccHealthSci), and education programs at OHSU. It is a unique opportunity for scientists to get out of the lab or clinic and meet colleagues from various disciplines to share the fruits of their research. Here are some photos of Occupational Health Sciences faculty, staff and laboratory personnel, who presented their research findings at Monday afternoon’s poster session. You can view a complete listing of Research Week activities here.

Poster Session Overview

Poster Session Overview

Kent Anger, PhD and Jason Yano, BA

Kent Anger, PhD and Jason Yano, BA


Wylie Wan, PhD, David Robinson, OHSU Executive Vice Provost, and Leslie Hammer, PhD


Jason Yano discusses his research with Occupational Health Sciences Director, Steven Shea and Associate Director, Kent Anger


Wylie Wan, PhD and David Robinson, OHSU Vice-Provost

Matt Gieger, Ryan Opel of Dr. Miranda Lim's laboratory

Matt Gieger, Ryan Opel of Dr. Miranda Lim’s laboratory

Matt Butler, PhD, Saurabh Thosar, PhD

Wylie Wan, PhD, Matt Butler, PhD, Saurabh Thosar, PhD

Loren Habitz, PhD and Chuck Allen, PhD

Katie Vaughn, Anjali-Rameshbabu, PhD, Jason-Yano, BA and Kent Anger, PhD

Katie Vaughn, Anjali-Rameshbabu, PhD, Jason-Yano, BA and Kent Anger, PhD

National Safety Stand-Down

save the date with logos reduced

It will be the 3rd year for the National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls in construction.  The emphasis began 5 years ago with the Construction Fall Prevention Campaign.  Partners in the campaign include OSHA, NIOSH, CPWR and the NORA Construction Sector Council.  This year the Safety Stand-Down will be held during the week of May 2-6.  Employers are asked to participate by setting aside time during the week to have an open discussion with their workers about falls and how to prevent them.  Falls remain the leading cause of death in construction.  In 2014, there were 337 fall fatalities out of 874 total fatalities in construction.  Those deaths were preventable.  

Last year, nearly 2.5 million construction employers and workers took part in stand-downs in all 50 states and internationally.  This year, the goal is to involve 5 million employers and workers in stand-downs.  Meeting this goal would have a huge impact on raising awareness of the falls issue and ensuring workers return safely home to families every day.
Please help promote the fall prevention campaign and the Stand-Down by raising awareness among employers and workers about fall hazards, and by providing information they can use to prevent injury and death.  By helping us reach employers and raising awareness about the hazards of falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs, you will be part of a concerted effort throughout the nation to reduce the number of deaths and injuries that result from falls.

2016 Stand-down poster on bus
New resources have been developed for the Stand-Down including a mobile app (search for “safety stand down” in our mobile app store).  Other resources can be found on the Fall Prevention Safety Stand-Down webpage and the Campaign webpage.  Employers can receive formal recognition for participating in the event if they complete an online questionnaire and print their “Certificate of Participation.” Information about the Campaign and the Stand-Down is available on the other official web sites CPWR and NIOSH and Oregon FACE .

Partners in Oregon and Washington have collaborated to help promote this event.  On May 6 a free class on “Fall Hazard Awareness in Construction” will be offered in Portland.  You may have seen the ads on the buses. To register for the class click h
.  Class size is limited so register soon.

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