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Occupational Health Sciences Awarded Center of Excellence Grant

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has awarded the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences a ($1.02M) Center of Excellence grant, which will fund the new Oregon Healthy WorkForce Center (OHWC). The OHWC’s primary theme is Intervention Effectiveness, which focuses on providing integrated safety and health protection and health promotion interventions in Oregon workplaces. The funding is unique in that it addresses total worker health in single programs — traditionally, safety protection and health promotion have been administered in separate, unrelated programs. The Institutes’s projects will concentrate on: 1) team-based and technology-based interventions to promote and protect health, all crafted with attention to translating research into practice; and 2) improved social support and reduced job stress, which will in turn will produce improved lifestyle choices, safer work practices, and better psychological and physical health.

The OHWC is a collaboration of the Oregon Institute of Occupational Sciences, Portland State University’s (PSU) Occupational Health Psychology (OHP) program, the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research (CHR) and the University of Oregon’s Labor Education Research Center (LERC). The OHWC is headed by  the Institute's Associate Director Dr. Kent Anger (Center PI) and Dr. Leslie Hammer, PSU Occupational Health Psychology Program Director (OHWC Associate PI).

Three research projects are at the heart of the ORhwc:

• Creating health and safety “Communities of Practice” for Home Care workers (Ryan Olson, PI, Occupational Health Sciences) a peer-led curriculum will be developed to organize home care workers into neighborhood- based WorkLife teams that provide education and social support for improving lifestyle (e.g., diet, exercise) and safety behaviors.

• Team-based WorkLife and safety intervention for construction workers (Leslie Hammer, PI, PSU) supervisors will be trained in the use of a team-based approach to support balance in employee’s work-family demands, thus reducing stress and improving safety in City of Portland construction workers.

• Health promotion intervention to reduce health risks among Correctional officers (Kerry Kuehl, PI, CHR, OHSU) a team-based, peer-led approach and one-on-one health coaching with motivational interviewing will be employed to improve lifestyle (e.g., diet) choices in corrections workers.

Two translational projects will deliver proven training using communications technology:

• Health promotion and health protection in young workers (Diane Rohlman, PI, Occupational Health Sciences at OHSU) internet-delivered training will be utilized to foster healthy lifestyle choices and safe work practices among young summer workers in a Parks and Recreation department. Information dissemination will be enhanced using social media.

• Supervisor training to promote health/safety in construction (Latino+non-Latino) (Kent Anger, PI, Occupational Health Sciences) training in supervisory skills will be supported by behavior tracking technology in Latino and non-Latino construction supervisors to motivate their employees to adopt healthier lifestyle choices and safer work practices.

The OHWC will also sponsor Outreach and Education Programs that build on existing programs at OHSU/Occupational Health Sciences, Portland State University and the University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center (LERC). The Outreach program is led by Dede Montgomery (OHSU/Occupational Health Sciences) and the Education program is led by Steve Hecker (UO/LERC).  OHWC Center Manager Kendra Evans is the point of contact for the Education programs.  Dan Austin supports the website and symposia.

The OHWC faculty consists of the PIs of the 5 projects, Core Directors, and key people funded by the OHWC projects. The staff are funded by the OHWC and OHSU/Occupational Health Sciences to support the Center.


W. Kent Anger, PhD (Center Director; Project PI)

Fred Berman, PhD

Todd Bodner, PhD

Diane Elliot, MD, FACP, FACSM (Director, Internal Steering Committee)

Leslie B. Hammer, PhD (Center Associate Director; Project PI)

Steve Hecker, MSPH

Jennifer Hess, MPH, CD, PhD

Kerry Kuehl, MD, DrPH (Project PI)

Mike Lasarev, MS

R. Stephen Lloyd, PhD (PI, Pilot Project program)

Dede (Dorothy) Montgomery, CIH, MS (Outreach Director; co-Director, Education Project)

Ryan Olson, PhD (Project PI)

Nancy Perrin, PhD (Design and Analysis Core Director)

Diane S. Rohlman, PhD (Project PI)

Donald Truxillo, PhD

Brad Wipfli, PhD


Kendra Evans, MPH (Center Manager)

Alisa Mukai (Administrative Assistant)

Lynne Rowell (Financial Analyst)

Janice Stewart, BS (Financial Management)

To learn more about the OHWC, visit