Ryan Olson Lab


Dr. Olson's research is focused on safety and health interventions for lone workers, and on behavioral self-management methods. The overreaching goal of this research is to understand how organizations can best protect and promote health among workers who are physically isolated from peers. Dr. Olson has extensive experience conducting injury prevention and health promotion research in transportation industries (aviation, bus, trucking), but also has current projects in home health care and long-term care industries.

Recent Important Findings

Long-haul truck drivers can spend up to 11 hours driving and 14 hours on duty per day. Long sedentary hours, challenging sleep conditions, and limited exercise and eating options put drivers at-risk for excess weight gain. In 2005/06 Dr. Ryan Olson initiated a driver health research program titled Safety & Health Involvement For Truck drivers (SHIFT).  In a randomized controlled trial with 452 drivers from 5 companies, the SHIFT program produced medically meaningful and statistically significant weight loss. The difference between treatment and control groups in average weight change was –1.0 units of Body Mass Index (-7.3 lbs). This result is predicted to reduce $200 (2010 dollars) in annual health care costs per driver and reduce the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. This is the first randomized controlled trial in the US and the second trial globally (conducted in Finland) to produce a result so strong.

Click here to read about Dr. Olson's current research 

Lab Members

Olson Lab Group, December 2016
 Ryan Olson Lab (L to R): Layla Mansfield, Jason Malach-Fuller,
Kelsey Parker, Barb Epstien, Ryan Olson (Dec. 2016)

Kelsey Parker - Postdoctoral Researcher

Kelsey Parker
Dr. Parker earned her bachelors degree in Psychology at the University of Tulsa in Tulsa, OK in May 2010. She continued at the University of Tulsa and completed her Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology in May 2015. She joined the Institute for Occupational Health Sciences in June 2015 and is currently serving as the project manager for the Community of Practice and Safety Support (COMPASS) program as well as a collaborator on the Safety and Health Intervention for Truck Drivers (SHIFT) study. Dr. Parker's previous research focused on examining the impact of stressors in the workplace and on assessing strategies for stress recovery. She has conducted research studies in the areas of workplace aggression, workday fatigue, work-life conflict, off-work recovery activities, self-concept resources, and job attitudes.  Her current research interests include reduction of work-related strain and interventions to improve resource availability and well-being in vulnerable working populations.

Barb Epstien - Research Associate

Barb Epstien, MPH, CIH, FAIHA

 Barb Epstien recently (2016) joined the Oregon Institute for Occupational Health Sciences as Fatality Investigator and Outreach Specialist in the Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation, (OR-FACE) program. Ms. Epstien is a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) with more than 25 years' experience in occupational and environmental health and safety including consulting, training, and OSHA regulatory compliance. She has worked with employers and employees in a variety of industry sectors. Ms. Epstien earned her MPH from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and her BA from Knox College. She is a Fellow of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (FAIHA) and is an active AIHA member both locally (Pacific NW Section) and nationally (Construction Committee).

Layla Mansfield - Research Coordinator

Layla Mansfield
Layla Mansfield joined the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences in fall of 2016 as the Research Coordinator for the Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation, (OR-FACE) and the Safety and Health Intervention for Truck Drivers (SHIFT) study. Ms. Mansfield earned her MS from Portland State University and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology with a minor in Occupational Health Psychology. She enjoys applying scientific principles to enhance organizational and employee outcomes and has conducted previous studies examining training effectiveness, employee turnover, and workplace safety.  

Jason Malach-Fuller - Research Assistant II

Jason Malach-Fuller

Mr. Malach-Fuller earned his bachelor of science degree in Psychology at Portland State University in Portland, OR in March 2016. He joined the Institute for Occupational Health Sciences in November 2015 and is currently serving as a research assistant with the Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (OR-FACE) program and for a Team Truck Driver Project (Tech4Rest) under the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center (OHWC). His current interests include work place diversity and inclusion, and will soon be pursuing his MBA in Project Management.