Research on Workplace and Social Determinants of Health
We conduct applied and epidemiological research on workplace and social determinants of health. Our studies, funded by competitive grants, have focused primarily on the healthcare industry. However, we also have examined occupational health and safety issues in other high-risk and marginalized workforces in Oregon and beyond. We partner with community-based organizations, regulators, and employers to identify and intervene on risk factors for two prevalent and costly causes of disability: mental illnesses and musculoskeletal disorders. Several organizational and public health theories and methods, including the Total Worker Health®, inform our approach. Our objective is to design, implement and evaluate evidence-based programs to control harmful physical and psychosocial exposures, and to promote health in the workplace.
- Work-life check-ins: The objective of this study is to conduct a cluster-randomized control trial to test the effectiveness of regular supervisor-staff check-ins in reducing burnout among primary care clinic employees. In collaboration with Abigail Lenhart, MD, we have designed a program, so that clinic supervisors reduce staff burnout via 1) addressing workflow breakdowns, 2) improving communication and trust alignment, and 3) providing information about health and safety resources. Funders: Oregon Healthy Workforce Center, Medical Research Foundation of Oregon.
- Integrated Safe Patient Handling and Mobility program: Our pilot program implemented at one rural hospital had four components: 1) involvement of patient and worker safety stakeholders, 2) application of Social Network Analysis (SNA) to identify peer-recognized safety leaders; 3) training to stakeholders on safety leadership, and 4) Quality Improvement (QI) short cycles to reduce safety barriers. Our pilot program improved several leading indicators, Good Catch reporting while reducing patient-assist injury rates. We now aim to conduct a cluster randomized controlled trial among rural hospitals to evaluate the process and effectiveness of worker and patient outcomes. Funders: Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences.
- Health and equity effects of a paid parental leave policy. In collaboration with Julia Goodman, Ph.D., and Dawn Richardson, DrPH, we conduct multi-method evaluations of paid parental or family leave benefits among a diverse sample of employees of a large public organization (Funder: OHSU-PSU School of Public Health).
Current Lab Members
David Hurtado, Sc.D.
Sam A. Greenspan, MPH (2017 - ): I am currently a doctoral student in the Occupational Therapy program at Pacific University. I received my bachelor's degree in psychology from Lewis and Clark College in 2010. I later completed my masters’ of public health degree Graduate University's School of Community and Global Health in 2016, where I also received the Meritorious School of Community and Global Health Fellowship Award. As the primary research assistant in the Hurtado Lab for Workplace and Social Determinants of Health, I contribute to every aspect of project management, from IRB protocols to content development, data analysis, and grant writing. In addition to my work in the Hurtado Lab, I volunteer as a community grant evaluator for the Oregon Community Foundation, financial officer for the Oregon Program Evaluators Network, and a member of the Oregon Public Health Association's Health, Education and Promotion section.
Rachel Madjlesi, MPH, CIH (2021-): I am a doctoral student in Safety Sciences through Indiana University of Pennsylvania (hybrid program). I have a Masters in Public Health from Oregon State University, a Graduate Certificate in Industrial Hygiene from Tulane University, and a BS in Biology from the University of North Alabama. Prior to this position, I worked as an Environmental Health and Safety Manager for almost 10 years.
Former Lab Member
Lisset Dumet, MBA (2017-2019)
Current doctoral Student, Health Systems and Policy, OHSU-PSU School of Public Health. Lisset contributed to data analysis and evaluation of workplace programs and policies.