Ryan Olson Lab

Ryan Olson Lab
Ryan Olson lab members (L to R): Leah Greenspan, Jared Rimby, Josie Velasco,
Nikolas Smart, Sabina Blizzard, Ryan Olson, Rhody Elzaghal (Oct. 2019)

Research interests

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.

Current projects

Safety and Health Involvement For Truck drivers (SHIFT)

The Safety and Health Involvement For Truck drivers (SHIFT) program was a weight and health promotion program tailored for commercial truck drivers. Over 450 drivers from 5 companies participated in the SHIFT program which 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). SHIFT is currently being adapted for bus operators and will focus on the long-term prevention of weight-related health conditions while also fostering well-being, job satisfaction, and overall work performance for new employees.

Learn more about SHIFT (Safety & Health Involvement For Truckers).

Safety and Health Involvement for Truck Drivers Onboard (SHIFT Onboard)

SHIFT Onboard stands for "Success and Health Impacts For new bus operators during Onboarding." It is enhanced training and support for new bus operators during their first year on the job. The program involves group activities and discussion during operators’ initial training period, followed by collaborative and supportive online challenges. Online challenges include setting health and job success goals, and tracking goal progress and job satisfaction, and completing short training topics on health and job success. New operators’ supervisors also receive training on how to support newcomers’ safety, health, and well-being on the job.

Learn more about the SHIFT Onboard project for new bus operators.


The Tech4Rest project is a randomized controlled trial designed for team trucker drivers. The study aims to reduce fatigue, improve sleep, and increase well-being for team drivers who have an inherently challenging sleep environment (sleeping in a moving truck). The study will assess the effectiveness of an enhanced cab intervention that utilizes a therapeutic mattress and an active suspension driving seat to alter whole body vibrations. This enhanced cab intervention will be studied on its own as well as in combination with a behavioral sleep intervention. Tech4Rest project is currently in the pilot phase.

Learn more about Tech4Rest study for Team Truck Drivers

Community of Practice And Safety Support (COMPASS)

The Community of Practice And Safety Support (COMPASS) program is a peer-led social support group intervention designed to improve social resources, reduce the risk of injuries and promote health among caregivers. Over 140 home care workers participated in the COMPASS randomized controlled trial, which found that COMPASS made a significant positive impact on home care workers' perceived community of practice, use of ergonomic tools, safety communications and hazard correction, and healthy eating. The COMPASS project is being disseminated in Oregon in partnership with the Oregon Home Care Commission. COMPASS is currently being adapted for Personal Support Workers.

Learn more about COMPASS (Community of Practice and Safety Support) Teams for Home Care Workers


The OR-FACE program is designed to prevent occupational fatalities through surveillance, targeted investigation, assessment, and outreach associated with traumatic work-related deaths in Oregon. OR-FACE is supported by a cooperative agreement with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) through the Occupational Public Health Program (OPHP) of the Public Health Division of the Oregon Health Authority. OR-FACE is currently conducting three field studies focused on the development and dissemination of prevention strategies in high risk industries.

Learn more about OR-FACE (Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation)

Lab members

Nikolas Smart, MS
Nikolas Smart, MS

Nikolas Smart - Research Associate

Nikolas Smart joined the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences in April 2019 as the project manager for the Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation, (OR-FACE) and SHIFT Onboard (Success &Health Impacts for Transit operators during Onboarding) programs. Nikolas earned his MS in Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College in 2013, and has been in a variety of research projects since. Most recently, he examined the role of technology in communication methods between physicians and nurses. Nikolas is excited to be involved in state and regional work that aims to save lives, and increase quality of life. His interests outside of work include transportation development, environmental sustainability, privacy, and game design.

Sabina Blizzard
Sabina Blizzard

Sabina Blizzard - Senior Research Assistant

Sabina Blizzard joined the Oregon Institute for Occupational Health Sciences in July 2018 as the project lead for the SHIFT Onboard (Success & Health Impacts for Transit operators during Onboarding) study. Ms. Blizzard earned her BA in Biology from Lewis & Clark College, and is currently working on a Master's in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology at OHSU. Her primary academic interests are in mental health, substance abuse and behavioral interventions. In her spare time she likes to train her Australian Cattle Dog, Reuben.

Jarred Rimby
Jarred Rimby

Jarred Rimby - Research Assistant II

Jarred Rimby joined the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences in March 2018 as a Research Assistant II working across the Safety and Health Intervention for Truck Drivers (SHIFT), Tech4Rest, and Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (OR-FACE) projects. Mr. Rimby earned his BA in Chemical Biology and Global Health Studies from Whittier College. He is interested in the development and evaluation of public health interventions that seek to improve the health of vulnerable populations, particularly those that function in cross-cultural contexts.

Sydney Running
Sydney Running

Sydney Running, Research Assistant II

Sydney Running returned to the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences in February 2018 as a part-time Research Assistant II working across many of the lab's projects. She earned her BS in Health Promotion and Behavior with a focus in Community Health from Oregon State University and is currently working towards becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner. She is interested in increasing access to evidence-based preventive care, especially for women in medically underserved areas orpopulations.

Josie Velasco, BS
Josie Velasco

Josie Velasco, Research Assistant II

Josie Velasco joined the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences in July 2019 as a Research assistant 2 for the SHIFT Onboard (Success &Health Impacts for Transit operators during Onboardingprogram. Josie earned her BS in Psychology with a minor in Business from Western Oregon University in 2019 where she was involved in a variety of research projects. Her primary research interests involve leadership, change management, and behavioral interventions.  

Amelia Monfared
Amelia Monfared

Amelia Monfared - Student Research Assistant