Supporting a Diverse Workforce in the Face of Ongoing Societal Trauma

Diversity, inclusion, equity and society

Fall 2022 Symposium

Friday, December 9, 2022
9 AM - 3 PM Pacific Time
Virtual via WebEx

Sponsored by Portland State University Occupational Health Psychology Program, the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center and the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences

Course Description

Burnout has traditionally been a topic unique to the workplace, but with the bombardment of ongoing chronic societal stressors, the workforce is experiencing exhaustion on a deeper and more widespread level. With the ongoing pandemic, the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the BLM movement and race-related violence, the War in Ukraine, mass shootings, and climate change, employers are now confronted with the need to protect and navigate a workforce dealing with collective societal trauma, in addition to the stressors at both work and home that have traditionally been the focus of occupational safety and health professionals. These efforts are even more critical for BIPOC employees, women, and marginalized members of the workforce who have been disproportionately affected. This virtual symposium will highlight a number of speakers from academia and industry who are navigating challenges and developing solutions for how to protect and promote the health and safety of a nationally exhausted workforce affected by ongoing societal stressors.

Welcome and Introductions

Tori Crain, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Portland State University, Portland, Oregon

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Empowering Total Worker Health® in a Traumatized Workforce

Heidi Hudson, MPH
Commander, U.S. Public Health Service
Health Scientist
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Division of Science Integration

As change permeates work in the U.S. and the lines between work and nonwork further muddle, employers, workers, and their families must continuously adapt to these evolving working conditions. Lack of childcare infrastructure; wage and health disparities;  elevated rates of work-related stress, burnout, and substance use disorders; disruptions in the labor force, and accelerations in technology all beg the need for more holistic and integrated interventions that simultaneously address risks on and off the job. Due to the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, health and social-related issues pertaining to work and family have become a more imminent priority for U.S. policymakers, scholars, employers, workers, and their families. This talk will highlight the latest NIOSH and Total Worker Health® initiatives addressing the Future of Work, and Work and Climate, Mental Health, and Opioid Use Disorders, Diversity and Inclusion, and others. Also discussed include opportunities for promoting worker well-being, and encouraging collaborations across the spectrum of organizational programs and policies that have a multidirectional effect on the safety, health, and well-being of workers, their families, communities, employers, and society as whole.

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Compassion Fatigue: Work, Productivity, Life and Health

Dede Montgomery, MS, CIH
Program Manager, 
Our Good Health & Well-Being
Employee Health Services
Legacy Health

Most employees have felt even more stress in their lives during the pandemic and in its aftermath. One of the things that may add to this stress and our ability to cope is the need to provide caregiving and compassion to others. Employees who work as caregivers (including teachers) can experience compassion fatigue. However, often, employees not directly caring for people professionally provide care for loved ones, and can experience this type of fatigue.

In this session we will 1) Define and explain compassion fatigue; 2) Explore how caring for others can cause ill health and lower well-being and what employees can do; 3) Describe what employers can do to assist both employees who are caregivers on the job, and employees who are caregiving for loved ones, and how it relates to Total Worker Health.

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Understanding and Connecting Resilience and Microaggressions

Danielle King, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Rice University, Houston TX

In this talk, I will discuss ways to identity workplace microaggressions and also adaptive routes to encourage and support resilience to race-related challenges (e.g., microaggressions). This talk will unpack the complex relationship between resilience and identity and offer insights meant to help guide future research and practice related to these two concepts.


Emotional First Aid:  What is it?  What do you say? How do you help?  

June Vining
CEO/Executive Director
Trauma Intervention Program of Portland/Vancouver

Have you ever wondered what to say to someone during or after a time of crisis?  Learn the difference between curing and caring, what people need after a sudden death or traumatic event, the one characteristic survivors of tragic events value most and how to put your compassion into action.

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Industry Panel discussion - Supporting Diverse Public Sector Workers Affected by Societal Trauma: Current Challenges and Future

In this facilitated panel discussion, three experts representing important and deeply affected industries (i.e., healthcare, education, and social work), will discuss challenges facing these public sector workers during this difficult time. Additionally, the speakers will share current innovative initiatives that their organizations are undertaking to promote and protect the health and safety of this workforce.


  • Healthcare Providers: Abigail A. Lenhart, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, School of Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University
  • Child Welfare Workers: Amy Hinkle, CCISM, Wellbeing Coordinator and Child Welfare Equity, Training, and Workforce Development, Oregon Department of Human Services
  • Education Workers, Teachers, and Faculty: Jaime Rodriguez, President, American Federation of Teachers - Oregon, AFL-CIO

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Discussion, Questions, Recap