What's Work Got To Do With It? Podcast

What's Work Got To Do With It Podcast logo

Did you know that we spend 1/3 of our lives at work? It’s no wonder that our work experiences can affect our well-being. But do we know how? How do work hours affect your health? How can your workplace culture help you stay safe on the job? Is your supervisor supportive when you need to take time off to care for a loved one? How can you bring Total Worker Health® into your workplace?

Podcast Goals:

  • Inform the community on how work can affect safety, health, and well-being
  • Discuss the public health significance of occupational health
  • Make science accessible for all through sharing of basic and applied science

There are several ways to listen:

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Our podcast will invite you into the conversation as we discuss questions like these. We’ll dig into some of the science behind the biological impact of our environment, how conditions like work hours, occupational stress and workplace safety affect our health, and what we can do to prevent negative consequences and promote well-being.

What's Work Got To Do With Sedentary Behavior?

Learn about Ryan Olson and Brad Wipfli's research at the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center. They discuss how their Total Worker Health interventions have helped decrease sedentary behavior (sitting time) and increase physical activity in the workplace. Dr. Olson shares insight into studying team truck drivers in the Tech4Rest study and Dr. Wipfli shares his research studying call center workers in the Active Workplace study.

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What's Work Got To Do With The Oregon Total Worker Health Alliance?

In 2017, Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences, Oregon OSHA and SAIF Corporation signed the first state-wide Alliance to expand the knowledge and application of Total Worker Health® principles by leveraging the strengths of three state-based organizations. In our latest podcast episode, we discuss the Oregon Total Worker Health® Alliance with Liz Hill and Dede Montgomery.  Learn about the Alliance's accomplishments the last three years and their efforts to expand Total Worker Health education and training

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What's Work Got To Do With The Great Resignation

Dr. Berrin Erdogan, a Professor of Management at Portland State University's School of Business discusses factors leading employees to leave their jobs in large numbers, the resulting pressures and major challenges facing organizations and employees left behind and the opportunities arising from this experience to reshape the future of work.  Her research focuses on employer-employee relationship as it relates to employee well-being, effectiveness, engagement and retention in the workplace.

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What's Work Got To Do With Fishing Forward?

Fishing Forward is a podcast inspired by fisherman, for fisherman. Fishing Forward focuses on the safety, health and well-being of the commercial fishing industry and is funded by the Northeast Center for Occupational Health and Safety and produced by the team at Coastal Routes Radio at the University of Guelph. 

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What's Work Got To Do With Summer Interns?

The OccHealthSci Summer Internship program began in 1995 and is designed to introduce undergraduate students to biomedical and occupational health research. We provide unique research opportunities across various basic and applied research areas. We spoke to 4 of our 2022 Summer Interns as they share their experience working alongside Institute researchers and how this experience will inform their future careers in research, clinical health and public health.

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What's Work Got to Do With Brain Cleansing Technology: Better Sleep For A Better Tomorrow?

Dr. Miranda Lim is a neurologist with board certification in Sleep Medicine. She is an Associate Professor in Neurology with secondary appointments in Behavioral Neuroscience and Medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine, as well as an Affiliate Faculty member at the Institute with a joint appointment as a Staff Physician and Research Investigator at the Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System. Her research program, Sleep & Health Applied Research Program (SHARP) focuses on understanding the function of sleep in neurological disorders across the lifespan. Some examples include autism spectrum disorder, traumatic brain injury (TBI), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and aging/neurodegenerative disease. She talks to us about her study funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, a three-year project that involves a head-worn device to enhance sleep.

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What's Work Got to Do With Respectful Workplace Programs in the Trades?

In Part 2 of Inclusion and Worker Well-Being in the Trades, we interview Tiffany Thompson, former Director of Workforce Equity and Technical Assistance of Oregon Tradeswomen and Dr. Maura Kelly an Associate Professor of Sociology at Portland State University.  Both Tiffany and Maura support, engage and help workplaces gain tools and provide education for respectful workplace programs. They provide program support and research opportunities to help build capacity, such as investing resources and time to contribute to cultural shifts needed on trade job sites.

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What's Work Got to Do With Inclusion and Worker Well-being in the Trades?

After raising her sons as a single mom, working as a union heavy equipment operator and working as an advocate for women for almost two decades, Kelly Kupcak relocated to the Pacific Northwest to serve as Oregon Tradeswomen’s Executive Director. Kelly is honored to be a part of the work and mission of Oregon Tradeswomen which helps women move into dynamic careers in the skilled trades so they can take care of themselves and their families.

We invite one of Oregon Tradeswomen's partners and supporters, Larry S. Williams. Larry has worked at the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) for 25 years and manages the Highway Construction Workforce Development Program which is sponsored by the Oregon Department of Transportation and managed by BOLI. This program has funded the Green Dot Bystander Intervention to a construction environment and to build capacity at Oregon Tradeswomen to deliver the Rise Up! curriculum.

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What's Work Got to Do With Designing Flexible Work and Pay Equity for Black and Latinx Women?

Charlice Hurst, Ph.D. is an assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business and teaches social entrepreneurship and social innovation.. Her current research focuses on how to build an equitable workplace in the context of rapid changes to the economy and workplace.  Dr. Hurst is also a co-developer of the Just Wage Framework and Tool, which consists of a set of seven criteria for determining the justness of a wage. Flexible work and racial equity are rarely considered in the same conversation. There are far fewer places that offer Black and Latinx women the cultural resources, economic opportunities and sense of safety that all employees value.

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What's Work Got To Do With Low-wage, Essential Workers During COVID?

Dr. Tori Crain's research is focused on the diverse work-nonwork experiences of underrepresented and vulnerable workers, especially in industries and occupations that are high risk, where health and safety protections are less common, and where discriminatory practices are often at play. This episode highlights obstacles faced by essential, lower-wage shift workers, with a specific focus on the work-life challenges of fast-food workers whose experiences can be generalized to other vulnerable occupational groups.

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What's Work Got To Do With Supporting Veterans Through Art and Dance?

Román Baca is a classically trained ballet dancer and choreographer. In 2001, recognizing his desire to defend the defenseless, he took a hiatus from dance and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, serving as a machine-gunner and fire-team leader in Fallujah, Iraq during the Iraq War.  After the war, Román returned to dance and co-founded Exit12 Dance Company, which tells veterans’ stories choreographically, to increase cross-cultural understanding and heal divisions.

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What's Work Got To Do With Firefighter Shift Schedules?

Cameron Homan is a Portland Firefighter and District Representative for Portland Fire Fighter Association Local 43. Cameron is a 3rd generation firefighter with over 10 years of experience. Cameron shares with us today what life is like working as a firefighter, as well as his experience collaborating with our Institute on a shift schedule research study with Dr. Nicole Bowles Lab. 

Listen to the firefighter shift schedules podcast episode

What's Work Got To Do With 2021 Summer Interns?

We spoke to each of our 2021 Summer Interns as they share their experience working alongside institute researchers and how this experience will inform their future careers in research, clinical health, and public health. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to make the tough decision to cancel our summer intern program last summer in 2020, so we are excited to be able to host our summer intern program for 2021 and offer undergraduate students the opportunity to work on research projects virtually this year.

Listen to the 2021 Summer Intern Program podcast 

What's Work Got To Do With NIOSH's 50th?

This year is the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) 50th anniversary. Since April 28, 1971, NIOSH has funded research, education and resources in occupational safety and health. "Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 that created NIOSH to assure so far as possible every working person in the Nation has access to safe and healthful working conditions." In our latest podcast episode, we interview Dr. John Howard, the Director of the NIOSH and the Administrator of the World Trade Center Health Program in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Howard was first appointed NIOSH Director in 2002 during the George W. Bush Administration and served in that position until 2008.

Listen to the NIOSH 50th anniversary episode 

What's Work Got To Do With COVID-19 and Wildfire Smoke On Wildland Firefighters?

Dr. Luke Montrose's talk was given during our 2021 Science Seminar Series. He shares his research around wildfire smoke and COVID-19 impacting the health, safety, and well-being of Wildland Firefighters. Dr. Montrose is an environmental toxicologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Community and Environmental Health at Boise State University. Dr. Montrose's research aims to translate basic science into practical clinical and community solutions to enhance public health. His recent studies have used cutting edge technology to measure exposure-induced epigenetic changes related to diet, air pollution, heavy metals and endocrine disrupting chemicals, and related these changes to humans and animal health effects. Read Dr. Montrose's The Conversation.com article, "What’s in wildfire smoke, and why is it so bad for your lungs?" 

Listen to the wildland firefighters podcast episode

What's Work Got To Do With Farmworkers' Experiences During COVID-19?

Reyna Lopez's talk, "Essentially Forgotten?" was given at our Fall 2020 Spring Symposium where she addressed the impacts of COVID19 on the Latinx farm working community. Reyna Lopez is a leader and proud daughter of immigrants from Mexico, who came to Oregon in the late 80’s following the migration of farm work in the Marion County area. She is currently the Executive Director of  Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN), which was started by farmworkers and is now Oregon’s longest standing Latinx led organization.

Listen to the COVID-19 and farmworkers  podcast episode

Reyna's talk was originally given during our 2020 Fall Symposium last November, where speakers addressed work as a social determinant of health. 

What's Work Got To Do With Mental Health and Suicide in Construction?

The construction industry has one of the highest suicide rates compared to other industries. On today’s episode, we interview Steven Frost, Site Safety, Health and Environment Manager for a General Contractor, that is one of the largest construction firms here in Portland. Steven is a leader in our region who advocates not only for workers’ physical safety – he also works tirelessly to protect and promote mental health and suicide prevention in the construction industry.

Listen to the mental health in construction episode

In the last part of our Three Decades at the Institute Series, we wanted to highlight two special episodes where we feature our scientists:

3.1 Meet the Scientist: In this episode, we learn about how institute scientists are improving workplace safety, health and well-being. Their areas of research range from studying leadership and management supportive supervisor behaviors, peer support and injury prevention for nurses in rural hospitals around Oregon, safety climate and culture in all types of industries, as well as studying Total Worker Health workplace interventions.

Listen to "3.1 Three Decades at the Institute: Meet the Scientist" featuring Drs. Hammer, Hurtado, Huang and Anger

3.2 Meet the Scientist: In this episode, we dive into the research of five Institute basic scientists conducting studies in areas related to sleep and shift work and its' impact on safety and health, as well as their research looking at the adverse effects of occupational exposure. Learn about their research into areas of sleep, such as circadian rhythms and cardiovascular risk, the synchronicity of circadian rhythms impact on overall health, and understanding why insufficient sleep and being awake during the night leads to poorer health and impaired cognitive function. Also, we explore the factors that influence decision making that may impact our health and safety and the epigenetic responses to environmental cues or stressors

Listen to "3.2 Three Decades at the Institute: Meet the Scientist" featuring Drs. Shea, Weinhouse, McHill, Allen and Mitchell.

The Oregon institute of Occupational Health Sciences has 4 main research themes and outreach program that respond to our mission. Read more about each area. Also, learn more about all of our Institute Scientist here.

What's Work Got To Do With Safety Climate?

Safety Climate is a snapshot of an organization’s perceived “state of safety,” at a point in time. Dr. Emily (Yueng Hsiang) Huang, Ph.D.  explains safety climate, the difference between safety climate and culture, as well as different research and consulting opportunities to help assess and improve workplace safety in your workforce.  The second half of the safety climate episode highlights two of the Safety Climate Lab’s research partners, Dale Lindstrom from DeWitt Construction Demetra Star from Fortis Construction. They share how their organizations are addressing safety climate and their experience working with the safety climate team.

Listen to the safety climate podcast

To learn more about Dr. Emily Huang's Safety Climate Lab, visit: www.bit.ly/3f7hXat
Read our blog post featuring safety climate partners: www.bit.ly/3jCZ1m1
For more information on research and consultation with the safety climate lab: www.bit.ly/2BAsEVf

What's Work Got To Do With Changing a Toxic Workplace Culture?

Gian Lozano's talk, "Changing a Toxic Culture at Work" was given at our May 2020 Spring Symposium, where speakers picked up where the Spring 2019 symposium left off and continued with a deeper dive into specific lessons and tips for addressing and preventing workplace aggression in all industries and discussed practices and strategies to prevent, identify and safely mitigate aggressive behavior and violence in the workplace. The goal of the symposium was to discuss job and industry risk factors of workplace aggression and to provide guidance for workplaces.  Gian Lozano is the High Reliability Administrative Director at Veterans Affair (VA) Portland and has had a passion for developing behavioral solutions for organizations spanning over twenty years.

Listen to the Changing a Toxic Culture at Work podcast 

What's Work Got To Do With Three Decades at the Institute (Part 2)?

On Part 2 of our Three Decades at the Institute series, we highlight stakeholders in our community that have been critical and important in the development of the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences and Oregon Healthy Workforce Center's research directions through the years. These stakeholders include Kathy Nishimoto from State of Oregon’s Management-Labor Advisory Committee (MLAC), Michael Wood, the Administrator of the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Oregon OSHA), and Chuck Easterly who previously served as the Director for SAIF's  Safety and Healthy Workplace Center. 

Listen to the part 2 three decades podcast

What's Work Got To Do With Three Decades at the Institute?

We want to celebrate with our listeners three decades of research in occupational health and safety advancements here at the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences. Our newest podcast episode is part of a three episode series. In our Part 1: Three Decades at the Institute, we dig into our history, how the institute got started and how it has evolved. Our podcast guests include Drs. Peter Spencer, Ph.D, FANA, FRCPathSteve Shea, Ph.D. and Kent Anger, Ph.D. You may even get some insight about the history of the half head statue outside of the Richard Jones Hall building at OHSU.

Listen to the three decades episode  

What's Work Got To Do With Opioids?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it is reported “Abuse of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs is very costly to our Nation, which has led to over $700 billion annually in costs related to crime, lost work productivity and health care.” In addition to its complex and painful effects on the employee and their loved ones, addiction can affect their work experience. In this podcast, we highlight a talk from one of our 2019 Fall Symposia speakers, Dr. Casey Chosewood, MD, MPH, the director of the Office for Total Worker Health® at the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH). Dr. Chosewood gives an update on the nation’s opioid overdose epidemic from CDC/NIOSH.

Listen to the opioids podcast episode 

What's Work Got To Do With Interns?

Have you ever wondered what interning in a research position would be like? How data is analyzed and translated? On this episode, we will hear from OccHealthSci's Summer Intern Program participants. Each summer, undergraduate interns work with faculty mentors in basic and applied research over a three-month paid internship designed to introduce them to different areas of biomedical and occupational health research. 

Listen to the intern podcast episode

Download and view the show transcript

What's Work Got To Do With a Positive Workplace Culture?

Have you ever noticed that your mood and stress levels are affected by the words or conversations you have during meetings, with co-workers or your boss at work? How does it affect your work day and productivity? Do you think about those conversations on your commute home or have trouble falling asleep at night? What's work got to do with positive workplace culture and its impact on safety, health and well-being?  Guest, Dr. Alisha Moreland-Capuia is a physician, thought leader, educator, and the first African-American native Oregonian to become a licensed and board-certified psychiatrist. She brings an approach to solving deep, systemically rooted community issues such as addiction, violence, and healthcare.  Dr. Moreland-Capuia was a guest speaker during our Fall 2017 Symposia on "Navigating Mental Health in the Workplace."

Listen to the positive workplace culture podcast 

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What's Work Got To Do With Toxicology?

Have you ever thought about all the elements that can impact your health when you walk outside or while you're at work? Dr. Fred Berman joins us by phone to talk about Toxicology and the impact of toxic substances on the job, and how reducing risks can help workers live safer and healthier lives at work and at home. For the past 18 years, Dr. Berman served as the Director for the Toxicology and Occupational Health Information Center here at the institute.

Listen to the Toxicology podcast

Download and view the show transcript

What's Work Got To Do With Workplace Aggression?

Have you ever thought about how safe, prepared or how your organization would respond to workplace violence? The National Safety Council reports that each year, millions of American workers report having been victims of workplace violence. This episode highlights our keynote speaker from our 2019 Spring Symposia on Workplace Aggression.  Lynda Enos is an occupational health nurse and certified professional ergonomist with over 27 years of experience in industrial and health care ergonomics. She shares strategies on how to identify the risk factors associated with workplace aggression and available resources to support safer practices.

Listen to the Workplace Aggression podcast

View other 2019 Spring Symposia talks 

What's Work Got To Do With Parental Leave?

It's springtime and you know what that means? Babies! Sorry if that was too personal! But it’s kind of a personal episode. Have you ever had to take time off as a new parent? Or to care for an older family member? Does your workplace have a family or medical leave policy that allows you to take time off to care for a child or family member? Did you use all your time or have to use sick leave? Was there policy for new mothers AND fathers? To dig into these issues and concerns, we’ll be talking to Dr. David HurtadoDr. Julia Goodman and Dr. Dawn Richardson about their recent evaluation of a Parental Leave Policy that was recently implemented for all Multnomah County employees. 

Listen to the Parental Leave podcast

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What's Work Got To Do With the Cascadia Subduction Zone?

Have you ever thought about emergency preparedness at work? What happens if an earthquake hits in the middle of your workday? This podcast episode highlights one of our speakers from the institute's 2018 Fall Symposia on Emergency Preparedness. Steven Eberlein has worked for the American Red Cross for nine years. In 2016, he created Prepare Out Loud, a presentation focused on challenging the Pacific Northwest on creating a culture of preparedness for the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.

Listen to the Cascadia Subduction Zone episode

Watch Steven Eberlein's talk at our 2018 Fall Symposia

What's Work Got To Do With Sitting?

Are you in a workplace where you sit a lot? Maybe you're hunched over your computer right now? How often do you get up and move around? We know that getting exercise every day is important, but can we reduce how much we sit on the job? We went to one of our researchers, Dr. Saurabh Thosar for some answers.

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Download and view the show transcript for sitting episode

What's Work Got To Do With Sleep?

Have you ever gone to work after a bad night sleep? How productive were you at work that day? Did it make you eat any differently? Drink more coffee, maybe? Do you work the night shift? How does it affect you at work and outside of it? Sure, sleep happens at home but doesn't your work affect it? We went to one of our researchers, Dr. Andrew McHill who studies sleep and circadian misalignment for some answers.

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What's Work Got To Do With Total Worker Health®?

Total Worker Health® is a workplace approach that addresses both occupational safety and health and employee well-being in one holistic integrated effort. Our guest, Dr. Casey Chosewood, M.D., M.P.H., is the Director of the Office for Total Worker Health at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Dr. Chosewood will talk about the importance of organizational support on worker safety, health and well-being, and how your workplace can take the first step towards Total Worker Health.

Listen to the Total Worker Health® episode

Download and view the show transcript

What's Work Got To Do With Epidgentics?

You’ve probably heard many times that work, diet, sleep and stress can impact your health. But do you know how and why? And...what's work got to do with it? We went to one of our researchers at our institute, Dr. Mitch Turker who studies epigenetics for some answers. 

Listen to the epigenetics episode

Download and view the show transcript

Episode 1: What's Work Got To Do With It?

For our first episode, we invited our Outreach Director, Dede Montgomery to talk about our institute and the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center. In this episode, you will learn about our research, education and outreach efforts, as well as Total Worker Health®.

Listen to episode 1

Download and view the show transcript for episode 1


Our podcast team was interviewed on Tuesday, Sept. 18th by OHSU Week in anticipation for the upcoming launch. Listen to the featured episode, "Creating a healthy workforce" to learn more about What's Work Got To Do With It? and to hear from our Director, Steven Shea.