David Hurtado, Sc.D.

  • Assistant Professor, Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences
  • Assistant Professor, OHSU-PSU School of Public Health


I study workplace determinants of health inequities. I partner with workers, employers, regulators, and community-based organizations to conduct epidemiological and applied research toward improving occupational health and safety. My research integrates theoretical and methodological tools from various public health disciplines, chiefly the Total Worker Health ® approach. My studies primarily focus on healthcare workers exposed to multiple stressors and safety hazards that increase the risk of work-related disability due to mental illnesses or musculoskeletal disorders.

A distinct feature of my applied research is the development of semi-structured organizational interventions, whereby stakeholders receive training on hazard control and prevention, supportive supervision, and safety leadership to then decide how to address relevant concerns at their workplaces. My epidemiological research identifies drivers of occupational injuries as well as the impact of work-life factors (e.g., work-family conflict, flexible work hours, paid leaves) on producing and maintaining  health (in)equities.
I hold a secondary appointment at the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, where I teach Social Determinants of Health (CPH521), advise students in the Public Health Practice MPH program, and serve on various committees. I am a member of the editorial board of Occupational Health Science journal, and several professional and academic associations.
I received graduate (SM and ScD degrees) and postgraduate (Yerby postdoctoral fellowship) training at the Harvard. T. H. Chan School of Public Health. I also hold a graduate specialization in Occupational and Organizational Psychology from Universidad El Bosque, Colombia, and two undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Anthropology, from Universidad de los Andes, Colombia.

Research Projects

Principal investigator
• Work-life check-ins: Burnout is a long-standing and critical problem in healthcare. In response, Abigail Lenhart, MD (MPI, Associate Professor, OHSU School of Medicine) and I have designed a semi-structured intervention consisting of supervisor-employee check-ins to identify and address burnout drivers. We will conduct a randomized controlled trial at several primary care clinics to test the effectiveness of the check-ins in reducing burnout via improvements to work stressors and increased supervisor support. Funding: National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH), U19OH010154, Oregon Healthy Workforce Center (2021-2026); Medical Research Foundation of Oregon (2020-2021).

• Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (OR-FACE program). Every workplace fatality is a devastating event. The FACE program conducts epidemiological surveillance and case investigations of workplace fatalities in Oregon to guide prevention and control measures. We also perform outreach through regulators, worker's compensation insurers, and community-based organizations to engage people in high-risk industries. Funding: NIOSH, U60OH012411 Oregon Occupational Public Health Program, Curtis Cude (MPI, Oregon Health Authority) (2021-2026).

• Safety Integration Stakeholders (SAINTS) program for rural hospitals.  There are overlapping risk factors that lead to a patient fall or a worker low-back injury, yet most hospitals have siloed departments for either employee safety or patient safety. To address this problem, I have designed a program implemented at one rural hospital with 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  randomized controlled trial at six rural hospitals to evaluate the process and effectiveness of worker and patient outcomes. Funders: Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences (2016-2020).

Education and training

    • B.A., 2005, Universidad de los Andes (Anthropology)
    • B.A., 2006, Universidad de los Andes (Psychology)
    • M.Sc., 2010, Harvard School of Public Health
    • Sc.D., 2013, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Fellowship

    • Yerby Postdoctoral Research Fellow 2013-2015

Areas of interest

  • Total Worker Health
  • mental health
  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • occupational injuries
  • mental health
  • work stress
  • social determinants of health

Honors and awards

  • Yerby Postdoctoral Research Fellow 2013-2015



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