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Developing community based research with immigrants.

Azaroff-LS; Levenstein-C; Silka-L
NIOSH 2003 Dec; :1-6
Occupational health surveillance systems in the U.S. have been described as fragmented, incomplete and unreliable. These problems appear especially significant for immigrant workers. Immigrant workers also experience more hazardous working conditions and less access to health care and preventive services than their proportion in the overall population. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of community-based data collection and occupational health interventions among minority populations that include large numbers of immigrants. Executing this study was to allow the principal investigator to develop skills vital to performing occupational safety and health research among vulnerable populations for whom data are not readily available. Approaches used included gathering of existing baseline data from medical and workers' compensation records; collection of baseline data through an original household survey; systematic comparison of types of information found in each data source; participatory educational activities with workers in collaboration with three community partner organizations; and engaging workers and local employers in identifying occupational health and safety issues of concern and designing interventions. Researchers surveyed 160 Lowell residents of Lao and Cambodian ethnicity about their work and health; collected workers' compensation lost-time data on the target population; and collected hospital data from one area hospital on the target population. The results of these investigations are described in two publications listed in the publications section, below. Discussions with the project's Advisory Board and community partners inspired additional literature reviews on obstacles and current issues in occupational health surveillance, particularly for special populations of vulnerable workers. In preparation for the intervention phase of the proposed project, representatives from the partner organizations, state and federal agencies, and medical facilities met to work through case studies of injured immigrant workers based on the survey findings. Participants proposed regular work sessions to develop semi-formal networks for mutual support around occupational health issues. Investigators also presented trainings to six groups of 12-20 local Southeast Asian workers in cooperation with the community partner organizations and collected notes taken at similar trainings.
Demographic-characteristics; Racial-factors; Occupational-health; Occupational-hazards; Health-care; Health-hazards; Work-environment; Safety-measures
Lenore S. Azaroff, Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, One University Avenue, Lowell, MA 01854
Publication Date
Document Type
Final Grant Report
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Fiscal Year
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NIOSH Division
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
University of Lowell Research Foundation, Lowell, Massachusetts