Expanding Research Partnerships Webinar Series, September 2020
Presentation Date: September 2, 2020
Angela Weber, MS, and Elizabeth Whelan, PhD — NIOSH
NIOSH established the Disaster Science Responder Research (DSRR) Program to develop an approach that allows for timely and scalable responder-based research that can be implemented before, during, and after a public health emergency. The presenters will describe how the DSRR program rapidly implemented a research agenda during the current COVID-19 pandemic that is addressing health and safety issues among high risk occupational groups. The program is fully integrated with the COVID-19 response and involves both intramural and extramural researchers.
Laura Syron, PhD, MPH, and Kaitlin Kelly-Reif, PhD — NIOSH
Seafood processing factories, both onshore and offshore, have reported COVID-19 outbreaks in several states and internationally. Understanding the working conditions and social factors that increase the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in this vulnerable worker population is an essential component to implementing effective prevention strategies. Through a community based participatory research (CBPR) approach, involving focus groups and interviews with workers, this newly funded project aids the COVID-19 response by providing insight into the associated social, cultural, linguistic, psychological, and economic risk factors.
Elizabeth Fisher, CHES, MAc — University of Illinois School of Public Health
The UIC Center for Healthy Work (UIC CHW), a Center of Excellence for Total Worker Health®, will present on our Center’s activities in response to COVID-19, including the process to collect and distribute COVID-19 response efforts of NIOSH-funded Extramural Centers. The CHW formed an ad hoc committee of representatives from ERCs, Ag Centers, and TWH Centers at UIC, UNC, and U Colorado. A survey was sent out to all NIOSH-funded Extramural Centers in early April 2020 to share any COVID-19 related tools, activities, webinars, research, and training that had been developed, or were in the pipeline. Responses from 25 Centers will be shared to highlight the types of COVID-19 research and outreach activities occurring at NIOSH Extramural Centers. The presentation will also cover the role of CHW and the Great Lakes Center for Occupational Health and Safety (GLC-OHS) in promoting worker health and equity in the State of Illinois during COVID-19. This includes training and technical assistance provided, policy recommendations developed, and resources created in collaboration with community organizations, local and state governments, and employers.
Marissa Baker, PhD — University of Washington School of Public Health
Many small businesses do not have in-house health and safety expertise to help with novel workplace concerns, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to learn from small businesses, and ultimately help them keep their workers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, we launched an online survey for WA, OR, ID, and AK businesses, utilizing contacts from our continuing education program, and our Field Research and Consultation group. In addition to learning what policies and practices were in place before the pandemic, and which businesses would like to adopt going forward, we assessed concerns about return to work, PPE, and which information sources businesses rely on. We also offered an optional consultation with a CIH in order to address any immediate concerns, and make health and safety immediately accessible to small businesses during this time. Our survey has been adopted by other ERCs, and we will be able to compare regional differences in the needs and concerns of small businesses. This work will inform guidance for small businesses, and help us to better understand potential training and communication needs small businesses have.
Dede Montgomery, MS, CIH — Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences, Oregon Healthy Workforce Center
The Oregon Healthy Workforce Center, along with its home, the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences, have collaborated with workplace researchers, advocates, and employers for decades. These existing collaborations and partnerships provide additional opportunities for our staff to offer technical support and educational opportunities in Oregon, the Pacific Northwest and the US more broadly, to address challenges presented by COVID-19. This presentation will briefly share content from our popular Oregon and the Workplace Blog, resources specific to COVID-19 for supervisors and organizations, along with a summary of our activities as members and leaders of various groups addressing Construction COVID-19 Better Practices, suicide prevention, and Oregon OSHA infectious disease rule-making.
Jennifer Marshall, PhD — University of South Florida Sunshine Education and Research Center
Safety measures associated with COVID-19, such as isolation, social distancing, and quarantine, have added complexity to disaster response planning, which includes mass sheltering and evacuation. The potential conflict between COVID-19 and natural hazard safety measures has important implications for population health and well-being, especially for vulnerable and medically fragile individuals. The pandemic has also taken a toll on emergency, disaster, social services, and health care providers and volunteers. This presentation will highlight work being done by faculty and trainees from the Sunshine ERC, and their colleagues, including: a CONVERGE working group which brought together hundreds of state, county, and local leaders, experts, and providers from public health, government, health care, and community civic groups-for a series of planning calls; a disaster workforce survey, planning tool and training; and work with hospitality industry partners in Puerto Rico to develop a workforce resilience framework. Projects also examine the impact of the pandemic on the psychological adjustment of hurricane shelter staff and volunteers and the broad impact in the hospitality/services industries where issues of precarious work and potential disease exposure raise several significant challenges for occupational safety and health.
John Staley, PhD, MSEH — University of North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center
The North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center (NC OSHERC) is conducting a collaborative project with small and medium-size businesses to assess their COVID-19 needs using a variety tools for implementation of evidence-based Total Worker Health® strategies to promote the safety and health of workers and the workplace. Our plan is to provide technical assistance and support for implementing a wide array of programs, practices, and policy strategies. This includes assisting businesses in developing evidence-based roadmaps for successful re-opening that ensures a safe work environment for all North Carolinians. This project involves active partnerships with local health departments, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, small business and development partners, and North Carolina businesses.