Total Worker Health in Action: December 2021
Volume 10, Number 4, December 2021
L. CASEY CHOSEWOOD, MD, MPH
In this edition, I have two very important updates that have me abuzz. First, we could not be happier to see our research footprint grow! This is an exciting time for the NIOSH Total Worker Health (TWH) Program, as we welcome four new Centers of Excellence for TWH to join the current six Centers. The addition of new Centers reflects the growing recognition of the value that our research is bringing to the nation and its workers. These 10 Centers will produce new scientific knowledge and translate that knowledge into effective prevention practices that organizations can use in today’s rapidly evolving workplaces. See our related exclusive below to learn more about all our Centers.
Second, we are excited to announce that the call for presentations is now open for the Third International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Healthexternal icon, scheduled for October 11–14, 2022. Be sure to hold these dates on your calendar now. This will be the nation’s most forward-looking, informative, and practical meeting related to worker safety, health, and well-being. We will feature the latest in Total Worker Health related research and practical applications, programs, and workplace interventions. You are invited to contribute to this event by submitting proposals for a variety of sessions, workshops, and posters. Submissions are due by February 4, 2022. You can learn more in this update.
Announcing 10 Centers of Excellence for TWH
The NIOSH TWH Program is proud to announce 10 Centers of Excellence for TWH. Four new Centers of Excellence in California, Maryland, North Carolina, and Utah will join six existing Centers in Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Oregon. The Centers of Excellence represent the extramural portfolio of TWH research that NIOSH funds to further its mission of protecting and advancing worker safety, health, and well-being.
In 2005, NIOSH established the Centers of Excellence via a cooperative agreementexternal icon, funding the first two Centers. Over the years, the extramural research portfolio grew to include four additional Centers. This year’s expansion of the program to a total of 10 Centers represents the support for their ground-breaking research and practical applications. We congratulate the following new and existing Centers.
- California Labor Laboratory (CALL Center)
- Carolina Center for Total Worker Health® and Well-being
- Johns Hopkins Psychosocial, Organizational, and Environmental (P.O.E.) Total Worker Health® Center in Mental Health (POE Center)
- Utah Center for Promotion of Work Equity Research (U-POWER)
- Center for Health, Work & Environmentexternal icon(CHWE)
- Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace (CPH-NEW)external icon
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Center for Work, Health and Well-beingexternal icon
- Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwestexternal icon
- Oregon Healthy Workforce Centerexternal icon(OHWC)
- University of Illinois at Chicago Center for Healthy Workexternal icon(UIC CHW)
These Centers translate research to practice, testing the process and feasibility of applying TWH approaches in real-world environments. This research provides the evidence for using novel approaches to challenges in the workplace. The Centers offer practical solutions needed for workers to remain safe and for employers to build and retain an engaged and productive workforce.
Learn more about the exciting work planned in these Center descriptions from the Office of Extramural Programs and this NIOSH Press Update. You can also keep up to date with all Centers’ research-to-practice efforts by reading the quarterly updates from each Center in this newsletter.
L. Casey Chosewood, MD, MPH, Executive Editor
Emily Kirby, Managing Editor
Sarah Mitchell, Associate Editor
Seleen Collins, Copy Editor
Margaret Bertsch, NIOSH Web Developer
Steve Leonard, NIOSH Web Publisher
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A Company Answers the Call to Address the Substance Use and Mental Health Needs of Its Workers
John Hindman, Photo copyright by Zaid Hamid 2018, used with permission from Leidos
Following the death of his son to an opioid overdose in September 2016, Leidos employee John Hindman caught the attention of Leidos Chairman and CEO Roger Krone. After a brief period of intense internal research and deliberation where additional Leidos employees shared similar experiences with opioid use disorder (OUD), the company launched the Leidos CEO Pledge to End Addictionexternal icon. The pledge encourages leaders to create and nurture work environments that are safe for conversations about OUD. These environments educate employees about the potential dangers of opioids and support nonprofit organizations focused on prevention, recovery, and reducing stigma around substance use disorder (SUD). The goal of the pledge is to create a collaborative action group comprising companies, industry associations, and nonprofit organizations that embrace similar values and help build actionable solutions.
From 2017 through 2019, Leidos continued to focus on opioid use while developing a more open workplace culture. The goal was to provide a safe environment for employees to have meaningful discussions on substance misuse and mental health. The company implemented safeguards within various benefit offerings to protect employees covered under the self-insured medical and dental plans from opioid over-prescription, resulting in a 57% reduction in opioid prescription length.
In 2019, Leidos was among the founding signatories when the Business Roundtable (BRT) redefined the Purpose of a Corporationexternal icon as one that promotes “an economy that serves all Americans.” This was a major paradigm shift from a shareholder focus to include employees, customers, suppliers, and the communities where employees live and work. Around the same time, the NIOSH TWH Priority Areas and Emerging Issues highlighted OUD, SUDs, and mental health in the workplace as issues relevant to advancing worker well-being. Leidos’ efforts to address these issues, combined with BRT-driven company social purpose efforts, aligns with the NIOSH TWH approach.
Over the past year, Leidos also enhanced additional mental health offerings to include behavioral health services via telemedicine and a new partnership with a meditation platform for employee mental health and well-beingexternal icon. Leidos was recognized with the 2020 Halo Social Impact Award (an award that honors corporate social initiatives) for their work on the Truth Initiativeexternal icon.
Also, in 2021, Leidos incorporated efforts to address employee well-being and SUD into their broader mental health and well-being campaign, “Mission for the Mind: Advancing Mental Health Solutions.” The campaign has three focus areas:
- Opioids and other substance use disorder prevention
- Anxiety, depression, and pandemic-related mental health impacts
- Suicide prevention efforts, especially related to veterans and the emerging vulnerable population of healthcare workers
As Leidos moves forward with this campaign, its story can serve as an example for others starting workplace psychosocial initiatives. Starting with recognition of a need to change and supported by leadership engagement, the company welcomed and facilitated open dialogue among employees. Leidos also facilitates important conversations on topics that can reduce the stigma around SUDs and mental health. These policies and programs reflect Leidos’ commitment to employees, the community, and stakeholders.
Today, Leidos works to improve the mental health and well-being of employees to preserve a healthy and engaged workforce now and into the future. You can read this article to learn more about their workplace and community opioid outreach initiativesexternal icon.
Editor’s note: If you or someone you know needs assistance (in English or Spanish) with mental health concerns or substance use disorders, prevention, and recovery, please contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit https://www.samhsa.gov/find-helpexternal icon.
Extramural Research on Opioids in the Workplace
NIOSH-funded grantees and other partners are working to address the opioids crisis. These extramural researchers study and develop resources related to the prevention of opioid misuse and overdose in working populations. This Opioids in the Workplace webpage highlights research findings, surveillance data, and education and training information. Visit the page to find resources intended to help workers, employers, and medical providers who care for workers as they face the opioid crisis within their communities.
Call for Presentations: Third International Symposium to Advance TWH
You’re invited to submit proposals for a variety of sessions and preparatory workshops emphasizing the latest in TWH science and practice. You can submit proposals for a variety of sessions suitable for in-person and virtual settings. Academics, practitioners, researchers, and students are encouraged to submit. Submit your proposalexternal icon by February 4, 2022.
Continuing Education Opportunities for TWH Webinars
Interested in earning continuing education credits and learning more about TWH? You can find recordings like the recent webinar “Workplace Health Disparities: A TWH Perspective” on the webinars webpage and learn how to earn continuing education credits.
Introducing the NIOSH Worker Well-Being Questionnaire
A recording of the live webinar “Introducing the NIOSH Worker Well-Being Questionnaire” is now available. Watch the video to learn more about this new tool that provides an integrated assessment of worker well-being. Free continuing education is available until September 28, 2023.
NIOSH Seeks Input to Support Mental Health of Health Workers
We want to hear from you! NIOSH is seeking input on existing and potential occupational safety and health interventions, services, and research in progress that are focused on approaches to preventing stress and improving the mental health and well-being of health workers. Learn moreexternal icon and submit your comments by January 25, 2022.
Special Issue: Worker Safety, Health, and Well-Being in the USA
A special issueexternal icon of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health features more than 25 publications aligned with the TWH approach. These open access articles highlight future of work scenarios; their implications for worker safety, health, and well-being; and integrated occupational safety and health strategies to address them. The special issue was edited by members of the TWH team including Dr. Sara Tamers, Dr. Jessica Streit and Dr. L. Casey Chosewood. Visit the New Publications and Resources section to check out some of the articles from the special issue.
What’s Age Got to do with it? Realities and Solutions for Workplace Ageism
Continuing education is now available for this on-demand webinar hosted with the National Center for Productive Aging and Work. This webinar offers a closer look at workplace ageism and ways that we as workers, employers, and researchers can address ageism in the workplace. Continuing education is available until November 23, 2023.
- This October, the newly funded California Labor Laboratory (CALL) Center assembled experts for a measurement workshop on how to accurately capture the dimensions underlying traditional and non-traditional work arrangements for effective cognitive interviewing. In 2022, the CALL Center will host a webinar series highlighting updates and new directions. Examples of featured topics include issues in non-traditional workplaces, with emphasis on special populations and legal and legislative updates affecting employment issues.
- The mission of the new Carolina Center for Total Worker Health® and Well-being is to generate new knowledge through research and implement outreach and education activities to improve worker health and well-being in North Carolina, the southeast region, and the nation. The Center launched a pilot project program, including a solicitation for emerging issues in worker and workplace health, and plans to investigate mental health and well-being of nurses, physicians, and firefighters. The Center also plans to expand its TWH graduate certificate programexternal icon to a larger audience of non-degree-seeking individuals and working professionals.
- The Center for Health, Work & Environmentexternal icon created the Human Side of Workexternal icon project that aims to use the power of storytelling to establish a growing collection of relatable and heartfelt stories and images of working generations. The project documents people in their natural work environments and provides a glimpse into the human side of work. A gallery and discussion of the project will be presented at the 3rdInternational Symposium to advance TWHexternal icon.
- The Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace (CPH-NEW)external icon continues to be a joint initiative between the University of Connecticut and the University of Massachusetts Lowell. For the next five years, CPH-NEW will research burnout among healthcare workers, mental health in educators, disaster preparedness, and TWH program sustainability with correctional employees. CPH-NEW also plans to expand TWH eLearning and skill-building opportunities for occupational safety and health professionals and TWH program implementation tools customized for organizational leaders, school settings, and unions.
- The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Center for Work, Health and Well-beingexternal icon is accepting registrations for Work Health and Well-beingexternal icon.The course teaches skills to implement policies, programs, and practices focused on working conditions impacting both worker and employer safety, health, and well-being outcomes. The Center is also studying firefighters’ well-being with recent pilot funding awarded to Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Winnie Chin.
- The Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest (HWC)external icon announced academic-track pilot project research grant fundingexternal icon for new investigators (including students/trainees) up to $25,000. The Pilot Project Program request for proposals will accept and review applications on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted. HWC also recently released new Workplace Mattersexternal icon podcasts and two new videos addressing hot topics in the workplace, including de-escalation approaches and information privacy.
- The new Johns Hopkins Psychosocial, Organizational, and Environmental Total Worker Health® Center in Mental Health (POE Center) was established this fall with particular focus on essential and vulnerable workers, including those in healthcare, public services, and agriculture. The Carolyn C. Mattingly Award for Mental Health in the Workplaceexternal icon will launch in January 2022 and the Center is currently seeking both collaborators and sponsors for the award. The Center will recognize inaugural awardees at a ceremonial event in November 2022 in Bethesda, Maryland.
- The Oregon Healthy Workforce Center (OHWC)external iconreleased a new evidence-based toolkit designed to help reduce sitting time at work and to help managers and supervisors better support workplace safety, health, and well-being for their employees. Access the Active Workplace toolkitexternal icon and learn more in this blogexternal icon. OHWC also released a new podcast episodeexternal icon of What’s Work Got to Do With it, highlighting impacts of shift schedules on firefighter safety, health, and well-being.
- The University of Illinois at Chicago Center for Healthy Workexternal iconcontinues to work on initiatives to address worker health at the community level through the Greater Lawndale Healthy Work (GLHW) Projectexternal icon. Some highlights include the completion of 4 workshops with 95 residents in Greater Lawndale to build knowledge and awareness about business cooperatives among community residents. GLHW also finalized the illustrations and narratives that will accompany the Greater Lawndale Lotería, an evidence-informed, historically grounded, worker justice–themed card game.
- The new Utah Center for Promotion of Work Equity Research (U-POWER) announced the first annual Research Pilot Project Program.external iconU-POWER is interested in innovative research from any discipline that explores the role of power in defining conditions of work that create inequity in work and affect the safety, health, and well-being of workers and communities. Applicants may request between $5,000 and $15,000 to perform research at any point along the research-to-practice continuum. The deadline to apply is January 14, 2022.
These are just a few of the updates from the NIOSH Centers of Excellence for TWH. To learn more about each of the Centers and their response efforts, visit their websites.
Featured Affiliates: Get to Know the NIOSH TWH Affiliates
This new feature was created to introduce our readers to the current NIOSH TWH Affiliates. See how two NIOSH TWH Affiliates responded when we asked about their work. If your organization is a NIOSH TWH Affiliate and is interested in being featured, please email TWH@cdc.gov.
The St. Louis Area Business Health Coalition (BHC) is a nonprofit organization representing 70 leading employers that provide health benefits to millions of lives nationally. For 39 years, we have worked to achieve our mission of supporting employers’ efforts to improve the well-being of their employees and enhance the quality and overall value of their investments in health benefits.
The TWH program provides research, resources, and educational opportunities to help employers understand best practices for advancing employee health through well-being solutions, workplace policies, and environmental supports. We share this guidance with our members to keep them up to date on the latest TWH approaches.
We became a TWH Affiliate in 2017 because we recognized a need and opportunity to serve as a liaison in translating academic and public health research into easily digestible information and useful tools for business leaders.
Through our partnership with the Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest, we produced two action-oriented publications, like this employer guidepdf iconexternal icon, to help employers understand how to apply key TWH practices to modern employee health challenges.
The Laborers’ Health & Safety Fund of North America (LHSFNA) is a joint labor-management non-profit trust associated with the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), which represents over 500,000 members, primarily construction workers, in the United States and Canada. The LHSFNA’s chief areas of focus include workplace safety and health, health care cost control, and injury and illness prevention.
The LHSFNA addresses both occupational safety and health and health promotion issues. As a result, the LHSFNA is uniquely positioned to help LIUNA members and contractors promote the concept of TWH. Where workplace issues lend themselves to a holistic approach, we take it. Most recently, that includes the LHSFNA’s approach to addressing pandemic and heat stress related issues and the opioid overdose and suicide crises.
The LHSFNA became a NIOSH TWH affiliate in 2015. The TWH health paradigm is expansive and covers a lot of different topics not always considered traditional workplace topics. The LHSFNA believed having a formalized platform to address these types of issues made a lot of sense. However, some of the issues that fall under the TWH umbrella can also be considered controversial in some industries. We believe it is important to have a seat at the table to be able to contribute to the direction and growth of TWH in relation to the construction trades and other industries in general.
Healthy Work Survey Now Available
The Healthy Work Campaignexternal icon, a project of the non-profit Center for Social Epidemiology, launched the free, online Healthy Work Survey (HWS) for individualsexternal icon and organizations, including employersexternal icon and unions/worker Advocatesexternal icon. The HWS measures sources of stress at workpdf iconexternal icon (also called psychosocial hazards) which contribute to common mental and physical health problemsexternal icon.
Poster Highlights Healthcare Personnel Burnout
The University of New Hampshire’s (NH) Occupational Health Surveillance Program produced a poster for the NH Public Health Association and American Public Health Association’s Annual Meetings. “Evaluating Healthcare Personnel during a Pandemic using the Burnout and Occupational Well-Being Survey (BOWS)pdf iconexternal icon” won first place in the New Researcher poster session at APHA, hosted by the Occupational Safety & Health Section.
Suicide Prevention Training for Farmers and Farm Families
AgriSafe and the Southeast Center for Agricultural Health and Injury Prevention collaborated to provide virtual Question Persuade Refer (QPR) training for farmers and farm families. QPR training teaches laypeople and professionals to recognize and respond to mental health crises using the approach of Question, Persuade, and Refer. Since May 2021, AgriSafe staff has reached 200 individuals. The AgriSafe QPR team plans to reach agricultural communities and organizations across the nation both virtually and face-to-face. Visit their website to learn more about the trainingexternal icon or contact AgriSafe’s QPR Coordinator, Olivia Bury.
Workplace Impairment Training for Supervisors
Impairment at work can result from many factors. To help workplaces better address the well-being and safety risks presented by impairment, the National Safety Council created a new eLearning courseexternal icon to train frontline supervisors, managers, and safety professionals to recognize and respond to impairment, no matter the cause.
To learn more about the TWH Affiliate program, visit the NIOSH Total Worker Health® Affiliate Program.
- An Exploratory, Qualitative Study of How Organizations Implement the Hierarchy of Controls Applied to TWHexternal icon
- Ethics and TWH: Constructs for Ethical Decision-Making and Competencies for Professional Practiceexternal icon
- Expanded Framework for Worker Well-being Leads to New NIOSH Survey Tool
- Intermediary Perspectives on TWH in Small Businessesexternal icon
- Preventing Opioid Overdose Deaths in the Workplace
- Understanding Workplace Ageism
- Characteristics and Circumstances Associated with Work-Related Suicides from the National Violent Death Reporting System, 2013–2017external icon.
- Community Resident Perceptions of and Experiences with Precarious Work at the Neighborhood Level: The Greater Lawndale Healthy Work Projectexternal icon
- Comprehensive Workplace Policies and Practices Regarding Employee Opioid Useexternal icon
- Determining Occupation for National Violent Death Reporting System Records: An Evaluation of Autocoding Programsexternal icon
- Developing Initial Middle Range Theories in Realist Evaluation: A Case of an Organizational Interventionexternal icon
- Evaluation of an Online Training for Supervisors of Young Agricultural Workersexternal icon
- Evaluation of the HearWell Pilot Program: A Participatory TWH Approach to Hearing Conservationexternal icon
- Implementation of an Organizational Intervention to Improve Low-wage Food Service Workers’ Safety, Health and Wellbeing: Findings from the Workplace Organizational Health Studyexternal icon
- Impact of Advising on TWH Implementation
- Job and Family Demands and Burnout among Healthcare Workers: The Moderating Role of Workplace Flexibilityexternal icon
- Public Health Impacts of Underemployment and Unemployment in the United States: Exploring Perceptions, Gaps and Opportunitiesexternal icon
- Safety Climate Profiles in Remote Workers: Association with Key Predictors and Outcomes at the Team Levelexternal icon
- Sedentary Work and Physiological Markers of Healthexternal icon
- Sugarcane Workweek Study: Risk Factors for Daily Changes in Creatinineexternal icon
- Supportive Leaders Drive Organizational Improvements and Employee Health and Well-Being
- The Interplay of Workplace Redesign and Public Policy in the 21st Centuryexternal icon
- Understanding the Role of Family-Specific Resources for Immigrant Workersexternal icon
- Using TWH Implementation Guidelines to Design an Organizational Intervention for Low-Wage Food Service Workers: The Workplace Organizational Health Studyexternal icon
- Winter Weather-Related Crashes during the Commute to Work: An Opportunity for TWHexternal icon
- Work as a Social Determinant of Health: A Necessary Foundation for Occupational Health and Safety
- Work Organization Factors Associated with Health and Work Outcomes among Apprentice Construction Workers: Comparison between the Residential and Commercial Sectorsexternal icon
- Working Conditions Influencing Drivers’ Safety and Well-Being in the Transportation Industry: “On Board” Programexternal icon
- Workplace Integrated Safety and Health Program Uptake in Nursing Homes: Associations with Ownershipexternal icon
8 – Register for the “Diabetes Self-Management Education & Support (DSMES) for Employersexternal icon” webinar, co-hosted with the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy, Flatirons Rx Pharmacy, and ClearSprings Pharmacy. The training is aimed at specialists in health and safety, wellness, and HR to increase awareness and adoption of evidence-based diabetes and cardiovascular disease prevention and management programs as a covered benefit.
9-11 – The Expanded Focus for Occupational Safety and Health (Ex4OSH) International Conferenceexternal icon is brought to you by the Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at UTHealth School of Public Health and NIOSH. The conference will address three critical areas for the future of occupational safety and health: research, training, and policy. NIOSH Director John Howard, MD, and many staff from the NIOSH TWH team will present, and many leaders from the Centers of Excellence for TWH will participate and contribute as well.
5, 12, and 19 – Register for the Remote Team Facilitation for Workplace Safety and Wellbeingexternal icon. This 10-hour, 3-session program teaches professionals how to use the Healthy Workplace Participatory Program materials to engage employees remotely. Learn and practice facilitation skills and virtual tools when working with employee teams to create integrated TWH interventions.
4 – The call for proposals will close for the Third International Symposium to Advance TWH. Submit proposalsexternal icon for a variety of sessions, including both in-person and virtual presentations.
15 – The applications will close for the fall 2022 semester of the 15-credit hour online TWH Certificate Programexternal icon. The program is now available to all applicants, not just current Colorado School of Public Health students. The expanded certificate offering, the Professional Certificate in TWHexternal icon, allows students greater flexibility in gaining course credit and ease of application, which likely will increase interest and enrollment.
Find more events on the NIOSH Conferences, Meetings, Webinars, and Events webpage.
This newsletter is published quarterly via email by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Total Worker Health® Program to inform members of the public health community as well as interested members of the general public of program-related news, new publications, and updates on existing activities and initiatives.
Mention of any company or product does not constitute endorsement by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, citations to websites external to NIOSH do not constitute NIOSH endorsement of the sponsoring organizations or their programs or products. Furthermore, NIOSH is not responsible for the content of these websites. All web addresses referenced in this document were accessible as of the publication date.