Wednesday, March 22, 2017

First Year Doctoral Student Presents at Semiahmoo 2017

Amy's photo from the Semiahmoo
Conference in Blaine, WA.
Amy Edmonds, 1st year doctoral student in the Occupational Health Services Research (OHSR) program, attended the annual Semiahmoo Conference in January 2017. Each year students are invited to attend the conference, and many give presentations about their research.

Amy presented on her recent literature review that looked at the implications of low wages and limited benefits on health care and public health services.

“I was interested in occupational health disparities related to workplace benefits and wages, so I conducted a systematic review to examine papers that linked low wages and limited benefits to health and/or public health and healthcare services.”, said Edmonds. “Most people receive healthcare benefits through their employers – what happens to those who are making low wages and do not have employer-provided benefits? How do precarious working conditions, and the financial insecurity they are associated with, influence access to healthcare and health outcomes?”

Amy’s inquiry was inspired by the UW Future of Occupational Health project, which is being led by Dr. Noah Sexias and many others in DEOHS. She found that very few studies in her inquiry examined the relationship between low wages and limited benefits and population health and health services. Amy hopes to further explore the implications of precarious working conditions on health in a more targeted way.

The OHSR program Amy is currently enrolled in focuses on identifying the role of cultural, social, political, behavioral, and healthcare factors in health outcomes; on health promotion, health education, and injury and illness prevention; and on evaluating and improving the organization, delivery, financing, and management of health services. The OHSR program provides strong methodological training in health services research and health care policy analysis, coupled with substantive education related to occupational health and workplace health promotion.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

CERC 2017: New Frontiers in Applied Construction Research

The University of Washington's Center for Education and Research in Construction (CERC) hosted their annual New Frontiers in Construction Conference on March 16, 2017. The annual CERC conference highlights research and its relevance for pressing issues facing the Construction Industry. This year over 120 attendees were eager to learn about the newest construction safety and health research.

ERC Faculty member, Dr. Noah Seixas discussed the mission of the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety with conference attendees. Dr. Seixas highlighted new Spanish language OSHA training initiatives, intended to provide essential safety training to one of our most vulnerable worker populations. Dr. Seixas also discussed the Safety and Health Empowerment for Women in Trades (SHEWT) Project, and recent findings on barriers and risk factors for women in construction.

Several students shared their research findings at the CERC conference, including Christopher Mak, current Northwest Center ERC trainee in the Construction Management Occupational Safety and Health Program (CMOSH), and Miriam Clakins, 2015 Exposure Science MS graduate. Christopher talked about his findings in a study on LED lighting on construction sites, while Miriam discussed heat-related illness among construction workers.

The day also featured great talks from Diane Davies from PACE, a pre-apprenticeship program dedicated to training underserved communities, and Dr. Katharina Klemt-Albert, Director of the Department of Construction Management and Digital Solutions at Leibniz University in Hannover.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Northwest Center Trainee Selected to Present at UW Global Health 10th Anniversary Celebration

Occupational Health at the Human-Animal Interface trainee Julianne Meisner was selected as one of 15 students to present her work at the UW Department of Global Health 10th Anniversary Celebration. Governor Insley, Melinda Gates, and other global health leaders from the Pacific Northwest will be in attendance at the exclusive event.

Julianne will present her poster "Zoonotic disease, animal injury, and other occupational hazards of rural livestock keepers in norther Uganda" at the event. We are so proud of our outstanding trainee for receiving this prestigious invitation. Read more about Julianne's research here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

ERC Trainee Takes Her Training to ExxonMobil

Emily Zamzow, a current ERC student, was first introduced to academic research while working for Boise State University on a NIOSH funded research study examining diesel exposure to underground miners in 2014. Throughout this project she worked with Dr. Chris Simpson of the University of Washington Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS), and he introduced her to the exposure science masters program through DEOHS. 

Currently as a second year MS student in the exposure science program, she works in the Simpson Lab analyzing biomarker samples from underground miners to determine their exposure to diesel. She hopes her project will help build the body of knowledge surrounding diesel exposures to ensure the health and safety of future underground miners. 

Being an ERC student has equipped Emily with the skills to work in industry and provide essential industrial hygiene support. In the summer of 2016, she was employed as the industrial hygiene intern at the ExxonMobil Joliet, Illinois refinery. Throughout the summer, she assisted in exposure monitoring of workers to ensure worker safety and compliance with all regulatory and ExxonMobil standards, guidelines and best practices. The refinery environment is diverse and thus, exposure monitoring was done for a wide range of potential hazards including chemical hazards, noise, lighting, asbestos and respirable dust. With her training from the ERC and the University of Washington, Emily was able to help ensure worker safety at the ExxonMobil refinery.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

ERC Trainee Graduates to Boeing

ERC Trainee, and recent MS graduate, Darrick Dickerson turned his Industrial Hygiene dreams into reality through his training at the Northwest Center!

During the summer of 2016 Darrick interned at Boeing as part of his Master's program with the NWC.

"During my internship I gained extensive hands-on experience with industrial hygiene equipment, and developed my skills in assessing potential health hazards and communicating risks in a manner that is understandable to customers who don't have a background in occupational health and safety," said Darrick.

Darrick was able to compliment his classroom learning with real life experience at Boeing. "I was able to refine my risk communication skills, gain familiarity with government and company regulations, and practice compliance enforcement in a hands-on environment," said Dickerson. "Perhaps the most important skill I developed through my schooling was how to assess occupational exposures and safety concerns, and determine the best way to reduce or eliminate hazards. Through my internship I was able to practice these skills in the real world."

Upon completion of his Master's degree and internship Darrick was offered a full-time position with Boeing as a Safety Specialist. He now helps Boeing to refine workplace processes and investigate areas of improvement to reduce current and future safety and health hazards. He also helps ensure that the company remains in compliance with federal and state regulations. "I love the work I do," says Darrick, "I feel great knowing that my work benefits the lives and wellbeing of those around me!"
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