Fellowship in Occupational Health

November 10, 2008 at 4:12 pm Leave a comment

Promotion of Occupational Health: Changing Workplace Culture

The complete application package including the fellowship descriptions, additional information and the application can be found on our website at http://aptrweb.org/prof_dev/fellowships_PMFP.html. Once at this page select “Download Request for Applications” to view the complete application package as a pdf. document.

Background/History:

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the Federal agency responsible

for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and

illness. NIOSH is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Department of

Health and Human Services. NIOSH was established to help assure safe and healthful working

conditions for working men and women by providing research, information, education, and training in

the field of occupational safety and health. The objectives include: conducting research to reduce

work-related illnesses and injuries, promoting safe and healthy workplaces through interventions,

recommendations and capacity building, and enhancing global workplace safety and health through

international collaborations. Additional information pertaining to NIOSH’s program can be found

online: www.cdc.gov/niosh.

Fellowship Assignment Description:

The fellow will have a unique opportunity to take the lead in developing a national prevention

campaign that will focus on changing the workplace culture regarding injuries and fatalities. The

wholesale and retail trade (WRT) sector stands out because approximately one in five employable

persons work in this sector—and each year nearly one million workers—are injured or killed in jobs

considered to be safe. These include jobs with public familiarity like jobs involving stocking shelves in

supermarkets or unloading trucks full of merchandise at home improvement loading docks. The

hazards associated with these types of common manual materials handling activities are often not

apparent to the workers or their employers. The workplace culture fails to support the health work

practices that have been shown to increase productivity and, more importantly, reduce the waste and

human suffering from preventable workplace injuries and fatalities.

To accomplish the program objectives of developing a protocol for a national prevention campaign,

the research fellow will first undertake the following activities: review the scientific literature on

workplace culture, develop a knowledge base concerning behavioral change theories, and understand

their application to the workplace as it relates to implementing a targeted prevention campaign.

Much of this information needed for this early stage of the fellowship is available from the CDC webbased

prevention research and guidance programs used to implement various national health

campaigns. The next phase of the fellowship is designed to ensure the fellow gains a first-hand

perspective on the current culture of the retail/wholesale businesses where injuries and even fatalities

have occurred. The research fellow will meet with WRT employers and/or their safety and health

managers, meet with a number of experienced practitioners, and meet with national experts from

academia who can provide assistance in the development of a scientific defensible protocol for

launching the WRT prevention campaign. Once a protocol has been developed, peer reviewed, and

approved, the research fellow will initiate, with the support of one or more WRT employers, one or

more demonstration studies that will provide the empirical support for the prevention campaign theme:

“Work Smart at the Right Height.”

The research fellow will also have the support, training, and assistance from three senior CDC staff

who have strong publication records and international recognition in the prevention of work-related

disorders and related injuries as well as expertise in intervention effectiveness evaluation

methodologies.

Required and/or Desired Skills and Knowledge:

Graduate-level degree required. Coursework at the master’s level in the area of public health and

some knowledge of prevention principles and behavioral factors that influence organizational and

personal decision making is also required. Applicants should have the ability to write and work

independently. Experience working in teams and the ability to clearly communicate the objectives of

the program and research to people outside the organization is necessary.

Expected Benefits:

Upon the completion of this fellowship project, the research fellow will have one or more

publications describing the protocol and research outcomes. More importantly, the research fellow

will be recognized as a leader in workplace interventions by his or her work in changing the culture of

workplace safety from one of avoiding relatively infrequent adverse events to one of reaping the daily

benefits of good physical and mental health from “working smart.”

The research fellow will have the opportunity to work with NIOSH prevention specialists and take the

lead on one of the most important new projects in occupational health and safety that focuses on

changing workplace culture and its impact on decision making regarding safety and health practices.

Period of Assignment:

The fellowship will be for a period of one year, with the possibility of extension to a second year

contingent on mutual interest and funding. Start date is slated for Summer 2009.

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Entry filed under: General.

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