Upcoming Webinar – Total Worker Health Employer Guide: COVID-19 Edition

Please join us Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at 3:00 PM (CDT) for a webinar announcing the release of the Total Worker Health® Employer Guide: COVID-19 Edition.  Developed based on case studies of Midwest employers, the Guide describes innovative approaches and lessons learned by industry leaders.  Using these case studies as examples, the webinar will highlight best practices and resources that support employee well-being, policies that address remote worker hazards, and strategies to prepare for return-to-work during and after the pandemic. The Covid-19 Employer Guide is the product of a collaboration of the St. Louis Area Business Health Coalition (BHC), the Nebraska Safety Council, the University of Kansas Medical Center and the Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest.  The webinar is your opportunity to take a first look at this new employer tool.

Attendance is free but we strongly encourage participants to register ahead of the event.  To register, please click on the link below.

Registration Link: https://uiowa.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEvcuqtrT8qHNSH4urvyBmlv6V5QhSpuAZ0

New Center Promotes Healthy Workplaces

The School of Medicine’s Healthy Work Center facilitates research to promote the health of working-age people by focusing on topics such as diet and exercise, cancer prevention and injury avoidance. It’s a rebooted version of the Occupational Safety and Health Research Lab.

New Grant: Best Built Plans (BBP)

Dr. Dale was recently awarded a grant from CPWR to conduct an implementation and effectiveness trial of the new Best Built Plans (BBP) program. The BBP program was developed by a multidisciplinary stakeholder work group (Ergonomics Community of Practice) through CPWR, using input from contractor end users. Designed to increase use of safe MMH practices among workers in small and medium-sized contractors, the BBP program helps contractors set evidenced-based objectives for safe MMH practices and provides resources to achieve these objectives.

New Grant: FSL4Res

Dr. Evanoff was recently awarded a grant from CPWR to improve safety leadership, safety climate, and fall safety behaviors in residential construction. The project will adapt and disseminate the Foundations for Safety Leadership (FSL), a recently developed CPWR safety leadership training program. We will adapt the FSL to create the FSL4Res, a version specific to the unique hazards and organizational challenges of residential construction. The national reach of the FSL will aid the dissemination and uptake of the FSL4Res. The project has three aims to develop, disseminate, and evaluate uptake of the FSL4Res, with the overall goal of improving fall prevention behaviors in this high risk and difficult to reach population. (NIH/NIOSH: U60-OH009762-11; PI: Evanoff)

Combating Opioid Addiction

The Healthy Work Center, with support from the Richard & Elizabeth Henby Sutter Visiting Professor of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, was pleased to host Dr. Gary A. Franklin’s talk, “Reversing the Opioid Epidemic, and Delivering More Effective Pain Care: How Collaborative Efforts Can Enhance Healthy Policy Efforts.

To further combat this issue, the Healthy Work Center’s Dr. Ann Marie Dale was recently awarded a grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop and test methods to reduce opioid use and misuse among working-age people, primarily focusing on the construction industry.

Opioid Epidemic Research Funding Program, 2018 Awardees

The Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences and the Institute for Public Health have awarded four grants for the Opioid Epidemic Research Funding Program this year.

The Opioid Epidemic Research Funding Program is a new pilot funding program focused on strategies to address the opioid epidemic. Dr. Ann Marie Dale & Dr. Brian Gage’s project “Precipitants of Opioid Initiation and Strategies to Reduce Use among Carpenters” was awarded funding.

This project will engage construction workers, a group at high risk for opioid use disorder. We will explore the relationships between opioid use and potentially preventable musculoskeletal disorders related to work activities. We will also test the effectiveness of a simple intervention to decrease opioid use by restricting the amount of opioids prescribed, and by providing an educational letter to patients with a new prescription.

Funding support was provided by the Institute for Public Health.


Other awardees are:

Digital Therapy to Support Recovery among Pregnant Women with Opioid Use Disorder
Team: Patricia Cavazos-Rehg, PhD, Donald Bohnenkamp, MD, and Alex Ramsey, PhD
Washington University in St. Louis

The U.S. is experiencing an unprecedented opioid epidemic that urgently needs to be addressed, specifically among vulnerable populations like pregnant women. In this study we will recruit pregnant women with opioid use disorder and test a newly developed digital therapy that delivers engaging, credible, and relevant information about medication assisted treatment. Funding support provided by the Institute for Public Health and the Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences.


Dissection of Pain-Induced Modulation of Prescription Opioid Use Pilot Study
Team: Sarah Eisenstein, PhD, Laura Cavallone, MD, Kevin Black, MD, and Yi Su, PhD
Washington University in St. Louis

Fifteen to 26% of patients misuse prescription opioids. Persistent pain, via kappa opioid receptors (KOPRs) in the brain, may contribute to opioid misuse. We will collect pilot and feasibility data for a larger study that will determine whether persistent pain is related to post-surgical opioid misuse and KOPRs using PET imaging with the radioligand [11C]LY2795050. The larger study will help identify treatment strategies for opioid misuse.
Funding support provided by the Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences.


Novel Non-narcotic Based Therapeutics for Chronic Pain
Team: Daniela Salvemini, PhD, Tim Doyle, PhD, and Zhoumou Chen, MD
Saint Louis University

This project will test the hypothesis that traumatic nerve injuries dysregulate sphingolipid metabolism in the central nervous system and trigger the activation of the sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor subtype 1 (S1PR1) axis which contribute to neuropathic pain via neuroinflammation. Results are anticipated to identify S1PR1 as a target for therapeutic intervention with selective S1PR1 antagonists providing a novel approach to neuropathic pain management. Funding support provided by the Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences


Introducing the Healthier Workforce Center

Employers in the Midwest struggling with workplace health and safety issues now have a stronger ally in their efforts to promote a safer and healthier workforce. The University of Iowa is pleased to announce the expansion and launch of the Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest, in partnership with the Dr. Evanoff’s Occupational Safety and Health Research group at Washington University in St. Louis and the Nebraska Safety Council. Funded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health since 2006 to address Total Worker Health, the Center serves a resource for policies, programs, and practices that integrate protection from work-related safety and health hazards with health promotion to advance worker well-being. Workers in the Midwest experience more work-related injuries and illnesses than in other parts of the US, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The region also has higher rates of unhealthy behaviors such as heavy alcohol consumption and obesity than other areas of the country, with high rates of occupational fatalities. The Center will address these critical issues through research and outreach efforts, focusing mainly on small businesses and the construction industry. The Center is directed by Diane Rohlman, PhD, at the University of Iowa; Dr. Bradley Evanoff, MD, MPH, serves as the Associate Director. (CDC/NIOSH 5U19 OH008868-11, PI: Rohlman; WU PI: Evanoff)

New Grant: Safety, Health, & Well-being of Construction Apprentices

Impacting the Safety, Health, and Well-being of Construction Apprentices: Using intermediaries to disseminate change

Funded as part of the Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest, this project aims to improve the health and well-being of young construction trade workers. By gaining a better understanding of the impact of multiple work organization and environmental factors on worker health and identifying existing employer and union practices relevant to Total Worker Health, we can develop and evaluate the feasibility of interventions that address workplace policies, practices, and programs relevant to Total Worker Health. Intermediary organizations, such as construction trade unions and trade organizations, will be used to efficiently disseminate interventions to employers, including the numerous small businesses that employ workers in this industry. (CDC/NIOSH 5U19 OH008868-11, PI: Rohlman; WU PI: Evanoff)

New Grant: Job Exposure Matrix

Developing a general population job exposure matrix for studies of work-related MSD

The overall goal of this study is to create and validate improved methods for workplace physical exposures using a Job Exposure Matrix (JEM). Use of JEM can provide the ability to add detailed work exposure data to many general population data sets that include health outcomes and job titles, but no other work exposure data. This capability will spur additional studies of important health outcomes related to workplace physical exposures. (NIOSH/CDC 1R01 OH011076-01A1, PI: Evanoff)