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Colorado School of Public Health News and Stories

CHWE

Community    Cancer    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Worker Health

Colorado School of Public Health Launches Innovative Program to Support Working Cancer Patients

The Center of Health Work and Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) proudly announces the launch of WeCanWork (Well-Being and Cancer at Work), an innovative program designed to provide comprehensive support to cancer patients as they balance work responsibilities and treatment.


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ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Health Policy    Worker Health    RFW

Colorado Passes New Legislation to Support Recovery Friendly Workplaces

AURORA, COLORADO (June 6, 2024) – Governor Polis has signed Senate Bill 24-048. The legislation will invest nearly $1.5 million over the next four years in the Center for Health, Work, and Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH). Specifically, the legislation will support the Center and School’s efforts to establish Recovery Friendly Workplaces (RFW) and implement a voluntary employer participation and certification program to support individuals recovering from addiction and coping with other mental and behavioral health challenges.


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Students    Student and Alumni    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Graduation    Biostatistics    Environment    Worker Health

Q&A with the 2024 Colorado School of Public Health Convocation Student Speaker, Miranda Dally

Miranda Dally, MS, research instructor and DrPH candidate at the Colorado School of Public Health’s Center for Health, Work and Environment and Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, was chosen to be the 2024 graduation student speaker. We sat down with Miranda to learn more about why she was selected, her future plans, and what her convocation speech might include.


Author Teryn Ferrell | Publish Date May 06, 2024
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Leadership    Worker Health

Shared Leadership for Workforce Health: Bridging healthcare and space exploration

What do space exploration, healthcare, construction, and public school workers have in common? They all form teams to carry out their missions! Teamwork requires working together to achieve common goals, solve problems, and innovate. Emerging evidence suggests that multiple people can lead teams at one time. Interest in shared leadership research led me to study why and how this phenomenon might happen in the Total Worker Health® context.


Author Natalie Schwatka | Publish Date April 29, 2024
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Research    Student and Alumni    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Climate Health    Worker Health

Research Symposium Highlights Sweeping Efforts to Improve Workplace Health and Safety

The many challenges and opportunities for improving health and safety for workers were in the spotlight April 4 at the 2024 Research Day Symposium, sponsored by the Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health at the Colorado School of Public Health.


Author Tyler Smith | Publish Date April 16, 2024
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Community and Practice    Climate Health    Environment    Worker Health

Field Team Evaluates Women’s Work Exposures and Kidney Health in Guatemala

Researchers from the Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) are in the middle of the first year of data collection for a study with female agricultural workers in rural Guatemala.


Author Lyndsay Krisher | Publish Date April 12, 2024
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Environment    Worker Health

Students, Faculty and Professionals Connect at Research Day

Last week, the Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC) hosted the 15th Annual Research Day Symposium, in partnership with the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) at the Colorado School of Public Health. This annual event showcases the innovative and transdisciplinary research of trainees from the past year.


Author Casey Torbet | Publish Date April 10, 2024
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Environment    Worker Health

Why We Go to Washington DC

Every February, delegates from NIOSH-funded centers across the United States gather in Washington DC to meet with staff from the offices of elected officials and provide updates on what we have done to support workers in their districts. Ultimately, we talk about how our work over the past year uses NIOSH funds to improve the health, safety, and well-being of workers. The interests of elected officials and their staff vary widely depending on their politics, the type of businesses operated within their districts, and many other crucial points.


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Worker Health

Is Your Workplace Wellness App Working?

If you offer your employees access to digital mental health applications, how do you know if the apps are actually helping them? Many employers understand their workforce’s need for mental health support. Nearly 60% of adults in the U.S. report having been concerned for either their own mental health or that of family and friends, increasing 9% since April of 20201. Poor employee mental health is associated with a $1 trillion annual global cost in productivity2.


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Maternal & Child Health    Worker Health

Southern Colorado Study Examines Heavy Metal Exposure in Pregnancy and Impacts on Newborns

The San Luis Valley sits between two major mountain ranges—the San Juans and the Sangre de Cristos—in south-central Colorado. As the upper headwater region for the Rio Grande River, the San Luis Valley is a fertile and important agricultural part of the state, supporting the majority of Colorado’s potato and buckwheat crop.


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Equity Diversity and Inclusion    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Worker Health

The Intersection of Women, Health & Work

Women's health is not just a women's issue. It's a societal issue that affects local communities and the economy. While women have made major headway towards equality, many areas of their lives require additional support to be made truly equal to their male counterparts. One of those areas is in the workplace.


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Worker Health

Working During the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The holiday season is here! City sidewalks and busy sidewalks are dressed in holiday style.


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Worker Health

Putting Stories Behind the Stats: Carol Brown Reflects on Lessons Learned at WestON

Occupational safety and health is a field that focuses on improving the safety, health and well-being of workers. So often the burden of occupational hazards is reported in numbers – number of illnesses, number of injuries, number of incidents. It is easy for people to gloss over those numbers and to fail to grasp the meaning behind them.


Author Carol Brown | Publish Date October 25, 2023
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Suicide Prevention    Community Health    Training    Worker Health

New Training Offered to Support Teacher Mental Health During Emergency Drills

Teachers and staff shoulder a significant burden of responsibility for emergency preparedness in pre-k-12 schools. While emergency drills, including active harmer (lockdown, lockout) drills, are designed to instill confidence, they can sometimes lead to fear, anxiety and confusion. Teachers are expected to lead the drills by directing and evacuating students, locking down classrooms, providing safety checks, and emotionally supporting students. Teachers often have unanswered questions and increased anxieties associated with drills and other emergency preparedness efforts. This underscores the importance of providing necessary resources to better support the school workforce, including psychological preparedness and other mental health supports, in addition to regular access to safety and security personnel


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Worker Health

Supporting Healthcare and Public Health Workforce Mental Health

Health workers probably deserved more of our attention before the COVID-19 pandemic. The global crisis only elevated their experience of mental health concerns like stress, burnout, depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and suicidality.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date October 11, 2023
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Awards   

Strengthened By Partnership: Celebrating Our Outstanding Colleagues

Our center hosted our third annual recognition event to honor the commitment and achievements of some of our key partners. At our core, we partner with researchers, community groups, industry and government to collaborate across all we do.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date September 15, 2023
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Research    Climate Health    Worker Health

Heat Impacting Tomato and Chili Agriculture Workers in Jalisco Mexico

Climate change is impacting our food chain, and the workers who grow, harvest, and package that food. Global temperatures increases affect the health of workers in the agricultural industry.

Researchers from the Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) have completed their first round of data collection for a two-year heat-related research project with agricultural workers in Jalisco, Mexico, as the implementing partner ofthe International Labour Organization (ILO)'s Vision Zero Fund. The seasoned team of experts from CHWE are working to improve workers’ occupational safety and health in selected supply chains in Mexico.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date September 07, 2023
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Community    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Climate Health    Environment    Worker Health

ColoradoSPH Takes On Climate Threats to Human Health with First-of-its-Kind PhD Program

The Colorado School of Public Health on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is preparing to play a lead role in investigating and responding to the rapidly intensifying effects of global climate change.

The school is launching the nation’s first PhD program that focuses specifically on climate change and its multiple impacts on people’s health and the communities where they live. The inaugural class of the PhD in Climate & Human Health program is set for the Fall 2024 semester, said program director Katherine James, PhD, MSPH, MSCE, associate professor of environmental and occupational health and in the Center for Health, Work & Environment at ColoradoSPH.


Author Tyler Smith | Publish Date August 28, 2023
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Worker Health

Health Links® 2023 Annual Event: Celebrating Total Worker Health®

Each year, Health Links celebrates Colorado employers committed to workplace health, safety, and well-being. This year’s event, Celebrating Total Worker Health® honored the award winners and finalists for their achievements in the workplace while providing attendees the opportunity to network and gain inspiration from other employers.


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Community and Practice    Climate Health    Community Health    Environment    Worker Health

New NIH-Funded Project Brings Public Health Faculty and Community Leaders Together to Seek Climate Justice

Record-breaking heat and drought. Thick blankets of wildfire smoke. Walls of wind-driven flames. Pelting hail. Swath-cutting tornadoes. The summer of 2023 has been a constant reminder of the powerful effects of climate change. But the trying season is only one dramatic recent reminder of the changes and the toll they have taken on neighborhoods, communities, and economies in the form of air quality, water resources, food production and other factors that affect the quality of people’s lives.


Author Tyler Smith | Publish Date August 22, 2023
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Worker Health

Healthy Workplace Assessment Serves All Organizations as Total Worker Health Tool

Total Worker Health® is the gold standard for workplace health, safety and well-being. As we make the case to business leaders for taking care of their employees with a holistic, scientific approach, we understand how helpful and necessary it is that they have a tool to benchmark Total Worker Health (TWH), to track their growth, and to measure their impact.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date August 22, 2023
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Research    Worker Health

Supporting Teacher and Staff Emergency Preparedness and Well-being

Emergencies happen. Teachers are among many groups that may be anxious about staying safe on the job coupled with concerns about how to prepare for and respond to school-based emergencies. Additionally, many teachers have strong emotional reactions to emergency preparedness activities (such as active harmer drills). While the existing infrastructure emphasizes material preparedness, staff psychological preparedness is not typically acknowledged or supported.


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Environment    Worker Health

How Cortney Cuff Creates Community in an Academic Center

It’s not often you meet a person who likes change.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date August 11, 2023
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Students    Student and Alumni    ColoradoSPH at CSU    Worker Health

Student Spotlight: Raissa Chunko

Our center stands on three pillars: Research, Education, and Practice. One of the many ways we work to protect workers is through educating and training future leaders in occupational safety and health (OSH). As part of our Student Spotlight series highlighting our trainees, we interviewed Raissa Chunko, a Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC) trainee earning a Master's in Health Physics from Colorado State University (CSU).


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Training    Worker Health

Colorado School of Public Health Team to Train Mexico’s Social Security Workers in Workplace Health, Safety and Well-Being

In August, 200 Mexican Institute of Social Security (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS)) occupational health and safety professionals from throughout Mexico will gather in Puebla, Mexico to participate in training and earn certificates in an integrated approach to worker well-being.


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Community    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Climate Health    Environment    Worker Health

A First-of-its-Kind Training Program for Doctoral Students Focused on Climate and Worker Safety & Health

The Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) will soon be training researchers to address the impact of climate change on the health of workers. It’s newly established training program for doctoral students, Targeted Research Training Program in Climate and Worker Safety and Health, is the first of its kind in the United States.  


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Community Health    Environment    Global Health    Worker Health

Climate Change and the Health of Vietnamese Subsistence Farmers

The rice fields in the Mekong River Delta of southern Vietnam flood.

Extreme heat in the coffee plantations in the Central Highlands is becoming a regular weather pattern. Vietnam experienced a record-setting heat wave in April and May of this year.


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Alumni    Environment    Worker Health

Alumni Spotlight: Janalee McKnight

Our center stands on three pillars: Research, Education, and Practice. One of the many ways we work to protect workers is through educating and training future leaders in occupational safety and health (OSH). We support trainees in OSH disciplines across six programs through the Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC).

To continue highlighting graduated trainees, we interviewed Janalee McKnight, a MAP ERC alumna working as the Senior Manager, Global Health and Safety Training Programs at VF Corporation.


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Environment    Training    Worker Health

Strengthening Future Workplace Leaders Through Interdisciplinary Education

No job is just one thing. In our work landscape, are moving farther away from ultra-specialized roles. As we look toward the future of work, we need individuals that are interdisciplined.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date June 02, 2023
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Mental Health    Environment    Worker Health

Agricultural Worker Mental Health in Southern Colorado

Katherine A. James, PhD, MSPH, MSCE, traditionally focuses her research on environmental exposures and epidemiology while holding long-standing community partners in the San Luis Valley (SLV). While doing a preliminary assessment for environmental health hazards for the agriculture workforce in Southern Colorado, her community partners sounded an alarm for a behavioral health crisis in the Ag community. James quickly redirected her attention to these health disparities.


Author Nick Stoll | Publish Date June 01, 2023
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Students   

Student Spotlight: Phillip Stepherson

Our center stands on three pillars: Research, Education, and Practice. One of the many ways we work to protect workers is through educating and training future leaders in occupational safety and health (OSH). As part of our Student Spotlight series highlighting our trainees, we interviewed Phillip Stepherson, a Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC) trainee earning a Master's in Industrial Hygiene (IH) from Colorado State University (CSU).


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Environment    Worker Health

NIH Funds $3 Million Research Grant to Study Kidney Health in Guatemalan Women

Researchers from the Center for Health, Work, & Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health have received a $3 million research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The five-year R01 grant from the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences will assess Guatemalan womens’ exposure to air pollution, heat, and kidney toxins in both work and non-work settings. The study will also identify how these environmental hazards could be linked to kidney disease.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date May 08, 2023
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Environment    Worker Health

NORA Oil & Gas Extraction Summit Spotlights Psychosocial Stressors as Top Risk

Oil and gas extraction (OGE) workers face many risk factors. These include insecure employment, long work hours, fatigue, physically demanding work conditions and high rates of substance use. Workplace overdose fatality rates are also highest among workers in mining, quarrying, and OGE occupation.


Author Courtney Cuff | Publish Date April 27, 2023
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Environment    Worker Health

Take a Walk with a Lab Guy

If you are looking for Stephen Brindley, MS, the lab might be the only place you find him sitting.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date April 26, 2023
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Environment    Worker Health

What Learners Are Saying: Total Worker Health® Professional Program

Our center is consistently looking for ways to spread Total Worker Health® knowledge to working professionals. These individuals are the “boots on the ground” practitioners responsible for creating and establishing employee health, safety and well-being programs. This audience was the genesis for creating our Total Worker Health Professional Program (TWH PRO) – we wanted to provide quality TWH education for working professionals in a flexible, self-paced online environment.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date April 25, 2023
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Environment    Worker Health

What We're Taking Away From Research Day 2023

Our Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC) and the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) at the Colorado School of Public Health recently hosted its 14th Annual Research Day Symposium. The event brought together students from the EOH Department, trainees from the MAP ERC, and local professionals and academics to celebrate transdisciplinary student research in environmental and occupational health.  

This year's event explored solving the vexing problems that face the current and future global workforce.
"As educators and scientists, we are classically trained to address workplace challenges. We use approaches which falsely assume that we can control enough factors in the workplace to prevent all injuries and improve overall health. But there are factors outside of our control that can undermine our efforts to promote safe work," said Lee Newman, MD, MA, center director. "How do we begin to solve these vexing problems? Together."


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date April 17, 2023
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Research    Giving    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Climate Health    Environment    Worker Health

$600,000 NIH Grant for Colorado School of Public Health Community Climate Hub

A collaborative group from Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) has been awarded $600,000 from the National Institutes of Health to support the first year of work for the newly-established Mountain West Alliance for Community Engagement-Climate and Health (ACE-CH) Hub, a community of public health researchers and community members working to identify evidence-based and community-driven action in the face of the climate crisis. 


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Alumni    Environment    Worker Health

Alumni Spotlight: Maggie Cook-Shimanek

Our center stands on three pillars: Research, Education, and Practice. One of the many ways we strive to protect workers is by educating and training future leaders in occupational health and safety. We interviewed Maggie Cook-Shimanek, an occupational health physician working as the medical director for the Montana Department of Labor and Industry.


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Community    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Workforce Development    Training    Worker Health

Convening Colorado Business Leaders to Create Recovery Friendly Workplaces

On January 12, 2023, the Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH), along with the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, concluded the first phase of its Recovery Friendly Workplace (RFW) peer learning series – a four-part virtual workshop for Colorado business leaders. Nominated participants represented a range of industries including healthcare, restaurants, hospitality, construction/utilities, local government, and education.


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Students    Environment    Worker Health

Student Spotlight: Colton Castro

The Center for Health, Work & Environment stands on three pillars: Research, Education, and Practice. One of the many ways we work to protect workers is through educating and training future leaders in occupational safety and health (OSH). As part of our Student Spotlight series highlighting our trainees, we interviewed Colton Castro, a Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC) trainee earning a Master's in Environmental Health with a specialization in Industrial Hygiene (CSU).


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date February 06, 2023
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ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

Francesca Macaluso is Public Health, Born and Raised

As the sandhill cranes migrate to the San Luis Valley, nestled beneath the Sangre de Cristo mountains each year, so does Francesca Macaluso, MPH. Each spends their time in the valley among the wetlands and agricultural fields, tied deeply to the earth and the struggling aquifers below it.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date January 09, 2023
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Environment    Worker Health

Have a Cup of Cheer... But Consider Making It a Mocktail

“Have a holly, jolly Christmas; It’s the best time of the year. I don’t know if there’ll be snow but have a cup of cheer.”


Author David Shapiro | Publish Date December 13, 2022
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Climate Health    Environment    Worker Health

Climate Impacts and Solutions for Outdoor Workers

Climate change poses a two-pronged threat to workers. Rising temperatures can induce injuries and illnesses for outdoor workers and those responding to natural disasters. Increasingly hotter temperatures indoors and out can also amplify existing injuries and illnesses for workers with chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and kidney disease.


Author David Shapiro | Publish Date November 17, 2022
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Mental Health    Suicide Prevention    Environment    Worker Health

Preventing Suicide and Protecting Mental Health in the Construction Industry

There is a mental health epidemic going on in the construction industry. People working in construction are nearly 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide than the general population. Among working-age men, construction workers account for nearly 20% of all suicide deaths. As of 2020, construction workers were five times more likely to die from suicide than from a workplace injury or accident.


Author David Shapiro | Publish Date November 15, 2022
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Students    Environment    Worker Health

Student Spotlight: Julia Beckel

The Center for Health, Work & Environmentr stands on three pillars: Research, Education, and Practice. One of the many ways we work to protect workers is through educating and training future leaders in occupational safety and health (OSH). As part of our Student Spotlight series highlighting our trainees, we interviewed Julia Beckel, MS, a Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC) trainee earning a PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Colorado State University (CSU).


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date November 11, 2022
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Environment    Worker Health

Power at Work: Reflections from the 3rd International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health®

Employment is a critical part of a person’s identity and sense of pride. People with steady employment are less likely to live in poverty and more likely to be healthy, but many people in the US have trouble finding and keeping a job. The conditions within the environments where people are born, where they live, learn, work, play and worship, and their age affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.


Author David Shapiro | Publish Date October 31, 2022
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Environment    Worker Health

Celebrating the Success of the 3rd International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health®

This October, the Center for Health, Work & Environment proudly co-hosted the 3rd International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health® with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The Symposium was held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Campus in Bethesda, MD, and virtually.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date October 27, 2022
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Environment    Training    Worker Health

The Future of Total Worker Health® Training

The premise behind the Total Worker Health® approach is simple. Healthy workers make safer decisions and when workers are safe – both physically and psychologically – they are healthier overall. What is less clear are the ways we build capacity for TWH professionals working in the field and discovering what training and support they need.


Author David Shapiro | Publish Date October 26, 2022
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Environment    Worker Health

Why We Need to Listen

This October, I had privilege of attending and presenting at the 3rd International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health®. I observed and engaged in thought leadership around what research, practice and education look like in the field of occupational health and safety. I walked away thinking about not only how important all three are, but how can we integrate them better? In doing so, we may be able to understand how to influence health in the workplace.


Author Natalie Schwatka | Publish Date October 24, 2022
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Students    Environment    Worker Health

OSH Graduate Students Field Trip to a Nuclear Reactor

The Center for Health, Work & Environment houses the Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center, one of 18 centers of its kind supported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


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Diabetes    Environment    Training    Worker Health

Enhancing Employer Engagement in Chronic Disease Prevention and Management

Type 2 diabetes continues to be a leading chronic disease in the United States, affecting 1 in 10 adults and is a serious issue for employers and employees alike. In response to providing employers with the tools to support employees, Health Links™, a program based at the Center for Health, Work & Environment, has developed and hosted trainings and education forums, provided technical assistance through advising sessions, and performed outreach activities over the past three years to address the negative impact of chronic disease in the workplace.


Author Sarah Levine | Publish Date September 28, 2022
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Alumni    Environment    Worker Health

Alumni Spotlight: Angela Darrt

Our center stands on three pillars: Research, Education, and Practice. One of the many ways we work to protect workers is through educating and training future leaders in occupational safety and health (OSH). We support trainees in OSH disciplines across six programs through the Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC). She is also currently Chair of the MAP ERC External Advisory Panel. 


Author Colorado School of Public Health | Publish Date September 21, 2022
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Community    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Training    Worker Health

Leaders in Occupational Safety and Health Launch the Society for Total Worker Health

Leaders in occupational health and safety from across the U.S. have launched the new Society for Total Worker Health™. The Society for Total Worker Health is a non-profit member organization made up of individuals and partners dedicated to the advancement of worker health, safety, well-being, and productivity through Total Worker Health®.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date September 19, 2022
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Awards    Environment    Worker Health

Health Links™ 2022 Annual Event: Celebrating Human Connection

Each year, Health Links celebrates Colorado employers committed to workplace health, safety, and well-being. This year’s event, Celebrating Human Connection, aptly celebrated in-person for the first time in two years. It honored the award winners and finalists for their achievements in the workplace while providing attendees the opportunity to network and gain inspiration from other employers.


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Cannabis    Environment

Heavy Metal Inhalation in Cannabis Users: New Study Funded at the Colorado School of Public Health

Researchers from the Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) have received funding from the Institute for Cannabis Research (ICR) to study the potential exposure to heavy metals from smoking or vaping cannabis.  


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Environment    Worker Health

Wrestling Wicked Problems with Distinguished Professor Lee Newman

A red orange sun glows behind the clouds of smoke rising over the smoldering field. The smell is slightly sweet, but heavy. A cheerful school bus waits beside acres of burnt sugarcane. Lee Newman, MD, MA sits behind a table of lab samples near the bus. He and his research team are working to determine the causes and factors of chronic kidney disease of unknown origin (CKDu) among Guatemalan sugarcane workers – one of many complex problems that attract him.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date August 02, 2022
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Awards    Environment    Worker Health

The Center for Health, Work & Environment Recognizes Key Partners in its Third Annual Recognition Event

On July 21st, The Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) hosted its third annual recognition event to honor the commitment and achievements of some of its key partners. To promote worker health, safety and well-being, CHWE relies on its partnerships with researchers, community groups, industry, and government.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date July 28, 2022
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Environment    Worker Health

A Decade of Dedication: Health Links™ Celebrates 10 Years of Impact

A lot can happen in a year. Even more can happen in 10.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date July 27, 2022
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Community    Mental Health    Addiction    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

Responding to Colorado’s Mental Health and Substance Use Epidemic

The Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) is responding to the national mental health crisis and substance use epidemic that has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This emergency requires a strong joint effort between public health organizations and employers. 


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date July 09, 2022
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Students    Environment    Worker Health

Student Spotlight: Karely Villareal Hernandez

Our center stands on three pillars: Research, Education, and Practice. One of the many ways we work to protect workers is through educating and training future leaders in occupational safety and health (OSH).

As part of our Student Spotlight series highlighting our trainees, we interviewed Karely Villareal Hernandez, a student earning a Master's in Public Health from the Colorado School of Public Health.


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Alumni    Environment    Worker Health

Alumni Spotlight: Kevin Walters

Our center stands on three pillars: Research, Education, and Practice. One of the many ways we work to protect workers is through educating and training future leaders in occupational safety and health (OSH). We support trainees in OSH disciplines across six programs through the Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC).

As part of our Alumni Spotlight series highlighting our graduated trainees, we interviewed Kevin Walters, PhD, an occupational health psychology graduate teaching as an assistant professor of psychology at Fort Lewis College. 


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Worker Health

Mental Health Matters Now

The workplace is the place to address mental health.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date May 09, 2022
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Environment    Worker Health

International Research Team Returns From Guatemala

Researchers from the Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) have completed their first year of data collection for two research grants with agricultural workers in rural Guatemala.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date April 29, 2022
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Environment    Worker Health

ColoradoSPH Professor Looks at Shared Leadership in the Workplace, Uncovering the Factors that Create Organizational Change

Most of us are familiar with the concept of micro ergonomics – where machines, the environment, software, and work activities interact with humans. We think of a specific processes or work system designs such as adjustable desks, supportive chairs, custom office lighting, repetitive task movements, etcetera, that are created to help humans at work.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date April 26, 2022
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Veteran and Military Health    Workforce Development    Environment    Worker Health

Trainees Take a Trip to Fort Carson Army Base

Trainees from our Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC) recently took an old-school field trip to Colorado Springs. After driving an hour and a half south of the CU Anschutz Medical Campus and trying to drive through the wrong base entrance, they arrived at the visitor’s center of Fort Carson Army Base.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date March 29, 2022
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Alumni    Environment    Worker Health

Alumni Spotlight: Silpa Krefft

Our center stands on three pillars: Research, Education, and Practice. One of the many ways we work to protect workers is through educating and training future leaders in occupational safety and health (OSH). We support trainees in OSH disciplines across six programs through the Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC).

As part of our Alumni Spotlight series highlighting our graduated trainees, we interviewed Silpa Krefft, an environmental and occupational medicine graduate working as a pulmonary and critical care physician and researcher. 


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Environment    Worker Health

Black History Month Through Earl Dotter’s Workplace Lens

Earl Dotter can pinpoint the start of his career as a photographer to the exact day. His life’s work behind the camera began on April 4th,1968, the afternoon that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.  At the time, Dotter was pursuing advertising design at New York City’s School of Visual Arts, and on that fateful day one of his instructors ran into class and interrupted the presentation to tell them that King had just been shot. It proved to be a pivotal moment in Dotter’s career path plan, as he committed himself to become what he called a ‘socially useful’ photographer.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date February 23, 2022
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Students    Environment    Worker Health

Student Spotlight: Emily Sharpe

Our center stands on three pillars: Research, Education, and Practice. One of the many ways we work to protect workers is through educating and training future leaders in occupational safety and health (OSH).

As part of our Student Spotlight series highlighting our trainees, we interviewed Emily Sharpe, a student earning a Certificate in Total Worker Health® from the Colorado School of Public Health. Emily works full time as the Living Well Program Director at TIAA, along with serving as mayor of her town, Elon, North Carolina.


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Worker Health

Denver Health Physician Finds Her Clinical Identity in Occupational Medicine

A doctor who, before medical school, double majored in biology and theatre. How many of those students are there? After one quick conversation with Dr. Alisa Koval, it’s easy to see how those two passions, paths for the left and right brain, fit together.  


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date October 07, 2021
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COVID-19    Infectious disease    Environment    Worker Health

Making Safe Business Decisions This Fall

This fall may look a little different, or a lot the same, compared to what we expected six months ago.


Author Liliana Tenney, DrPH, MPH | Publish Date September 28, 2021
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Community    Awards    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

Center for Health, Work & Environment Receives Award to Continue National Center of Excellence for Total Worker Health®

The Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health has been awarded a five-year, approximately $6 million dollar, cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to operate a Center of Excellence for Total Worker Health. Support of this program from the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) will further advance Total Worker Health (TWH) as an emerging field of science and practice and address the needs of the 21st century of workforce through research, intervention, and outreach activities. 


Author Colorado School of Public Health | Publish Date September 22, 2021
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Students    Environment    Worker Health

The Intersection of Science, Philosophy and Community with Diana Jaramillo

Diana Jaramillo’s parents immigrated from Cusco, Peru to the United States when she was 14 years old. Looking for a new life with better opportunities, her parents relocated their family to Florida. “It's hard being uprooted at a very young age and not really knowing the culture, not really fitting in, not even speaking the language,” says Diana. “I think those are all things that you have to overcome. Every immigrant story is complex and comes with many difficulties, as well as many achievements.”


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date September 21, 2021
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Alumni    Worker Health

Alumni Spotlight: Mwangi Ndonga

Our center stands on three pillars: Research, Education, and Practice. One of the many ways we work to protect workers is through educating and training future leaders in occupational safety and health (OSH). We support trainees in OSH disciplines across six programs through the Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC).

To kick off our Alumni Spotlight series highlighting our graduated trainees, we interviewed Mwangi Ndonga, an industrial hygiene graduate working as the Senior Health and Safety Hygienist at Ball Corporation in Broomfield, CO. 


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Worker Health

Sugarcane Workweek Study: Risk Factors for Daily Changes in Creatinine

Researchers from the Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) have published a paper in Kidney International Reports studying the daily changes in creatinine among sugarcane workers in Guatemala. Agricultural workers laboring in thermally stressful environments are at increased risk for kidney injury and chronic kidney disease of unknown origin (CKDu), and their environmental and occupational exposures have been considered to be important risk factors. The study examined the effects of repeated kidney stress from the simultaneous strain of work and other factors experienced by workers during a typical workweek. 

The study was conducted among workers at Pantaleon, one of Latin America's largest agribusinesses. The Center has been partnering with Pantaleon with to conduct research over the last five years and thanks to this collaboration, our team has a unique opportunity to disseminate its findings not only through research publications, but by communicating with other international business organizations. The team uses this public-private partnership to broaden the impact and translation of science into practice.

The research team, led by Dr. Jaime Butler-Dawson, collected data from 107 sugarcane workers across seven consecutive work shifts. Data included information on daily occupational, meteorological, environmental, and lifestyle factors. The study showed the possible connections between heat exposure and drinking water source with acute changes in markers of kidney injury. 

The graphical abstract below provides a clear and succinct summary of the findings from this particular study. If you would like to learn more about our center's work related to climate and worker health, visit our Climate, Work & Health Initiative page.


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Awards    Environment    Worker Health

The Center for Health, Work & Environment Recognizes Key Partners in its Second Annual Recognition Event

(AURORA, Colo.) - The Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) based at the Colorado School of Public Health, is dedicated to promoting the health, safety, and well-being of workers. On July 2nd, CHWE hosted our second annual recognition event to honor the commitment and achievements of some of our key partners. At our core, we partner with researchers, community groups, industry and government to collaborate across all we do.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date July 16, 2021
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Mental Health    Workforce Development    Environment    Worker Health

OSHA Regional Managers Taking Workplace Mental Health Seriously

The pandemic has made public knowledge of something those of us in occupational safety and health have known for quite some time: employee mental health matters. It also cannot be improved without great attention and effort. A workplace culture that promotes mental health awareness demands both organizational support and individual commitment.


Author David Shapiro | Publish Date July 15, 2021
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Environment    Worker Health

Viking Helmets and Radioactive Rhinos. Health Physicist Tom Johnson Keeps Things Interesting.

There is a box full of hats in the corner of his office. There is a shimmering yellow fish, a horned Viking helmet, a foam moose head with antlers, a giant taco, and many more. On any given Zoom meeting or lecture, you will see Tom Johnson, PhD, cycle through a few of these quirky accessories without skipping a beat. He likes to keep things interesting.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date July 14, 2021
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Awards    Environment    Worker Health

Health Links™ Honors Children’s Hospital Colorado with the Inaugural Continued Excellence Award

Children’s Hospital Colorado (Children’s Colorado) delivers award-winning medical care to children and families across the Rocky Mountain region. If you have ever stepped foot into any of Children’s Colorado’s numerous locations throughout the region, you can feel the cheerful, high-caliber quality of that care. This care, however, does not just reach the hospital rooms and outpatient specialty care facilities, but is extended to employees as well.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date July 14, 2021
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Worker Health

Human Side of Work: A Glimpse Into the Working Lives of Others

Recognizing the need to give workers a voice, the Human Side of Work project aims to use the power of storytelling to establish a growing collection of relatable and heartfelt stories and images of generations, documenting natural work environments and providing a glimpse into the human side of work.


Author Amanda Kujawa | Publish Date July 14, 2021
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Awards    Environment    Training    Worker Health

Health Links™ 2021 Annual Event: Celebrating Total Worker Health®

Each year, Health Links celebrates Colorado employers committed to workplace health, safety, and well-being. This year’s virtual event, Celebrating Total Worker Health®, aptly honored the award winners and finalists for their achievements in the workplace while providing attendees the opportunity to network and gain inspiration from other employers. With award celebrations sprinkled throughout the day, attendees participated in a variety of workshops ands continuing education sessions held by academic and industry experts.

Topics included coming back by giving back with inspirational stories from Heidi Ganahl on her personal and professional journey, chronic disease prevention, health-promoting built work environments, mental health technology, modern families at work, health for teleworkers, and more.

"We are consistently impressed by the dedication to Total Worker Health (TWH) from our entire Healthy Workplace Network™ and are thrilled to announce the 2021 Award winners," said Health Links program manager David Shapiro. "Over the past 2 years, in the face of the pandemic, we have seen tremendous advancement in the field of workplace health, safety, and well-being. There is reason to celebrate!"


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Environment    Worker Health

The Impact of Total Worker Health® Advising Among Small-to-Medium-Sized Businesses

Researchers from the Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health have published a paper in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine studying the impact of Total Worker Health (TWH) advising in small- to medium-sized businesses. The study is one of the first to examine how TWH consultation impacts the way organizations adopt and improve workplace policies and practices for worker health and safety.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date July 13, 2021
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Environment    Worker Health

Miranda Dally Gets Down With Data

The drive through the Salinas Valley is nothing if not quintessentially Californian. The highway is tightly edged by uniform, hypnotizing rows of produce—strawberries, artichokes, and lettuce. The harvest season feels as never-ending as the fields themselves, with workers in long sleeves to protect them from the sun, bent over gathering crops year-round.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date July 13, 2021
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Workforce Development    Environment    Worker Health

8 Trends for the Future of Work

The Center for Health, Work & Environment wants to make sure small businesses are not left out of the conversation when it comes to return to work. In a recent webinar, A Safer Return for Small Employers, the Center invited John Dony, senior director of Thought Leadership from the National Safety Council (NSC), to speak to small employers specifically about returning to work after COVID-19.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date July 07, 2021
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Environment    Worker Health

Profiles of Total Worker Health® in Small Businesses Show Commitment and Leadership Matter for Employee Engagement

Researchers from the Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health have published a paper in BMC Public Health studying the profiles of Total Worker Health (TWH) in small businesses. The study, led by a team at CHWE, is one of the first to examine how small businesses operationalize the TWH approach through a business strategy and leadership commitment as well as how organizational climate supports its daily use. The overall emphasis was on whether these working conditions were associated with employee engagement in health and safety practices.


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Students    Environment    Worker Health

Student Spotlight: Elizabeth Watts

Our center stands on three pillars: Research, Education, and Practice. One of the many ways we work to protect workers is through educating and training future leaders in occupational safety and health (OSH). We support trainees in OSH disciplines across six programs through the Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC).

As part of our Student Spotlight series highlighting our trainees, we interviewed Elizabeth Watts, a Total Worker Health® Certificate Program student earning an Master's in Public Health in Community and Behavioral Health (CBH) from the Colorado School of Public Health.


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Community    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

Celebrating Dr. John Adgate’s 12 Years as Chair of the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health

After 12 years, Dr. John Adgate is stepping down as Chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH). He will remain a faculty member for the department and focus on research, teaching and mentoring students.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date June 07, 2021
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

NIH Research Grant to Address Kidney Disease Among Women in Guatemala

Dr. Jaime Butler-Dawson, from the Center for Health, Work, & Environment (CHWE), has received a Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health. The three-year K01 grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences will provides support to examine the environmental determinants of kidney injury in female sugarcane workers and female community members in Guatemala.


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Community    COVID-19    Mental Health    Infectious disease    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Worker Health

Supporting Employee Mental Health: A New Module for Employers to Make Real Change

The Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health has partnered with the University of Colorado Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center to develop and launch the Workplace Mental Health Module, an online toolkit designed for employers wanting to raise awareness and improve the mental health of their employees.

COVID-19 has significantly impacted workers and the business community. Employees and business owners have experienced tremendous stress due to shutdowns, school closures, financial losses and family illness. Almost half of Americans are suffering from mental health issues due to the pandemic.


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Climate Health    Environment    Worker Health

New Research Team Launches to Combat the Effects of Climate Change on Workers and Communities

(AURORA, Colo.) May 7, 2021 – The Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) and the Colorado Consortium on Climate Change and Human Health have launched the Climate, Work & Health Initiative (CWHI). CWHI is an interdisciplinary team of expert researchers, scientists, doctors, and public health professionals dedicated to combating the effects of climate change on vulnerable populations.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date May 07, 2021
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Environment    Worker Health

NIOSH’s 50th Anniversary and Our Impact Through Partnership

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month. Our center has been a proud NIOSH-funded center since 2007. We are grateful to contribute to NIOSH’s mission of science at work for people at workthrough our research, education, and practice.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date April 28, 2021
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Environment    Worker Health

How to Help Small Business Leaders Achieve Total Worker Health®

Organizational change happens in primarily two ways; policies and programs being instituted from the top down or changing leadership practices to demonstrate support for new policies and programs. For small businesses, the latter is less common but more effective in establishing new cultures, policies, and procedures.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date April 23, 2021
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Students    Environment    Worker Health

Student Spotlight: Jillian Moore

Our center stands on three pillars: Research, Education, and Practice. One of the many ways we work to protect worker is through educating and training future leaders in occupational safety and health. We support trainees in OSH disciplines across six programs through the Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC).

As part of our Student Spotlight series highlighting our trainees, we interviewed Jillian Moore, a Master's candidate in our Industrial Hygiene program based at Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins, CO.


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

Bringing Total Worker Health® to a Multinational Agribusiness in Latin America

Researchers from the Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health have published a paper in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health studying the effectiveness of applying Total Worker Health (TWH) in an international context. The study, led by a team at CHWE, is the first to examine how a TWH framework operates outside of a western context in Latin America workforces.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date March 25, 2021
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Climate Health    Environment    Worker Health

$3 Million NIH Grant for Colorado School of Public Health Worker Health Study

Three groups from the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) have been awarded a $3 million 5-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the effects of air pollution and climate on the kidney health of sugarcane workers in Guatemala. The award provides funding to identify how air pollutants contribute to chronic kidney disease of unknown origin (CKDu), a growing international epidemic.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date March 25, 2021
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Environment    Worker Health

Carol Brown Has Her Finger on the Pulse of Our Center

If you are in academia, you already understand the value of a person like Carol Brown. Research and educational programs are only as good as their design. You may have an intriguing hypothesis, quality instructors, strong syllabi, proper funding, and high enrollment, but without proper design and evaluation, your initiatives will not be successful.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date March 24, 2021
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Environment    Global Health    Worker Health

Crossing Continents: Global Worker Health with Lyndsay Krisher

Agua, suero, descanso y sombra. These words hang on the wall of the sugarcane company clinic in Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa, Guatemala. The sign translates to water, electrolytes, rest, and shade. Lyndsay Krisher, however, is not in the clinic. She is out in the field coordinating a team before they begin their field research with sugarcane workers. The team, based at the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH), is seeking to better understand Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Origin (CKDu), an epidemic that is affecting agricultural workers throughout Latin America.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date March 09, 2021
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Environment    Worker Health

Dr. Gwen Fisher Remains Hopeful

COVID-19 has highlighted something Dr. Gwen Fisher has always known to be true; worker health and well-being is important.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date January 13, 2021
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COVID-19    Mental Health    Infectious disease    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

Study Published on the Well-Being of Small Business Workers During COVID-19

During the month of May when the pandemic was starting to take hold, researchers from the Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) performed a study to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on the well-being of workers in Colorado. The team evaluated changes to employees’ work and home life resulting from COVID-19 and individual perceptions of workplace safety and health climates. These climates reflect employee perceptions of how committed their employer is to their safety and health. They are commonly used as an indicator of organizational safety and health cultures.


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Worker Health

Tis’ The Season To Be… Compassionate

Let’s be honest, the holidays are different this year. Our routines and traditions have been upended. We are unable to gather with friends, family, and co-workers like we normally would. This has been a year riddled with trying to balance competing priorities between our work, family, safety and health. During the holiday season, the balancing act can present specific stressors to your organization and your employees.


Author David Shapiro | Publish Date December 15, 2020
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Environment    Worker Health

A Doctor Who Ended Up Someplace Else

There was no path for Brian Williams outside of medicine. As he saw it, from the view of his small town in Mississippi, he could be a doctor, a teacher, or a lawyer, and he chose doctor. Yet in many ways, Brian now finds himself operating as all three of those roles.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date December 14, 2020
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COVID-19    Infectious disease    Environment    Worker Health

COVID-19, Work & Motherhood

Every day in this pandemic seems like Groundhog Day, and yet, I try my utmost to live with gratitude. I am thankful that our family has stayed healthy, that we are employed, that we have access to the great outdoors and to fresh air. But the reality is, the last eight months as a working mother have been just plain hard.


Author Liliana Tenney, DrPH, MPH | Publish Date December 10, 2020
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Alumni    Environment    Worker Health

Preventive Medicine Meets Occupational Health with Ngozi Obi

Ngozi Obi’s medical qualifications are impressive, to say the least. They are extensive, to say a bit more. After graduating from Abia State University and completing her National Youth Service in her home country of Nigeria, she worked briefly as a general practitioner prior to emigrating to the U.S. After passing the United States Medical Licensing Examinations, she was accepted into the Internal Medicine Residency program at the University of Maryland Prince Georges’ Hospital Center in Cheverly, MA and at the George Washington University Hospital in Washington D.C. Afterwards, Ngozi completed her residency training in General Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Colorado while obtaining her Master’s in Public Health in Epidemiology from the Colorado School of Public Health.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date October 26, 2020
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Awards    Environment    Worker Health

Health Links™ Annual Awards Ceremony: Celebrating Colorado’s Healthiest Places to Work 2020

Each year, Health Links celebrates Colorado employers committed to workplace health, safety, and well-being. Although we were unable to celebrate in-person, this year’s virtual event aptly honored the award winners and finalists for their achievements in the workplace while providing attendees the opportunity to network and gain inspiration from other employers pursuing health and safety in their workplaces.


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Awards    Environment    Worker Health

The Center for Health, Work & Environment Recognizes Key Players in its First Annual Recognition Event

(AURORA, Colo.) - The Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) based at the Colorado School of Public Health, is dedicated to promoting the health, safety, and well-being of workers. On October 6th, CHWE hosted its first annual recognition event to honor the commitment and achievements of some of its key partners.  


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Environment    Worker Health

Integrating Work, Life, Health, and Safety with David Shapiro

David Shapiro took his liberal arts education as an invitation. His early college courses had sparked an interest in African culture, which quickly inspired David to spend the first half of his junior year studying abroad in Zimbabwe. After returning to school, he paired his Anthropology major with the African History major he created.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date October 08, 2020
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Environment    Worker Health

OSHA Makes Final Rule Revising Beryllium Standard

Dr. Lee Newman, Director at the Center for Health, Work & Environment based at the Colorado School of Public Health, has researched one element on the periodic table—beryllium—and its effect on worker health for more than three decades. Beryllium is a lightweight metal often used to manufacture aerospace technology and everyday goods, from golf clubs to bicycles. Exposure to this element’s dust, even a minuscule amount, is toxic. Beryllium can cause a range of serious health issues, including an incurable lung disease called chronic beryllium disease (CBD).


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Students    Environment    Worker Health

Ergonomic Design for Every Body: A Fashion Professional’s Journey into Occupational Health

You may recognize Kayna Hobbs from the TEDxCSU talk she gave in March 2020. Kayna discussed a project she worked on that used 3D body scanning for apparel design. But allow us to rewind; the road in which this TEDx talk marks the midway point takes a few interesting twists and turns.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date August 20, 2020
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Training    Worker Health

$9 Million CDC Grant for Colorado School of Public Health’s Center for Health, Work & Environment

The Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health has been awarded a $9 million five-year training and research grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to improve worker health, safety and well-being. The award from the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provides continued support for the Mountain & Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC), under the direction of University of Colorado Distinguished Professor Lee Newman, MD, MA and Colorado State University Professor Stephen Reynolds, PhD.  


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Worker Health

Discovering Industrial Hygiene with Mike Van Dyke

It is hard to picture yourself as a physician when you do not like being in clinics or hospitals. It is even harder to imagine life as a doctor when you do not like touching sick people. In his junior year of college, while studying pre-medicine at the University of Southern Colorado (now CSU Pueblo), Mike Van Dyke toured CU Medical School and realized that these statements were true for him, and therefore medicine was not for him.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date July 08, 2020
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COVID-19    Worker Health

Consulting Latin American Agribusiness on COVID-19 Response

In the midst of a global pandemic, we understand that the coronavirus shows no partiality—it poses a threat to all peoples in all countries. The mission of our Center is similarly impartial. We stand to improve the health, safety and well-being of workers—meaning all workers, not just those within our city, state, or country. How do we use our expertise to promote worker health in the midst of the pandemic?


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date June 29, 2020
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Environment    Worker Health

How a US Navy Nuclear Machinist Became a Health Physicist

Aboard the USS George Washington in 2014, Nuclear Machinist Mate 2nd Class Anna Deak was checking items off a list. Her tasks never crossed her mind as having anything to do with safety. While on the ship, Deak was conducting a survey of contamination and radiation levels both in and outside of the ship’s nuclear power plant.

As a nuclear machinist, Deak enjoyed the mental rigor and high security clearance required for her work, but its implications on occupational safety and health (OSH) had in no way yet entered her mind.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date June 26, 2020
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Environment    Worker Health

Behind the Screenings with Joelle Wedel

In 1987, Joelle Wedel began a summer internship at National Jewish Health while studying biology at Colorado College. It was here that Joelle met Dr. Lee Newman, working as a pulmonary physician, who would end up being her mentor far beyond just her college years.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date May 29, 2020
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Environment    Training    Worker Health

New Publication Outlines Training Standards for Total Worker Health® Professionals

In a newly published paper in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Education and Training to Build Capacity in Total Worker Health®: Proposed Competencies for an Emerging Field, experts in the field of Total Worker Health have proposed the first set of core competencies for training professionals entering the discipline.


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Mental Health    Worker Health

Plant Rx: Five of the Best Indoor Plants to Keep You Company During Self-Isolation

For never considering myself a green thumb, I surround myself with a jungle of plant children. My plants give me the overwhelming sense that I am connected to nature still within my apartment walls. And now, as we try to manage our mental health at home, in small ways my plants are helping me get through this uncertain time.


Author Amanda Kujawa | Publish Date May 20, 2020
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Giving    Environment    Worker Health

$1.4 Million Gift to Establish Endowed Fund for Worker Health at the Center for Health, Work & Environment

University of Colorado Distinguished Professor Lee Newman, MD and his wife, Lori Szczukowski, MD have committed $1.4 million to establish the Endowed Fund for Worker Health. The generous gift will contribute largely to the sustainability of the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health, ensuring dedicated resources to pursue new and expanded initiatives consistent with its mission.     

“Now more than ever, philanthropic partnerships and collaboration with key leadership are vital to ensuring that we continue to innovate and create the health solutions of tomorrow,” said Scott Arthur, Vice Chancellor of Advancement at the University of Colorado Anschutz. “This investment will continue to protect the safety, physical health, and mental health of workers in Colorado, the country, and around the globe,” he added.     

This gift is just one of many examples of Newman and Szczukowski’s lifelong commitment to serving communities and advancing health.     

Newman is the founder and director of the Center for Health, Work & Environment and a professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health. He originally held an appointment in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and played a fundamental role in the creation of the Colorado School of Public Health. Over the past three decades, his service and scholarship has brought him international recognition and benefited workers on a local, national, and international level. Newman’s work has had an impact far beyond academia. He was founding president and CEO of Axion Health, Inc., an occupational health information technology company that helps ensure the safety of America’s health care workers. His tireless efforts over the course of three decades, conducting research, teaching public health and medical students, and educating policymakers, have resulted in stronger safety standards to protect workers from exposure to beryllium.     

Szczukowski, a physician for more than three decades and a former instructor at Colorado School of Public Health, began her professional career in group practice as an internist in Denver, later transitioning to the field of occupational medicine. For nearly two decades, her clinical practice involved treating injured workers at Denver Health’s occupational health clinics at Denver International Airport and the Center for Occupational Safety and Health, in downtown Denver. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Szczukowski came out of retirement to help serve others. She is currently providing telehealth support to health care workers and city employees who are ill with COVID-19.   

 “We are grateful to be able to contribute to a University, School, and Center that value the importance of preserving the health, safety, and well-being of workers. Today, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the message is more compelling than ever: We must redouble our efforts as a nation to provide safe working conditions, or else our public health and economic systems will suffer,” said Newman. “With this gift, we want to be part of a lasting contribution to the Center for Health, Work & Environment in its mission.”   

About the Center for Health, Work and Environment 
The Center for Health, Work and Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health is one of six Centers of Excellence for Total Worker Health® and houses the Mountain and Plains Education and Research Center, one of 18 centers of its kind supported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Main offices for the Center are located at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado. The Center team works with faculty, students, and community partners on numerous projects in occupational and environmental health, safety, and well-being.     

About the Colorado School of Public Health 
The Colorado School of Public Health is the first and only accredited school of public health in the Rocky Mountain Region, attracting top tier faculty and students from across the country, and providing a vital contribution towards ensuring our region’s health and well-being. Collaboratively formed in 2008 by the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, and the University of Northern Colorado, the Colorado School of Public Health provides training, innovative research and community service to actively address public health issues including chronic disease, access to health care, environmental threats, emerging infectious diseases, and costly injuries. Learn more and follow Colorado SPH’s updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Community    COVID-19    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

The Verge: Elon Musk's Battle to Reopen Tesla's Fremont Plant May Shape His Legacy

Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that some manufacturing in the state would be allowed to resume on May 8; but if the state and the county disagree, the more restrictive order is the one that matters. And although some counties may go slower than the state in reopening business, no one may go faster, according to Sonia Angell, the head of the state’s department of public health. 


Author The Verge | Publish Date May 15, 2020
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Environment    Worker Health

While Science Moves Slow, Lili Tenney Moves Fast

In 2006, while the economy was heading into a downturn, an economic trend was on the rise. Businesses, specifically small entrepreneurs, were exploring new ways of practicing corporate social responsibility. Lili Tenney, a recent college graduate with a business degree from the University of Colorado Boulder, was intrigued by this corporate trend. Having started a mission-driven retail business (LiKi FAIRE) with her sister, Lili was exploring new and creative ways for companies to positively impact communities. 


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date May 06, 2020
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Community    Community and Practice    Sustainability    Environment    Worker Health

Top Tips for How Academia Can Be More Sustainable

As global climate change continues to threaten the health of the planet and impact our lives, sustainable business practices are becoming increasingly important. As part of earning my Master’s in Public Health at the Colorado School of Public Health, I created and performed a sustainability audit of the Center for Health, Work & Environment. I specifically studied the travel practices of the Center, as travel is a significant producer of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, one of the major contributing factors to climate change. As part of the Center’s mission to help organizations create sustainable workforces, it aims to promote the sustainability of the planet by lowering its own carbon footprint. 

Based on the results of my project, I’ve created the following tips for ways academic organizations can decrease their carbon footprint, specifically regarding travel practices. 

1. Perform an office carbon audit to measure your organization’s carbon footprint All types of organizations contribute to GHG emissions in a variety of ways. By identifying the various sources of carbon emissions and energy usage in the workplace, you can effectively create strategies for reduction. 

2. Conduct and promote travel in an eco-friendly manner Air travel is one of the fastest-growing sources of GHG emissions, resulting in a large environmental impact, and globally contributes to 2.8% of the world’s total CO2 emissions. Car travel also has a negative environmental impact. Flying direct and to the closest airport to your destination, taking public transportation or ride shares on trips, and incentivizing carpooling and public transportation are achievable ways to decrease the environmental impact of individual travel.   

3. Host virtual events Holding events is an integral part of conducting business, specifically in academic settings, and allows people to form and build relationships, network, and share knowledge. However, in-person events also leave behind a considerably large carbon footprint. Hosting virtual conferences and events can cater to a broader audience while lowering the carbon footprint associated with travel. Going virtual also offers a more time-and cost-efficient alternative for both hosts and attendees. Zoom's webinar function and Zoom breakout rooms are engaging ways to hold meetings in a virtual format, enabling more realistic and personable interactions between attendees. 

4. Redesign meetingsBy consolidating meeting days and allowing them to be hosted virtually, fewer employees are required to be present in the office throughout the week. Decreasing the number of days employees need to travel to the office decreases their commuter-related carbon emissions. Holding offsite meetings in a central location with close proximity to public transportation enables employees to travel via public transportation instead of driving. 

The American Public Transportation Association estimates that public transit saves roughly 1.4 billion gallons of gas annually, which translates to about 14 million tons of CO2. Traveling by bus is about 30% more emission-efficient than traveling by single-occupancy vehicle and traveling by rail is about 75% more emission-efficient than traveling by single-occupancy vehicle. 

5. Encourage remote work and telecommuting 
At the Center for Health, Work & Environment, employees commute roughly 2,000 miles per week, emitting an estimate of 1800 pounds of CO2. Encouraging employees in flexible roles to work from home a few days a week can greatly reduce the amount of CO2 emitted in commuting. Consider using online applications as a way to foster connectedness and communication while employees are not physically working together. Slack or Microsoft Teams are popular solutions that allow employees to continue inter-office communication in real-time while working remotely.   

6. Create a healthy meeting and event catering policy
A vegetarian diet greatly reduces an individual and organization’s carbon footprint. A meat-based diet contributes to over 50% of GHG contribution, while a vegetarian diet contributes to only about 9%. Consider offering only vegetarian meal options at employee gatherings or meetings of all sizes. Also consider ordering from local restaurants, which not only reduces travel time for food delivery (reducing GHG emissions) but is also an opportunity to support the local economy. Don’t forget to tell caterers when you do and don’t need items like plastic or compostable utensils, cups and plates to cut down on waste.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date May 04, 2020
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Community    COVID-19    Infectious disease    Community and Practice    Environment    Worker Health

Research Day Reflections

A wave of emotions swept over me as I read the University’s notice that we would no longer be able to hold in-person events larger than 75 people due to COVID-19. This news would inevitably threaten the long-anticipated 12th annual Research Day Symposium, an event that the Center for Health, Work & Environment had been planning for an entire year. Although disappointment swept the office, Center Director Lee Newman remained positive. Knowing the importance of this event to students, instructors, and environmental and occupational health professionals, Lee encouraged us to hold the event in an online format. Our team huddled together every day for two weeks to figure out how to make the event happen, using it as an opportunity to hold the first virtual Research Day which turned out to be a great success!   

Dr. John Howard, the director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) began the day with a keynote presentation on the future of work and technology, an apt subject for a virtual conference. Students from each of the five Mountain and Plains Education & Research Center (MAP ERC) programs presented platform presentations, posters, and 5-minute ignite sessions. The 100 virtual attendees were highly engaged, listening and participating in interactive Q&A discussions.   

The following students were awarded by a panel of judges made up of academics and professionals for the best poster presentation in each of the five MAP ERC program categories and environmental and occupational health, as well as an award for the best platform presentation:   


Author Sarah Levine | Publish Date April 08, 2020
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Research    Mental Health    Suicide Prevention    Environment    Worker Health

Mental Health in the Mountains

Mental health is at the front and center as our world faces the coronavirus pandemic. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 9.6 million American adults suffer from a serious mental illness —that is 1 in 5 adults. Mountain and rural communities, ski towns specifically, have significantly higher rates of suicide compared to the national average (14.0 per 100,000). Destinations such as Telluride and Aspen in Colorado and Alta and Snowbird in Utah have up to two to three times as many suicides as the national average. It has been referred to as the “paradise paradox”.” With the allure of the West’s landscapes and outdoor lifestyles often comes a host of realities including isolation, lack of mental health care, easy access to firearms, and financial stressors. Experts from the University of Colorado Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center have also cited the social makeup of these communities as a contributing factor to mental health conditions and suicide. The transient nature of resort communities results in people having to regularly rebuild their support systems. 

Last September, we partnered with community groups in Summit County, Utah to invite local employers to share their perspectives on the topic. Representatives from the tourism and service industries expressed the significant mental health struggle their communities face. One participant, an owner of a local restaurant group, summed it up as a “toxic work environment.” “You have people who come here to live the dream but have to work three jobs just to get by,” he explained. “We live and work in a place with primarily seasonal jobs which come with income instability, very high demands, and stress in peak times.” Other participants shared how they support employees by shifting schedules to allow employees to take days off even at busy times. “Overall, we heard from local business leaders that mental health is an issue they care about. They want to find solutions to ensure that their workforce is safe not only when they come to work, but when they go home,” shared Lili Tenney, director of outreach at the Center for Health, Work & Environment. “These employers often face ongoing struggles just to stay in business, so to have people take time off to share their personal stories and commitment to take action was very encouraging.” 

In response to the workforce needs of these communities, our Center partnered with the Depression Center to host two days of workshops in February for mental health and suicide prevention in the workplace. The in-person trainings focused on reducing stigma, identifying warning signs, gaining crucial conversation skills, and establishing adaptable workplace supports. The first day trained 150 employees from Vail Resorts representing seven company divisions including base and mountain operations, hospitality, skier services, and corporate administration. The group of supervisors ranged from 25-66+ years of age and responded in pre and post surveys that they had all been in contact with someone who appeared to be experiencing mental health challenges at work. Sixty-nine percent of them reported being in contact with someone who appeared suicidal. The second day was hosted by the Park City Chamber of Commerce and brought together managers and supervisors from the service and tourism industries. Participants improved their knowledge about suicide from pre-training (3.1/5) to post-training (4.1/5) and improved their ability to get help for someone considering suicide from pre-training (3.4/5) to post-training (4.6/5). 

“Employers in these communities are eager to play a role in supporting their employees,” says Tenney. “While our work at the Center aims to serve workers across the Western region, we are focused on developing community models that provide education and resources to help prevent mental illness and suicide in all places where access to care is lacking and risk factors are high.” 

To receive more information on supporting employees, visit our Health Links Resource Center and training opportunities.   

Special thanks to Alex Yannacone, Director of Education and Community Programs at the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center, CONNECT Summit County, Park City Chamber of Commerce, and Vail Resorts.   


Author Liliana Tenney, DrPH, MPH | Publish Date April 07, 2020
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Community    Community and Practice    Cannabis    Environment    Training    Worker Health

Health and Safety Training for Cannabis Cultivation Workers

The commercial cannabis industry continues to grow in Colorado and nationwide, demanding the need for a new workforce to be trained in occupational safety and health (OSH). In 2016, educators at the Center for Health, Work & Environment designed and delivered a full-day, in-person workshop for cannabis cultivation workers—one of the first learning experiences in the country of this kind. The course was an overview of OSH hazards and topics critical to the industry including chemical exposures, repetitive motion disorders, lockout/tagout, machine guarding, and personal protective equipment. A total of 208 people attended the two full-day trainings. 

To ensure we continue to provide high-quality educational offerings, our center evaluates all of its continuing education activities. Our recent paper, published in the Annals of Work Exposure and Health, describes how we evaluated this specific training. We wanted to know what attendees thought about the training, whether their knowledge about OSH in the cannabis industry improved, and how their OSH concerns changed after the training. 

Our evaluation discovered that:

91% of attendees rated the training as “very good” or “excellent.”
76% of attendees reported increased knowledge.
Attendees planned to implement changes in the workplace such as conducting more safety trainings, changing safety programs and policies, improving hazards, increasing OSH communications, and performing ergonomic and hazard assessments. 

Our evaluation demonstrates that OSH concerns of attendees shifted before and after the training, reflecting a better understanding of the musculoskeletal and respiratory hazards that exist in cannabis cultivation work. The training increased workers’ awareness of OSH issues that are more concerning and hazardous in their work than issues they previously thought were the most pressing. 

A significant takeaway from this training and its evaluation is that cannabis cultivation workers are highly interested in OSH training specific to their industry. Based on the rapidly expanding legalized cannabis landscape, the industry will continue to need updated information to keep its workforce safe and healthy on the job. Our center offers an online version of this training through its continuing education platform and is in the process of developing a more extensive training in the next year.   

If you are interested in occupational safety and health training for your cannabis cultivation employees, please reach out


Author Carol Brown | Publish Date April 06, 2020
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Students    Student and Alumni    Environment    Worker Health

Student Spotlight: Rebecca Clancy

When you think about occupational safety and health (OSH), what comes to mind? For some of us, we immediately think of OSHA regulations, personal protective equipment (PPE), and workplace ergonomics. For Mountain and Plains Education & Research Center (MAP ERC) trainee Rebecca Clancy, she admits to once sharing this narrow view of OSH. Prior to starting the Occupational Health Psychology (OHP) program based at Colorado State University, Rebecca acknowledges, “I did not have a good sense of what types of jobs were available in the field or the diversity of graduate training programs available. I was searching for how I could use my background in psychology to improve employee health and well-being.” Now, nearing the end of her third year in the MAP ERC, Rebecca can confidently say that her understanding of OSH has been expanded and her direction in the field defined.


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date March 30, 2020
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Community    Community and Practice    Environment    Worker Health

Faces of CHWE: Jaime Butler-Dawson

Jamie Butler-Dawson, a research instructor at the Center for Health, Work & Environment, grew up thinking she was going to be the next Dian Fossey. Environmental studies, not occupational health, was it as far as she was concerned. Instead of living in the jungle with gorillas, Jaime’s journey began with catching lizards with a fishing pole in the Idaho desert. She went on to pursue environmental studies, graduating with a wealth of options to contemplate. Jaime thought, “I don’t want to become a doctor, nor an expert lizard hunter, but I do have a strong interest in global environmental health.” She decided to obtain a Master’s in Global Health at Boston University where she began studying metal exposures in veterans through an internship with the Veterans Health Administration. The project was Jaime's first introduction to occupational health by way of her passion for environmental health. 

While at Boston University, she spent a semester abroad studying Malaria in the Philippines. Two important aspects of Jaime’s life began here; her love for karaoke (her go-to song is “Killing Me Softly” by The Fugees); and her continued exposure to occupational health. She studied Malaria risks and exposures among farmers in a place where the majority of the population work in subsistence agriculture. According to Jaime, “People going to work in the fields impacted anything I did as a researcher, such as diagnostic testing, data gathering, providing educational messaging on prevention. Everything I tried to do revolved around their work and when they could be reached outside of it.” 

After graduating with her Master’s, Jaime decided to join the U.S. Peace Corps and moved to Burkina Faso in Africa to work as a Health Extension Agent. During her time as a volunteer, Jaime focused on understanding the barriers keeping rural populations from accessing the local health clinic for early treatment, prenatal check-ups, and community health education talks. The answer was simple: work. “Even though these communities are exposed to environmental hazards, they still have to work every day,” said Jaime. “I recognized that there is a huge intersection between environmental and occupational health. You cannot understand the effects of people’s environment if you’re not also considering how work impacts their health.” 

As this reality sunk in for Jaime, she used it as a key strategy for future public health projects. “Before coming to this understanding, I felt like I was spinning my wheels. I started determining what days to hold community talks based on the days workers had off,” she said. “I began adding an economic spin to my community health talks, tying environmental exposures and health risks back to people’s jobs and livelihood.” After two years of bucket showers in a mud hut, Jaime returned to the United States and began working for the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Division of Global HIV/AIDS. Part of her work was implementing worker health programs to reduce needlestick injuries. After three years with the CDC, Jaime was looking to return to environmental health. She moved to Iowa and received her PhD in Occupational and Environmental Health from the University of Iowa conducting research on agriculture workers and their families. 

While studying in Iowa, Jaime took both environmental and occupational health classes. “Environmental health scientists don’t often realize the expertise they can get by studying occupational health,” she said. “Environmental health scientists apply occupational health exposure science, risk assessments, and analytical methods. The field is so intertwined, it’s so interdisciplinary.”

Jaime started applying her new skills in the field by exploring environmental exposures in agricultural workers in the Gambia. She made sure that her research surveys included questions about people’s work to assess how environmental exposures were associated with the pesticides they were exposed to on the job.  Jamie’s journey illustrates how closely environmental health intertwines with both occupational health and community health. “In an agricultural community, parents are working in the fields and bringing pesticide residues home to their children,” said Jaime. “If you are working in a community, you need to be aware of the household occupations and consider how people bring their work home to that community—they’re connected.” 

After completing her PhD, Jaime landed at the Colorado School of Public Health where she now works as a research instructor at the Center for Health, Work & Environment. Her experiences have come full circle at the Center where she runs field studies in agriculture studying chronic kidney disease of unknown origin (CKDu). “I had been thinking so much about public health practice,” said Jaime. “I wanted to make sure the research I would be conducting would be applied, which is what the Center prioritizes in all it does.” 

Jaime helps lead the Center’s team in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Mexico, using environmental health practices and a Total Worker Health® approach to develop and implement evidence-based, practical solutions to improve the health and well-being of the workers. "I tried to separate environmental and occupational health my whole life,” Jaime said, “but work is just too important.” 


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date March 17, 2020
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Community    Community and Practice    Environment    Worker Health

Safety Professional Organizations Adopting Total Worker Health®

Intrinsic to the effectiveness of Total Worker Health® (TWH) is its adoption and adaptation by working professionals across disciplines. From universities training professionals in health and safety; to organizations like Health Links™ mentoring employers and workplace champions; to professional organizations adopting principles and marketing them to their members; the interest in TWH is growing. The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) are two professional associations working to apply TWH to their professions and see it grow. And what better place to start with the adoption of TWH than with safety and industrial hygiene professional organizations? 

With help from our Center’s faculty and students, both ASSP and AIHA are building convening TWH task forces. These groups will strategize how to best deliver and communicate TWH to their members. Dr. Natalie Schwatka, an assistant professor for the TWH Program at the Colorado School of Public Health, sits on ASSP’s TWH task force. Intrinsic to her role as a professor, Natalie has a passion for education and cares about helping her professional community. In wondering how to bring those interests together, she thought, “’How can I combine them in the context of what I already do?’ When ASSP sent out the call for members, I was happy to join the task force. It came at the perfect time since our Center was expanding its work in the field as a NIOSH-funded Center of Excellence for TWH.”

In 2018-2019, ASSP’s TWH task force embarked on a journey to understand how ASSP could pursue TWH as a major topic area. The task force’s strategy included a national needs assessment of members to gauge their current knowledge of and engagement with TWH. A major finding from the survey was that members want and need resources to help apply TWH to their day-to-day work. Natalie has been a member of the organization’s tools and resources group which has begun to curate TWH resources for the safety professional. The group created a new section on the ASSP website devoted to listing existing TWH resources and tools for professionals with basic, intermediate, and advanced levels of TWH understanding. According to Natalie, “We’re trying to choose the best resources to keep on ASSP’s site, while developing tools the safety professional can use to assess their own work.” Natalie will continue to work with the ASSP TWH task force to create and curate more member resources for implementing evidence-based TWH practices. 

Deborah Nelson and Penny Pietrowski are members of AIHA’s TWH task force. Deborah, a retired tenured professor in environmental science from the University of Oklahoma, graduated with her Certificate in Total Worker Health® from the Colorado School of Public Health this winter and shares a passion for integrating disciplines, a core value of TWH. Penny, who enrolled in the Certificate in Total Worker Health® program this spring, works in occupational health for the US Army in the Command Surgeon’s Office of her organization. Penny is a part of the Army’s efforts to improve the workplace safety, health and well-being of its employees, soldiers and their families. “We’re trying to tie it all together and understand how TWH principles have an impact on the worker and on soldiers,” said Penny. After hearing Dr. Schwatka speak at the annual American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Expo last year, Penny said she realized that “we’re all trying to do a lot of the same things and take a more holistic approach to improve employee well-being, but we’re using different language to describe our efforts. I wanted to study TWH to understand how our paths can overlap and how we can bring come together.” 

AIHA’s committee is working on strengthening their relationships with the six NIOSH Centers of Excellence for TWH as a guide for their path forward. Similar to ASSP, AIHA hopes to see industrial hygienists understand the applicability of TWH and adopt its principles in their work. According to Deborah, AIHA’s TWH task force is working on collecting and tailoring existing TWH resources “so they are understandable and relevant for all industrial hygienists specifically.” 

We are thrilled that both former and current students, as well as our Center faculty, are participating in these TWH task forces. We look forward to the continued collaboration with ASSP and AIHA and adoption of TWH for safety and health professionals nationwide.   


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date March 11, 2020
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Research    Environment    Worker Health

New Study Finds Ways to Increase Employee Motivation in Total Worker Health® Programs

Many employers invest in Total Worker Health® (TWH) programs but struggle to engage employees in them—even when they offer incentives for participation. Findings from our recent study, in collaboration with Clemson University, published in the Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health, show that employers looking to increase employee engagement should first focus on how their organization demonstrates its commitment to TWH through leadership, values, and practices. 

Using data from the Small+Safe+Well (SSWell) Study, our team looked at 36 small businesses representing 1,052 employees implementing different levels of TWH. The study aimed to understand employee perspectives on how much their organization valued and was committed to their safety, health, and well-being. Dr. Natalie Schwatka, the study’s lead author, says, “We know these perceptions are related to employee engagement, but what we did not know was how they were related. That’s where motivation comes into play.” 

If you are an employer, you might be asking yourself, “My business has a TWH program. Isn’t that enough of a demonstration of commitment?” The answer is yes…and no. Employees make judgment calls about their organization’s commitment by observing whether TWH programs are supported by management; given adequate resources; based on employee input; and continually improved. These observations make up what are called “safety and health climates.” These climates are a snapshot of a business’s health and safety culture at one point in time. 

We find that motivation is the key link between safety and health climates and employee participation in TWH programs. As you think about what motivates you personally, consider how your organization shows that it cares about health and safety and how that impacts you.

Interestingly, we find that three kinds of motivation are at play here:  

1. External motivation – “I do it because I have to”
2. Identified motivation – “I do it because I know it’s good for me”
3. Intrinsic motivation – “I do it because it’s interesting to me” 

When your organization decides to improve safety and health climates, it is influencing each kind of motivation. Importantly, it is influencing intrinsic motivation, which is thought to be the most powerful kind of motivation. It represents an internally driven reason that causes an employee to engage in TWH programs. 

What does this mean for your business or your TWH practice? Based on our study’s findings, we recommend the following steps:   

1. Conduct an employee survey. Assess your company’s safety and health climates through an employee survey to learn whether they perceive a commitment to safety and health. *Businesses enrolled in Health Links™ Premium Plan can access our validated employee health and safety culture survey.   

2. Explore creative ways to increase engagement. Think beyond the use of incentives as they do not have a lasting impact on behavior and can actually decrease engagement when removed. Make sure management actively participate in your programs. Get feedback from diverse groups of employees. Consider not only what they need but what they want. When employees have a say in the programs, they will feel a greater sense of ownership of them.  


Author Natalie Schwatka | Publish Date March 10, 2020
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

Young Sugarcane Workers at High Risk of Kidney Function Decline

Researchers from the Center for Health, Work and Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health have published a paper in PLoS-ONE studying the decline in kidney function for young, first-time sugarcane workers in Guatemala. The study, led by University of Colorado Instructor Miranda Dally, is the first to examine kidney function decline in workers starting their first day on a job with a high risk of developing Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Origin (CKDu), a rising epidemic in rural workers in Central and South America. 


Author Laura Veith | Publish Date March 09, 2020
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Community    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

Outdoor Recreation Industry Office Launches Get Outdoors Employer Toolkit- Employers Encouraged to Take the Get Outdoors Survey

The Outdoor Recreation Industry Office at the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade launched the Get Outdoors Employer Toolkit, designed for Colorado companies interested in improving the health and well-being of their employees. 


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Community    Community and Practice    Environment    Worker Health

Leadership Matters, Regardless of Business Size

Almost half of all American workers are employed by a small business. Working hard to stay afloat, these small businesses often have fewer resources for employee health and safety. They typically cannot afford robust benefits like employee assistance programs (EAPs), wellness vendors, or other health and safety programs to offer their employees. They also often lack the time, personnel, and expertise to prioritize health and safety. For this reason, researchers at the Center for Health, Work & Environment launched the Small+Safe+Well (SSWell) Study in 2017. 

The SSWell Study is an ongoing Total Worker Health® intervention study of small businesses (fewer than 500 employees) in the state of Colorado with the purpose of understanding how small businesses support the safety and health of their employees and how these businesses can improve their culture of safety and health. 

After earning my master’s in public health, I began working at the Center for Health, Work & Environment and quickly developed a passion for occupational safety and health. Workers spend so much of their lives on the job and give so much to their employers. Their safety and health should not suffer for the sake of their job. Rather, the workplace should be used as a space to promote worker health, safety, and well-being. I take this perspective and understanding in my role as study coordinator for the SSWell Study. 

Our research team recently published a paper, "Small Business Employees’ Perceptions of Leadership Are Associated With Safety and Health Climates and Their Own Behaviors," in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Leading the study, I used data from the SSWell Study consisting of 53 small businesses representing 1,271 employees. We found that employee perceptions of how much their leaders care about safety and health are significantly related to the safety and health climate of their organization. Safety and health climates refer to shared employee perceptions of how their organization values safety or health. According to our study, employee perceptions of how much their leaders care about safety and health not only informs the safety and health climates, but is also associated with employee behavior. Those individuals that expressed more positive perceptions of leadership were more likely to participate in both health and safety activities, such as attending worksite wellness meetings or becoming a member of the safety committee. To date, this is the first study addressing the impact of leadership on safety and health climates among small businesses. 


Author Erin Shore | Publish Date January 14, 2020
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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    One Health    Worker Health

The Role of Veterinarians in the Opioid Crisis

More than 399,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription and illicit opioids from 1999-2017. There are many efforts to educate physicians and dentists about their roles and responsibilities in addressing this national crisis. But what about veterinarians? Animals, like humans, may receive opioids for pain. Veterinarians and veterinary clinics can be registered with the US Drug Enforcement Administration and in many states can administer, prescribe, stock, and dispense opioids. As efforts to educate and monitor opioid prescribing by medical and dental providers have increased, individuals may try to covertly access opioids for their own use from their pets or other animals. In addition, leftover opioids from veterinary prescriptions can also result in diversion, misuse, or inadvertent exposure for members of the household. Access to opioids in the workplace can also lead to misuse by veterinary staff leading to overdose and death. 


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Mental Health    Environment    Worker Health

Silence Stunts Healing: Opening Up About Mental Health in the Workplace. A Personal Note.

One in five U.S. adults lives with a mental illness[1], yet we’re loath to talk about mental health in the workplace.  We’re hesitant to ask for what we need—a flexible work schedule, a mental health day, a check-in with leadership. We don’t want to lose our jobs, be passed up for promotions, be judged by coworkers. The stigma of mental illness keeps us silent. And silence stunts healing.


Author Amanda Kujawa | Publish Date November 20, 2019
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Environment    Worker Health

How To Engage Employees in Safety Training

On October 28 and 29, the Center for Health, Work & Environment attended and served on the planning committee for the Rocky Mountain Safety Conference. The annual event, hosted by the Colorado Safety Association, brought together over 100 safety professionals in the region and focused on safety training based on a core driving principle of Total Worker Health® (TWH) – human engagement. TWH is rooted in the practice of approaching employees as more than just workers, but as human beings rooted in dignity, allowing safety professionals to seek the comprehensive health of the worker as a whole person.


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Environment    Worker Health

Improving Worker and Workplace Health: Current Status, Building Capacity and Potential New Directions

The nature of work as we know it in the U.S. is rapidly changing. The proportion of older workers is growing, the workforce is becoming more diverse, and technology continues to shape and re-shape what we do and how we do it. So how do we begin to predict what the needs are for ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of all workers? To help us answer this question, the Center for Health, Work and Environment hosted Dr. Laura A. Linnan, senior associate dean for academic and student affairs at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health as a guest presenter for our visiting scholar series to present on her latest research on this important topic.  


Author Amanda Kujawa | Publish Date November 06, 2019
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Community    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

Healthcare Professionals Apply New Skills from the Certificate in Total Worker Health® Program to Their Daily Practice

For Dr. Kathryn Buikema, MPH, DO, getting to the root cause of a patient’s injury or illness is only the beginning of her journey in providing comprehensive care. Her practice extends outside the walls of the clinic to the patient’s working environment by identifying and addressing workplace hazards and advocating for prevention first and foremost—skills she gained through the Certificate in Total Worker Health® program. 


Author Dee Akers | Publish Date September 27, 2019
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Community    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

Lee Newman's Career in Beryllium Exposure Illustrates the Elements of Public Health

Lee Newman’s career has been a series of “aha!” moments that have guided him across every stage of the public health spectrum. These individual moments have built upon each other to scaffold a career that led Newman to being named a Distinguished Professor by the University of Colorado Board of Regents this year—the university’s highest honor. 


Author Tori Forsheim | Publish Date September 19, 2019
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Community    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

Colorado's Healthiest and Safest Workplaces Recognized at Health Links Event

Yesterday marked the sixth annual Health Links™  event, Celebrating Colorado’s Healthiest Places to Work. In a demonstration of the state’s commitment to worker health, safety, and well-being, Governor Jared Polis proclaimed August 15th Total Worker Health® Day. Seven organizations and one individual were honored with awards for their dedication to workplace health, safety, and well-being. Poudre School District was presented with the Governor’s Award for Worksite Wellness by the Governor’s Council for Healthy and Active Lifestyles in partnership with Health Links, a program based at the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health.   


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Community    Women's Health    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

Breaking Down Gender Bias: The Business Case

On National Equal Pay Day, April 10, Dr. Stefanie Johnson from the CU Boulder Leeds School of Business shared her insights about gender bias in the workplace with a packed room of more than 40 people on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. National Equal Pay Day is a holiday that raises awareness about the gap between women’s and men’s wages. While Johnson touched on this timely issue, she also discussed many other, often insidious, consequences of bias on worker wages, organizational hiring and promotion practices, and business goals.   


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Student and Alumni    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Worker Health

Research Symposium Celebrates Legacy of Environmental and Occupational Health

Close to 160 people gathered at the 10th annual Research Day Symposium on April 5 to network and learn about student research in environmental and occupational health. This year’s theme was “Leaving a Legacy,” in celebration of 10 years of the symposium and 10 years of the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH).  


Author Avery Artman | Publish Date April 17, 2018
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Research    Mental Health    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

Depression and Fatigue Increase Women’s Risk of Work-Related Injuries

Women who suffer from depression, anxiety, and fatigue are more likely to be injured at work, according to a new study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine led by researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health’s Center for Health, Work & Environment on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. The study found that these health factors significantly affected women’s risk of injury but not men’s risk. 


Author Avery Artman | Publish Date February 14, 2018
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Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

Building Safety Culture: How Natalie Schwatka’s Research is Changing the Construction Industry

Six years ago, Dr. Natalie Schwatka stepped onto a construction site for the first time. It would not be the last. In fact, this would be the first of countless visits that would lead her to help develop a training program reaching thousands of construction workers across the country.   


Author Avery Artman | Publish Date February 01, 2018
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Community    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

From the Clinic to the Hill: Lee Newman’s 30-Year Fight to Protect Workers from a Toxic Metal

In spring 1985, a man we’ll call Tom checked in for a seemingly routine medical appointment. In hindsight, Tom’s visit proved to be a pivotal moment in the lives of the patient, his doctor, U.S. industry, policymakers, and more than a million workers. 


Author Avery Artman | Publish Date February 01, 2018
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Alumni    Student and Alumni    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Community Health    Environment    Worker Health

Alums Help Hospitals Get Healthier With Food Options

Colorado School of Public Health Community and Behavioral Health alumni Sharon Crocco, MPH ‘12 and Katie O’Connor, MPH ‘13 saw a lack of healthy food options at hospitals in Colorado, so they are working to do something about it.   


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Community    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Environment    Worker Health

Lee Newman: Complex Problems and the Creative Brain

Creativity, entrepreneurialism, empathy. These were hallmarks of Lee Newman’s childhood in Bayonne, N.J. “It was a household where we were encouraged to do creative stuff… with a purpose,” said Newman, director of the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health. And he took his parents’ encouragement to heart. 


Author Trisha Kendall | Publish Date September 19, 2017
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Colorado School of Public Health In the News

USA Today

What is THC? Answering the questions you were too embarrassed to ask.

news outletUSA Today
Publish DateJuly 09, 2024

Among health experts, the jury is still out on THC, CBD and the use of marijuana in general, as those in medical and research fields weigh the benefits and risks. "This is the big challenge with cannabis: How do we facilitate the beneficial medical applications, allow for what society has determined is acceptable recreational use and also guard against the very real harms?" Gregory Tung, Ph.D., an associate professor at the Colorado School of Public Health, tells USA TODAY. "This is difficult and will likely require a mix of policy, rules, regulations and education."

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Colorado Public Radio

Colorado has the most cases of bird flu among dairy cows in the U.S.

news outletColorado Public Radio
Publish DateJuly 02, 2024

Cases of highly pathogenic avian flu cases in Colorado dairy cows keep rising, with numbers from a federal website recording the state as having more cases than any other. Public health experts said they’re watching to see if infections spillover from cattle to  humans and then human to human. “I think it's an important time for public health to be watching this really closely,” said  Elizabeth Carlton, an epidemiologist at the Colorado School of Public Health. “Concern for the general public is pretty low right now,” she said.

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The Denver Post

Colorado sees summer COVID bump as new FLiRT variants keep virus from settling into seasonal pattern

news outletThe Denver Post
Publish DateJuly 02, 2024

Colorado, along with much of the country, is experiencing a summer bump in COVID-19 infections, showing the virus has yet to fall into a seasonal pattern. Common respiratory bugs typically start spreading in the fall and peter out by spring. In Colorado, the worst points of the pandemic fell in the fall and winter, but COVID-19 hasn’t disappeared in the warmer months, as flu does. Four years ago, at the beginning of the pandemic, scientists expected the virus would be well on its way to settling into a seasonal pattern by now, said Talia Quandelacy, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health.

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Colorado Public Radio

Living near oil and gas sites in Colorado could make irregular heartbeat symptoms worse, CU study says

news outletColorado Public Radio
Publish DateJune 27, 2024

A new study from researchers at the University of Colorado has found strong evidence that older adults and women with AFIb, atrial fibrillation, living near oil and natural gas wells may experience a worsening of their condition during development of those sites. The period when a well is being developed is when there's the most activity on the well pad, said Colorado School of Public Health researcher Lisa McKenzie, the study’s senior author, in an interview. “It seems to really be concentrated around that development phase of the well,” she said.

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