214948 Building occupational safety and health capacity in the western states

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Yvonne Boudreau, MD, MSPH , NIOSH Office of the Director, NIOSH Western States Office, Denver, CO
Ihsan Azzam, MD, MPH , Nevada State Health Department, Carson City, NV
Corey Campbell, MS , Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Denver, CO
Occupational Health (OH) is a key component of the entire Public Health (PH) function, but many states do not have OH programs. To improve worker health nationally, there is a need to build OH surveillance capacity throughout the US. The western US, in particular, is recognized as a region with a strong need for improved OH capacity. The NIOSH Western States Office (WSO), Colorado Mountain and Plains Education and Research Center (MAPERC) and CSTE have organized two successful Western States Occupational Network (WestON) meetings bringing together PH representatives from western states with established OH programs and those interested in developing an OH program. These meetings provide a strong networking opportunity for western states to share information and work on building greater OH capacity throughout the west. One promising practice discussed at the 2009 meeting was the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's recruitment of a CDC Public Health Prevention Service fellow dedicated to OH for Colorado. With the support of the WSO and the MAPERC, she has started and/or reactivated occupational surveillance activities in Colorado. Other western states, including Nevada, continue to struggle with building state capacity in OH due to problems such as lack of resources and lack of sufficient support from federal and state government entities. With a strong national and regional support system and attention to OH as an important component of overall PH for states, it is possible to identify innovative ways to improve state OH surveillance and develop successful and sustainable state OH programs.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Describe barriers to the development of state occupational safety and health programs. Discuss how occupational health is a key component of overall public health. Identify methods for improving a state's ability to develop or expand an occupational safety and health program.

Keywords: Challenges and Opportunities, Occupational Health Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I oversee the occupational surveillance program activities for the NIOSH Western States Office, including close interaction with the 19 westernmost state health departments.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.