250161 Pathways into OHS Careers: The Occupational Health Internship Program

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sarah Jacobs, MPH , Labor Occupational Safety & Health (LOSH) Program, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Kevin Riley, PhD MPH , Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Gail Bateson, MS , Worksafe, Oakland, CA
Robert Harrison, MD , California Department of Health Services, Richmond, CA
Linda Delp, PhD, MPH , Labor Occupational Safety & Health Program, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Diane Bush, MPH , Labor Occupational Health Program, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Katherine Kirkland, DrPH, MPH , Association of Occupational & Environmental Clinics, Washington, DC
Ingrid A. Denis, MA , Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics, Washington, DC
A surge of workplace health and safety professionals entered the OHS field in the 1970s. Since then, many changes have occurred—jobs have shifted toward the service sector, the American workforce has become more diverse and the number of new OHS professionals has slowed to a trickle. More than ever, it has become clear that there is a need for new health and safety professionals.

Since 2004, the Occupational Health Internship Program (OHIP) has been committed to mentoring a new generation of OHS professionals by placing students with unions or worker groups to investigate workplace health concerns. OHIP was modeled after a union-based internship program organized by Tony Mazzocchi in the 1970s with OCAW and the Montefiore Medical Center's Department of Social Medicine in New York.

Many of our OHS leaders today started their careers with this original internship and several are founders of OHIP. OHIP has successfully responded to workforce changes by training interns with different academic and technical knowledge, social and language skills and by recruiting students from diverse backgrounds.

This presentation will examine the success of OHIP over the past eight years in influencing students' career paths into OHS. It will highlight findings from a 2010 survey of OHIP alumni regarding their experiences. The authors will follow-up with former interns to determine how OHIP shaped their careers. Finally, the presentation will consider the role OHIP plays in sparking interest in OHS issues among a new generation of professionals and providing a career pathway into the field.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Upon completion of this session, participants will be able to: 1. Explain how a student-worker collaborative research Program can serve as a gateway to careers in OHS 2. Describe the benefits of recruiting students with different technical, social and language skills to address workplace issues with a diverse American workforce 3. Assess the need to create a new generation of OHS professionals given the reality of our current OHS workforce

Keywords: Occupational Health Programs, Interns

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author on the content I am responsible for because I am the Program Coordinator for the Occupational Health Internship Program (OHIP) that I plan to present on.
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.