269537 St. James Infirmary Occupational Health and Safety Handbook: A peer-based participatory approach towards sex worker health

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 9:10 AM - 9:30 AM

Naomi Akers, MPH , Executive Director, St. James Infirmary, San Francisco, CA
The St. James Infirmary (SJI) is a peer-based Occupational Health and Safety Clinic in San Francisco for sex workers and their families. Because sex work is highly stigmatized, and aspects are criminalized, sex work is not formally recognized as a legitimate form of labor. Sex workers are not provided the legal and protective regulations provided to other types of workers.

The SJI Occupational Health and Safety Handbook was created specifically to address occupational injury and disease prevention as it relates to sex work. Originally created by SJI staff the first edition was published in 2001 and the second edition was published in 2003. In 2007 we begin to work on the 3rd Edition, published in 2010. To inform the direction of the 3rd Edition, a needs assessment was conducted to gather input from the sex worker community. 85 people participated in the needs assessment and 85% of respondents identified as sex workers, representing a cross section of gender and types of sex work. Feedback from respondents allowed SJI to narrow the editorial scope to what the community reported they actually needed. A peer-driven participatory approach was utilized in writing the book. Priority was given to sex workers. 24 individuals, 4 agencies and 2 Community Advisory Groups were recruited to write the subchapters, design and edit the book. We will present data from the needs assessment, analysis of the process of working with the community for 3 years to write the book, lessons learned and the impact of the book itself.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Occupational health and safety
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the data results of our community-driven needs assessment on sex workers occupational health and safety needs Describe our community-driven participatory process in creating an Occupational health and safety handbook for sex workers Analyze the impact of the handbook

Keywords: Occupational Safety, Occupational Health Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked at the St. James Infirmary for 10 years. I have conducted health-assessments with sex workers, and have worked as researcher for various studies with other vulnerable populations such as injection-drug users, HIV positive people and pregnant prisoners. I have worked in a variety of sex industry settings and have worked with local and state health officials around health and workplace safety for sex workers.
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.