141st APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

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Occupational health internship program (OHIP): Ten years on – still shaping the future of OHS

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 8:30 AM - 8:50 AM

Sarah Jacobs, MPH , Labor Occupational Safety & Health Program (LOSH), University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA
Matt London, MS , Health and Safety Department, NYS PEF, Albany, NY
Linda Delp, PhD, MPH , Labor Occupational Safety & Health 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
Ingrid A. Denis, MA , Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics, Washington, DC
Katherine Kirkland, DrPH, MPH , Association of Occupational & Environmental Clinics, Washington, DC
Robert Harrison, MD, MPH , Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Califiornia, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Kelly Pratt, BA RN , University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Giorvanni Merilis, BS , Environmental Science & Policy, Johns Hopkins University, Washington, DC
Cynthia Cheung, MPH/MA candidate , School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Workers continue to face many health and safety (H&S) problems, yet the current H&S workforce is aging and the number of new professionals entering the field has diminished. Now in its tenth year, the Occupational Health Internship Program (OHIP) has attempted to help rectify this problem.

Each summer, a pair of students is assigned to a union, worker center, or community group in one of OHIP's seven locations. The host organization identifies a specific H&S concern of their members, and the students interact directly with the workers and their leaders, observing the working conditions and investigating a health and safety problem.

The project typically includes key informant interviews, surveys, focus groups, and literature reviews. Each project results in a “giveback product” that helps the workers and the organization to address their H&S issue.

The interns include both undergraduate and graduate students, only some of whom are already in a H&S-related academic program. Many of past years' students have found OHIP to be a life-changing experience, and have gone into the field of H&S. A panel of OHIP students will present their 2013 projects. Last year's presentations included: the impact of Cal/OSHA's outdoor heat illness prevention standard on contingent workers; H&S conditions among workers in the warehouse industry; and chemical and radiologic exposures of retired workers at a DOE gaseous diffusion plant.

Presenters will describe how they involved workers in formulating their project, summarize their findings and recommendations, and describe the health education product that they provided to their host group.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Explain the goal of student-worker collaborative field-based experience to address workplace hazards to address workplace hazards. Describe how participatory research projects can help motivate public health students or students in a related discipline to enter the field of OHS. • Describe the benefits of pairing students and workers who share a common language or culture to identify and address workplace hazards.

Keywords: Occupational Health Programs, Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the National OHIP Program Coordinator.
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.