Online Program

Promoting low-wage and immigrant worker health via community-based workforce development organizations: A qualitative study

Monday, November 2, 2015

Emma Tsui, PhD MPH, Dept of Community Health and Social Sciences, City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy, Bronx, NY
Isabel Cuervo, PhD, Barry Commoner Center for Health and the Environment, Queens College, CUNY, Flushing, NY
Nadia Islam, PhD, Department of Population Health, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY
Grace Sembajwe, SCD, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at Hunter College, Hunter School of Public Health, New York, NY, NY
Diego Palaguachi, Make The Road New York, Make The Road New York, Jackson Heights, NY
Sherry Baron, MD, MPH, The Barry Commoner Center for Health and the Environment, Queens College, Flushing, NY
Background: Well-designed workplace occupational health and safety programs aiming to protect and promote health show promise for improving worker health, yet few programs reach the low-wage, temporary, non-union and often immigrant workforce. Community-based workforce development programs are a unique and underused venue for providing low-wage workers with skills and information to advocate for their health and safety at the workplace. These programs could also provide access to broader community-based public health efforts tailored to recognize and address health stressors common in low-wage work including night work, long work hours, fast work pace and low decision latitude.
Methods: A university-community partnership in New York City, funded as part of CDC’s Workplace Health Research Network, assessed the workplace and community contexts in which low-wage and immigrant workers experience social stressors and how those stressors can negatively impact health, with a focus on healthy eating and active living. We conducted six focus groups with diverse low-wage and immigrant workers, including construction, domestic, homecare, restaurant, and community health workers.
Results: Findings address: 1) workers’ experiences and social stressors in the workplace and community contexts, 2) workers’ perceived facilitators and barriers (both within and outside of the workplace) to health and well-being with a particular focus on how stressors impact healthy eating and active living, and 3) workers’ access to and attitudes toward existing health promotion programs in the workplace and/or community.
Conclusions: Workplace- and community-specific intervention and policy implications of these findings will be discussed.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Occupational health and safety
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
List low-wage and immigrant workers' perceived facilitators and barriers to healthy eating and active living, both within and outside of the workplace. Describe workers' access to and attitudes toward existing health promotion programs.

Keyword(s): Low-Income, Workplace

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted public health research on the role of workforce development in population health for 7 years and I have published peer-reviewed articles on this topic in several reputable public health and social science journals. I am also a co-investigator for the study that we are reporting on in this abstract.
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.