CPH-NEW Projects

With funding from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), CPH-NEW conducts intervention research studies, an outreach and dissemination initiative and a Pilot Grant Program for the development of future research.

The overall goals of our projects are to evaluate the feasibility, benefits and obstacles to integrating occupational safety and health and health promotion in the workplace.

HITEC – Health Improvement through Training and Employee Control

Health Improvement through Training and Employee Control compares a traditional workplace health promotion intervention program with an experimental program featuring program development through employee participation. It is based on the premise that the linking of health promotion and workplace health and safety programs will positively affect individual health and the work environment, and that effects can be objectively measured in terms of health status and program costs.

Correctional officers are a relatively understudied working population, but an important segment of the public safety workforce. Their job tasks, while usually sedentary, are psychologically stressful and interspersed with emergency responses that often produce injuries. Working third shift and frequent mandatory overtime are also common requirements, especially for new officers.

From 2006 to 2011, CPH-NEW investigators studied physical and mental health of public sector correctional officers as part of the HITEC I study. We observed a steady progression of chronic disease risk factors within the first five years of employment, including obesity/overweight, hypertension, physical inactivity, high levels of depression, and poor sleep and nutritional habits.

Read the article “Talking About Health: Correction Employees' Assessments of Obstacles to Healthy Living” published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Using the groundwork from HITEC I, we are now studying how correctional facilities can promote better musculoskeletal fitness, weight management and safety for officers through interventions that engage the officers in designing customized programs, policies and facility improvements.

HITEC II study aims:

  1. Compare the effectiveness of two types of participatory intervention approaches to see which method works best for reducing workplace exposures and improving health.
  2. Assess whether introducing preventive health promotion to newly recruited correctional officers can help avoid declines in health that are commonly seen during the first years of employment.

PRO-CARE: Promoting Physical and Mental Health of Caregivers through Trans-disciplinary Intervention

Nursing aides are at high risk for low back injury and other muscle and joint injuries due to their physical job demands. Physical assault at work, overweight and smoking are also commonly reported in this working population. High work demands and low job control can be related to job stress and high rates of job turnover among these workers. Many of these health and safety concerns were observed during a prior study (Pro-Care I). To find out more, read the article in the Journal of Applied Gerontology (requires a subscription). Also read CPH-News and Views: Working Conditions, Employee Mental Health, and Intention to Leave the Job.

In the Pro-Care II study, CPH-NEW investigators are working with a large chain of nursing care centers to examine organizational and corporate-wide factors that influence the health and safety of employees and residents.

Goals of the research:

  • Identify quality indicators of a healthy work environment in the long-term care industry. For example, what are the organizational features that predict safety, health and satisfaction for both employees and residents? Are better outcomes associated with a cluster of quality indicators, or do one or two indicators matter most?
  • Evaluate the long-term trends in workers’ compensation claims following the implementation of a Safe Resident Handling Program (SRHP). By examining long-term trends, we can assess future sustainability of the program.
  • Evaluate the facility-level, longer-term cost-effectiveness of the company’s SRHP and worksite health promotion (WHP) programs. Pro-Care I investigators observed substantial net-cost savings to the multi-facility study host organization associated with both SRHP and WHP programs. Pro-Care II will assess net-cost savings on the facility level and expand the study period to assess longer-term trends in costs and benefits.
  • Understand the effect the SRHP has on return-to-work outcomes such as length of disability, severity of injury, and recurrent injuries among workers with low-back or resident handling-related injuries.
  • Characterize the factors that can help sustain a successful participatory health design program in the workplace. The Pro-Care II study builds on the results of the Pro-Care I project (2006-2011). This study evaluated the health and economic outcomes of a Safe Resident Handling Program (SRHP) that was designed to reduce musculoskeletal injuries in nursing aides by using mechanical lifts to move and reposition residents.

Healthy and Safe@Work

Disseminating research on health and safety programs to benefit working people.

Healthy and Safe@Work is an education, translation and dissemination initiative that promotes the application of integrated health protection/health promotion approaches to real-world settings. Education and training activities focus attention on the work environment, working conditions and participatory approaches as key considerations in all worksite health improvement initiatives. Building on the successes of the Stress@Work project (2006-10), CPH-NEW training and outreach continues to focus on the role of job stress in the development of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.

The center provides services such as development of curriculum modules, speakers for professional meetings, and training and consultation for employers and practitioners. Topics may include the definition and efficacy of health promotion-occupational health and safety integration and the relationship between work-related stress and the development of heart disease and stroke. We also collaborate with departments of health to identify areas of public health activity that would benefit from the inclusion of the occupational health and safety perspective. Specialized training is available for program coordinators to learn how to implement the CPH-NEW Healthy Workplace Participatory Program.

To learn more about training please contact:

Pilot Grant Program

The CPH-NEW Pilot Grant Program awards researchers small grants of up to $12,000 to conduct preliminary studies or demonstration projects.

Projects must relate to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's “Total Worker Health®” program – the integration of occupational safety and health with workplace health to advance health, safety and well-being of workers.

Sign Up to Receive the RFP

We typically issue the request for proposals (RFP) in September. The deadline for applications is in November. To receive the RFP, please sign up to receive our newsletter, or send an email to CPH-NEW@uml.edu and we will add you to our list.

Who Is Eligible to Apply

Investigators eligible for pilot project support include:

  • Graduate students at accredited academic institutions
  • Postdoctoral trainees, including physicians and nurses and those in medical residency programs
  • Faculty members, visiting scholars and research staff at accredited academic institutions
  • Other individuals from non-academic institutions that have a demonstrated interest and research capability in relevant fields

Priority will be given to investigators who do not have other pilot grants underway at the time. Proposals will be accepted from institutions throughout the United States.

Topic Ideas

Acceptable topics can range from focusing on high-level organizational to shop-floor issues. In keeping with the research-to-practice (R2P) emphasis of the center, we encourage projects that actively engage external partners, such as employers, unions, community groups, public health agencies and insurers. Interdisciplinary proposals that include epidemiology, occupational safety or ergonomics, health behavior, industrial hygiene, health policy, economics, etc., are also encouraged.

Examples of eligible research include, but are not limited to:

  • Feasibility studies to develop and test new intervention approaches or applications
  • Pilot laboratory or biomarker development or application
  • Study of effectiveness of R2P translation of prior research findings
  • Research with newly defined or underserved at-risk populations
  • Applications are particularly encouraged for data collection, methods development, or other work in support of a future extramural grant application and from graduate students for thesis/dissertation research or thesis-related preparatory work.

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Read about the 2015 projects

Read about the 2014 projects

Read about the 2013 projects

Read about the 2012 projects