The University of Massachusetts, Lowell, has been awarded a grant for an estimated $5 million over five years from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The grant is for the creation of the Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace (CPH-NEW). The creation of the Center at UMass Lowell’s Department of Work Environment will involve substantial collaboration with colleagues at the University of Connecticut.
“It has always been easiest to achieve safer and healthier workplaces by implementing preventive measures, such as ergonomically designed work stations or patient lifting devices for nursing homes. At the same time, the workplace has become a common location for health education and health promotion activities. This center will combine the expertise of both types of health professionals, in order to learn whether we can be even more effective,” said Laura Punnett, Professor of Work Environment at UMass Lowell. “These grant funds will permit us to take a much broader and more inclusive approach to promoting health as well as preventing disease and injury.”
The Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace is a cooperative initiative by investigators from two major public universities in the New England area, the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the University of Connecticut, along with the private sector (St. Paul Travelers Insurance Company, Genesis HealthCare Corporation, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety), labor (Massachusetts Nurses Association and the Connecticut Council for Occupational Safety and Health), and state government (Massachusetts and Connecticut Departments of Public Health).
The primary objective of the NIOSH’s initiative is to establish Centers for Excellence to Promote a Healthier Workforce that will assess the value of the integration or coordination of health protection and health promotion in the workplace. This will be accomplished by conducting trans-disciplinary research, education and translation projects.
The Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace (CPH-NEW) will greatly enhance public health by integrating two core public health areas, occupational health and safety (OHS) and health promotion and education (HPE), linking primary prevention to the workplace, and the workplace to primary prevention. It will evaluate whether this strategy provides enhanced health benefits and/or greater cost-effectiveness, and evaluate both opportunities and obstacles to achieving this integration.
Source: University of Massachusetts, Lowell
This article originally appeared in The Ergonomics Report™ on 2006-08-02.