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Becker M.,Somerville Center for Adult Learning Experiences | Rabin R.,Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health
New solutions : a journal of environmental and occupational health policy : NS | Year: 2014

Theater acting can help build the social skills needed for effective communication at work and in the wider community. The following short play is about workers fighting for their rights at a textile factory in the early 20th century. It was written by an adult education teacher, performed by her students and attended by the school's students and teachers. Source

Azaroff L.S.,University of Massachusetts Lowell | Nguyen H.M.,Vietnamese American Initiative for Development | Do T.,University of Massachusetts Lowell | Gore R.,University of Massachusetts Lowell | Goldstein-Gelb M.,Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health
Journal of Community Health | Year: 2011

A community-university partnership used community-based participatory research (CBPR) to design, implement, and evaluate a multi-cultural public health campaign to eliminate flammable products and reduce use of products high in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in hardwood floor finishing in Massachusetts. Leading participants were Vietnamese-American organizations and businesses. Following the public health campaign, a multi-lingual survey of self-reported experiences with fires, product use, exposure to outreach activities, and changes made, was conducted with floor finishers. One hundred nine floor finishers responded. Over 40% reported fires at their companies' jobs, mostly caused by lacquer sealers. Over one third had heard radio or TV shows about health and safety in floor finishing, and over half reported making changes as a result of outreach. Exposure to various outreach activities was associated with reducing use of flammable products, increasing use of low-VOC products, and greater knowledge about product flammability. However, most respondents still reported using flammable products. Outreach led by community partners reached large proportions of floor finishers, was associated with use of safer products, and adds to recent work on CBPR with immigrant workers. Continued use of flammable products supports the belief that an enforceable ban was ultimately necessary to eradicate them. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. Source

Panikkar B.,Tufts University | Panikkar B.,Northeastern University | Woodin M.A.,Tufts University | Brugge D.,Tufts University | And 9 more authors.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health | Year: 2012

In this community based research initiative, we employed a survey instrument predominately developed and administered by Teen Educators to assess occupational health risks for Haitian, Salvadoran, and Brazilian immigrants (n = 405) in Somerville, MA, USA. We demonstrate that a combined analysis of ethnicity, years in the US, and English proficiency better characterized the occupational experience of immigrant workers than considering these variables individually. While years in the US (negatively) and English proficiency (positively) explained the occurrence of health risks, the country of origin identified the most vulnerable populations in the community. Brazilians, Salvadorans, and other Hispanic, all of whom who have been in the US varying length of time, with varying proficiency in English language had twice the odds of reporting injuries due to work compared to other immigrants. Although this observation was not significant it indicates that years in the US and English proficiency alone do not predict health risks among this population. We recommend the initiation of larger studies employing c community based participatory research methods to confirm these differences and to further explore work and health issues of immigrant populations. This study is one of the small number of research efforts to utilize a contemporaneous assessment of occupational health problems in three distinct immigrant populations at the community level within a specific Environmental Justice context and social milieu. © 2012 by the authors. Source

Nobrega S.,University of Massachusetts Lowell | Champagne N.,University of Massachusetts Lowell | Abreu M.,University of Massachusetts Lowell | Goldstein-Gelb M.,Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health | And 5 more authors.
Health Promotion Practice | Year: 2016

The rising U.S. prevalence of obesity has generated significant concern and demonstrates striking socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities. Most interventions target individual behaviors, sometimes in combination with improving the physical environment in the community but rarely involving modifications of the work environment. With 3.6 million workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage, it is imperative to understand the impact of working conditions on health and weight for lower income workers. To investigate this question, a university–community partnership created a participatory research team and conducted eight focus groups, in English and Spanish, with people holding low-wage jobs in various industries. Analysis of transcripts identified four themes: physically demanding work (illnesses, injuries, leisure-time physical activity), psychosocial work stressors (high demands, low control, low social support, poor treatment), food environment at work (available food choices, kitchen equipment), and time pressure (scheduling, having multiple jobs and responsibilities). Physical and psychosocial features of work were identified as important antecedents for overweight. In particular, nontraditional work shifts and inflexible schedules limited participants’ ability to adhere to public health recommendations for diet and physical activity. Workplace programs to address obesity in low-wage workers must include the effect of working conditions as a fundamental starting point. © 2015, 2015 Society for Public Health Education. Source

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