The Center for Work, Health, & Well-being identifies and promotes workplace policies, programs, and practices that support working conditions influencing the safety, health, and well-being of workers.
Center for Work, Health, & Well-being Newsletter March 2022
From Center Director Glorian Sorensen
We are delighted to share the inaugural issue of our Center’s newsletter. A Total Worker Health® Center of Excellence since 2007, our Center generates and applies research evidence to advance policy and practice recommendations to improve working conditions. Our current projects include a focus on social and health disparities, as well as contributors to work-related well-being and mental health indicators. These issues and the Total Worker Health integrated approach to safety, health, and well-being are reflected in our current research projects with hospital workers and fulfillment center workers.

The goal of the Boston Hospital Workers Health Study is to improve the health of the entire hospital workforce and reduce within-workforce disparities by identifying the roots of those disparities in the conditions of work. As healthcare is the largest and fastest-growing sector of the American economy, our findings could help improve health and reduce disparities in a large proportion of the working population. The expected impact of this work is to broaden the scope of occupational health research and practice in hospitals by demonstrating the necessity of analyzing the contribution of working conditions and policies to disparities in health and well-being in the hospital workforce.

The Fulfillment Center Intervention Study evaluates a participatory, prevention-oriented intervention in warehouse fulfillment centers, a major growth industry with a low-wage and racially diverse workforce. This intervention aims to improve conditions of work in order to improve workers’ mental health and well-being, and reduce levels of unreported injuries. The project includes the implementation and testing of a participatory workplace intervention that introduces Health and Well-being Committees. These committees solicit and prioritize workers’ concerns regarding safety hazards and stressful work conditions, and implement action plans to address them, creating a new channel for worker input into the conditions of work.

In addition to our research projects, we are excited to again offer our Harvard Chan School Executive and Continuing Professional Education online course, May 17-20. This year the course focuses on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the future of work, with guest speakers and workshops exploring the Total Worker Health approach and how to apply it across industries. Space is still available - click here to find out more and to register.

We look forward to providing updates on our studies and other work to advance Total Worker Health research, disseminate our findings, translate our research into evidence-based practice, and identify organizational and public policy implications of our work. 

Upcoming Events
Center for Work, Health, & Well-being Webinar
Staffing in Long-term Care Facilities: A Critical Issue for Worker Health and Resident Care Quality Nationwide
Susan Carney Lynch, JD, DrPH
May 3, 2022 at 2:00 eastern (online)

This webinar, co-sponsored by our Center and the Harvard Education and Research Center, will focus on the current staffing crisis in our nation's nursing homes and its impact on worker health and resident quality of care and quality of life. The webinar will also address proposed policy and practice recommendations designed to significantly improve working conditions for nursing home staff in the areas of training, wages, career ladders, and workplace safety. Join us as we welcome Susan Carney Lynch, JD, DrPH, who has spent over 20 years at the U.S. Department of Justice as Senior Counsel for Elder Justice where she has led the DOJ National Nursing Home Initiative, healthcare fraud civil prosecutions, and elder justice policy work. 
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Executive and Continuing Professional Education Course
Work Health and Well-being: Achieving Worker Health
May 17-20, 2022 (online)

Work Health and Well-Being: Achieving Worker Health will provide you with the knowledge necessary to apply Total Worker Health approaches to integrate siloed occupational health, health promotion, and health protection programs. Adopting these practices will ultimately enhance employees’ physical and mental health, minimize work-related injuries and illnesses, and reduce employee health care costs.
3rd International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health®
October 11-14, 2022 in Bethesda, MD

Our Center is excited to participate in the 3rd International Symposium to Advance Total Worker Health, where safety and health professionals, employers, researchers, policymakers, and the academic community will come together to learn and connect. The event will offer workshops, scientific presentations, and networking to explore the latest in Total Worker Health approaches to advance worker safety, health, and well-being. 
Featured Publications
Work and worker health in the post-pandemic world: a public health perspective
Susan E Peters, Jack T Dennerlein, Gregory R Wagner, and Glorian Sorensen
The Lancet Public Health, 2022; 7(2):e188-e194.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of work in shaping population health and well-being. This paper applies a framework to assist in understanding the diverse and complex interactions of forces affecting worker health and well-being, and how trending changes in employment and working conditions have been accelerated by the pandemic. Integrated workplace-based approaches will be important for building organization and worker resiliency to navigate the continual changes in work and worker safety, health, and well-being in a post-pandemic world.

Work Redesign for the 21st Century: Promising Strategies for Enhancing Worker Well-Being
Meg Lovejoy, Erin L. Kelly, Laura D. Kubzansky, and Lisa F. Berkman
Am J Public Health. 2021;111(10):1787–1795.
Work is a key social determinant of population health and well-being. The COVID-19 health crisis has highlighted working conditions that heighten the vulnerability of workers to physical and psychosocial stressors. The authors build on existing frameworks to propose an updated model of work redesign that identifies strategies to reshape working conditions that are a root cause of stress-related health problems. These strategies include increasing worker schedule control and voice, moderating job demands, and providing training aimed at enhancing social relations at work. 

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Center for Work, Health, & Well-being

The Center for Work, Health, & Well-being is one of ten Centers of Excellence funded by the NIOSH Total Worker Health Program. The Center is comprised of partnerships and collaborations with academic and healthcare institutions: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Northeastern University Bouvé College of Health Sciences; Boston College School of Social Work; MIT Sloan School of Management; Mass General Brigham; Boston University School of Public Health; and HealthPartners/HealthPartners Institute in Minnesota.

Twitter: @HSPHCenterWork
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Total Worker Health® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Participation by the Center for Work, Health, & Well-being does not imply endorsement by HHS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.