Quarterly News and Updates July 2020
Working Well in a New Virtual Reality

This summer, most of the nation is bracing for an extended period of social distancing, and working and learning in an online environment. How do we promote well-being in this new “virtual reality?” Begin by recognizing the physical, mental, and emotional strains of extended computer time. In this newsletter, we share resources from our ergonomics experts for maximizing the comfort and safety of your home-based workspace and telework routines. We’ve curated a short list of team collaboration tools to help you connect and collaborate virtually with others as you pursue safety and health improvements in the workplace. Finally, we share exciting new Total Worker Health research in our center, as well as new CDC guidance and other resources related to COVID-19.

Wishing you a safety and healthy summer, the CPH-NEW Outreach Team
New action research study explores educators’ COVID-19 concerns

CPH-NEW was awarded grant funding from University of Massachusetts Lowell to study K-12 and higher education staff concerns about COVID-19 and school re-opening plans. We will use Zoom to facilitate a virtual “IDEAS” design process with educator Design Teams as they brainstorm feasible solutions to some of the potential hazards that educators face during this extraordinary time. Lead investigator Laura Punnett explained the practical and public health significance of the study by saying, “This is a critical time to involve educators meaningfully in solution-building around COVID-19 and school re-opening. We are excited to share our design process and the data collected with educational leaders. We are also eager to apply the skills that we will develop in our ongoing field work with health care personnel.”
Wrist sensor device and smartphone
Exploring new technology for measuring stress reactions to workplace violence 

A CPH-NEW pilot study will develop and test new technology to measure reactions to workplace violence among healthcare workers and corrections officers. The multi-disciplinary research team includes experts in workplace stress, violence, and biomedical engineering. The study will record continuous blood pressure measurements, along with measurements of cardiovascular function, overall daily physical activity at work and at home, and sleep quality and diurnal response patterns. The goal is to achieve a better understanding of how sleep, cardiovascular and physical activity patterns are affected by stressful and violent incidents in the workplace. Wearable technology may also assist with occupational health research given the limitation of in-person contact during the period of the pandemic.
Updated COVID-19 Resources
We've added the NEW resources below to our COVID-19 page:

  • Human Factors and Ergonomic Society - Remote working resources
  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Non-healthcare testing
  • Industry guidance -- meat/poultry, seafood, construction, dental
  • UMass Lowell Toxics Use Reduction Institute - Cleaning
  • UMass Lowell Safe Home Care resources page

Archived COVID-19 Webinar Series:
Events: CPH-NEW (VIRTUAL) presentations
Expanding Research Partnership Webinar Series 2020: Aging Workers in the Future of Work CPH-NEW Co-Director Martin Cherniack, Investigator Jenny Garza, NIOSH Jim Grosch

 On Demand Occupational Health and Safety Industrial Hygiene Virtual Summit 2020: Total Worker Health. CPH-NEW Investigator Jennifer Cavallari

Center Publications
CPH-News & Views:

Peer-Reviewed Publications:

For News&Views issues and journal articles, please visit the publications page
Awards and Recognitions
Career development award goes to
Alicia Dugan, PhD

Congratulations to CPH-NEW investigator, Alicia Dugan, PhD, for receiving an NIH Career Development (K) award for her project, "Surviving at Work: Reducing Workplace and Clinical Barriers to Cancer Survivors Returning to Work." Dr. Dugan’s plan is to initiate a line of independent research on the secondary prevention of work disability among workers with chronic disease, building upon her existing strengths in worker health and well-being, self-care, and intervention design. Her initial focus will be on patients returning to work after cancer treatment, building on prior participatory action research to improve breast cancer survivors’ return-to-work (RTW) experiences. Participants will develop interventions using an adapted protocol of the CPH-NEW Healthy Workplace Participatory Program.”
CPH-NEW is a NIOSH TWH Center for Excellence
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