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Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health

Dairy Farm Safety


Researchers at the Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (SWCOEH) in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences (EHGES) at UTHealth School of Public Health have a 15+ year history of safety and ergonomics research in the U.S. dairy industry. Researchers have conducted dairy parlor ergonomics research focused on the identification and prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders among large-herd dairy farm milkers. Researchers are currently developing, delivering and evaluating a safety leadership and management training intervention for dairy farm front-line supervisors.

NIOSH Education and Research Center (ERC) Pilot Projects Research Training Program (PPRTP)

The goal of the pilot projects research training program (PPRTP) is to enhance the SWCOEH’s regional outreach efforts in research training and to foster stronger inter-institutional ties in occupational health research within Public Health Region 6, which includes Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Shaping the Future to Ensure Worker Health and Well-being: Shifting paradigms for Research, Training and Policy

Worker well-being emphasizes quality of life, driven by the relationship between individual worker health and factors both at and outside the workplace, seeking to have workers thrive and achieve their full potential. In occupational safety and health (OSH), setting worker well-being as an outcome implies a paradigm shift beyond the prevention of workplace illness and injury or health promotion. Embracing this paradigm shift requires a more expansive, systems-thinking approach, to better integrate “traditional” OSH, personal and socioeconomic risk factors, both horizontally and vertically. The paradigm will likely affect how we conduct OSH research, train the future OSH professional workforce, and design forward-thinking policies to maximize worker health and well-being. Over a three-year period, this U13 Cooperative Agreement with NIOSH will contribute to this public discourse in a major way through a series of conferences and dissemination activities that bring together a broad, interprofessional audience that includes, but goes beyond employers, workers and the academic community, focusing on the three critical areas of research, training and policy/application. The overriding theme is the paradigm shift in focus for OSH.

Study of Cleaners in San Antonio: Immunologic and Inflammatory Responses to Total Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Exposure

The objective of this study is to use a community-engaged approach to characterize individual, occupational, and neighborhood-level factors that influence personal air VOC exposure among this overburdened group of Hispanic women in San Antonio, Texas, and to explore associations between these exposures with biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress.

Working Conditions and Health in Central America


Researchers at the Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (SWCOEH) in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences (EHGES) at UTHealth School of Public Health are conducting 9000 household interviews on working conditions and health in six Central American countries, in an effort to guide policies that could improve the region’s health.

Investigadores del Centro Suroeste de Salud Ocupacional y Ambiental (SWCOEH) del Departamento de Epidemiología, Genética Humana y Ciencias Ambientales (EHGES) de la Escuela de Salud Pública de UTHealth están llevando a cabo 9.000 entrevistas en hogares sobre condiciones de trabajo y salud en seis países centroamericanos, un esfuerzo para orientar las políticas que podrían mejorar la salud de la region.


Asthma in Texas Healthcare Workers II


Asthma in Texas Healthcare Workers II is a CDC-NIOSH funded R01 research project to study associations between occupational exposures and asthma among healthcare workers (HCWs), and to assess its burden in this worker population. Results will be compared to a similar study, performed by the same researchers, in 2003, to measure the impact of any new workplace practices and potential risk factors.


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