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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

Washington Faculty Member Receives NIOSH Grants to Improve Worker Health and Safety

Dr. Jeanne Sears, a research associate professor of health services at the University of Washington School of Public Health, has received two grants totaling more than $580,000 from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to improve worker health and safety.

The first is a two-year, $427,165 exploratory/developmental research grant award, or R21, to understand the risk of employment interruption and re-injury for people who return to the workplace after suffering a permanent impairment while on the job. The study will use workers’ compensation claims and state wage data to measure long-term patterns and re-injury.

“This evidence is needed to underpin interventions designed to sustain healthy and successful employment, an important social determinant of health, for disabled workers,” said Dr. Sears, also an adjunct research associate professor of environmental and occupational health sciences.

Dr. Sears also received a two-year, $155,034 small grant, or R03, to quantify the burden of opioid-related hospitalizations among injured workers. Injured workers with chronic pain have been exposed to dramatic increases in high-dose opioid prescriptions, which have in turn been associated with increasing mortality, work disability and workers’ compensation costs, according to Dr. Sears. She plans to assess whether prescribing guidelines with a high-dose threshold provide a path toward improved worker health outcomes.