In a new collaborative partnership, West Virginia University is expanding efforts to enhance workplace health and safety.
Through a new Scholar in Residence program at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Dr. Douglas Myers, an associate professor in the West Virginia School of Public Health, will serve as a primary liaison between the School and several local, regional and state partners. As a “guest researcher” with NIOSH, Dr. Myers will coordinate opportunities for faculty, students and researchers to collaborate and share ideas.
Rear Admiral Dr. Margaret Kitt, deputy director for program at NIOSH, says the partnership is a natural fit.
“The fundamental mission of NIOSH is to improve workplace safety and the overall health of the workforce,” said Kitt. “Partnering with the School of Public Health was an easy decision to make. We share similar goals in working to influence workplace safety and injury prevention policy. By bringing our experts together, we can have a greater impact in our efforts to keep people safe.”
School of Public Health Dean Jeffrey Coben, feels the partnership will help to enhance the work of both WVU faculty and NIOSH researchers.
“As an educational institution, it’s a tremendous benefit for our faculty and students to have access to the expertise of NIOSH researchers and practitioners,” said Dr. Coben. “At the same time, we’ll be providing their team with new opportunities to engage with students and academic faculty who are also focusing their work on occupational health and workforce culture. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Dr. Myers is an associate professor in the department of occupational and environmental health sciences. He came to WVU from Duke University where he was an assistant professor in the division of occupational and environmental medicine in the department of community and family medicine. He holds a Doctor of Science in epidemiology and a Master of Arts in sociology.
Dr. Myers’ research takes a multidisciplinary approach to the study of workplace safety, occupational injuries and work-related violence. He has used his background in sociology to apply culture theory and social network methods to investigate how occupational cultures affect the risk of injuries and industrial disasters. Most recently, he completed an evaluation of an intervention designed to reduce the risk of needlesticks and other percutaneous blood and body fluid exposures that occur during surgical procedures. As part of this study, he used social network measures to quantify the stability of surgical team membership in order to determine whether surgical teams with greater stability – whose members have worked together more in the past – experience fewer needlesticks and other percutaneous BBF exposures. He is currently collaborating with Kimberly Rauscher to investigate the incidence of workplace violence among young workers.