Center for Health, Work and Environment receives award for pursuing National Center of Excellence for Total Workers’ Health®


The Colorado School of Public Health’s Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) has secured an approximately $ 6 million five-year cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to operate a center for Excellency. for Total health of workers. Support for this program from the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) will further advance Total worker health (TWH) as an emerging field of science and practice and respond to the needs of the 21st century of manpower through research, intervention and awareness-raising activities.

CHWE first received the CDC / NIOSH Center of Excellence designation in 2016. With this renewal, it will be one of 10 centers nationwide. The Centers of Excellence represent the extramural portfolio of TWH research to pursue its mission of protecting and promoting the safety, health and well-being of our country’s diverse working population. Under the leadership of Center Director, Principal Investigator and Distinguished University of Colorado Professor Lee Newman, MD, MA, the new funding will support research on emerging issues impacting the well-being of American workers. as well as a strong community outreach program.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded the public of the great value we all place on safe, healthy and productive workplaces,” said Dr Newman. “Now more than ever, there is a demand for research and interventions designed to keep workers safe. “

The award will fund three new research projects led by researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH), CU School of Medicine, and Colorado State University (CSU). Dr Cathy Bradly, professor and associate dean for research at ColoradoSPH and deputy director of CU Cancer Center, will partner with Drs. Lee Newman and Lili Tenney for leading a five-year study examining the employment experience of low-income Latino men newly diagnosed with cancer. This flagship project will test a TWH clinical intervention performed by oncology care teams to improve patients’ ability to continue working during cancer treatment.

ColoradoSPH Associate Professor Dr Kathy James and CSU Associate Professor Dr Gwen Fisher will launch a new project that addresses the behavioral health of farm workers and landowners in the San Luis Valley in rural southern Colorado . A growing body of evidence shows that anxiety, depression, suicide, and other behavioral health problems occur at significantly higher rates among U.S. farm workers, amplified by physical isolation from medical providers. The project will further investigate the contributions to this crisis and form a network of community partners and providers to better support the community.

The third project will be a two-year study to adapt and test a workforce mental health intervention with emergency preparedness programs in PreK-8 schools (led by ColoradoSPH assistant professors, Dr. Courtney Welton-Mitchel and Dr Natalie Schwatka). The project will review and co-create reviews of emergency preparedness plans and mental health supports in participating schools.

The award will also support the centre’s TWH initiatives, including Health Links®, a program that provides businesses with TWH assessment, certification and advice. The Outreach Core, led by Dr Tenney, will focus on outreach and implementation projects to reach underserved organizations and work communities, including small businesses, Latinxes, and black workers. The award will support the development of new TWH training in the areas of behavioral health, leadership and emerging issues.

“The traditional workplace exposures have been expanded,” Dr. Tenney said. “Our center has developed TWH insiders over the past five years and is delighted to continue to work with an expanded portfolio of problem-oriented research and outreach projects. Our goal is to understand and adapt evidence and practice to the inevitable changing nature of the work.

“With this award, we can focus on partnering with business leaders and employees to find and implement practical solutions that benefit all workers, especially those at the greatest risk of injury and of work-related illnesses, ”Newman said. “We are committed to protecting and promoting the health and well-being of workers in the state of Colorado and the region, especially those who need it most,” added Newman.

Learn more about NIOSH Total worker health program. For more information on Centers of Excellence, please visit the NIOSH website.


Center for Health, Labor and the Environment
Colorado School of Public Health
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health|

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