Renewed Federal Funding for Center of Excellence for Workers’ Health and Well-Being
UConn’s Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine has been advised that its U19 grant application from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has been approved for continued funding on five years of a Total worker health® Center of excellence dedicated to research efforts promoting workers’ health.
The UConn program, which is a collaboration between UConn Health, UConn-Storrs and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell (UML), has been funded since 2006. The U19 center grant represents more than $ 1,350,000 in annual renewed funding, up to ‘at the end of August 2026, which is supplemented by additional funding through the US Rescue Plan. UConn Health, said William S. Shaw, Ph.D., associate professor and division head for UConn’s division of occupational and environmental medicine, is also taking the lead on project work, a role previously played. by UMass -Lowell.
“The New England Center for Workplace Health Promotion (CPH-NEW) will include three separate research projects, major outreach efforts with employers, safety professionals and others. stakeholders, as well as an administrative core, ”says Shaw. “The interdisciplinary team of this center offers a unique opportunity to explore the complexity of factors that influence the health, safety and well-being of employees, with an ongoing objective of developing and testing participatory methods within organizations. to promote the health and safety of workers using innovative methods and policies. . “
NIOSH funded 10 centers of excellence for Total worker health (“TWH”). Four new centers of excellence in California, Maryland, North Carolina and Utah will join the six existing centers in Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts and Oregon.
NIOSH defines Total worker health as policies, programs and practices that integrate protection against occupational safety and health hazards with the promotion of injury and disease prevention efforts to advance the well-being of workers. The centers are TWH-related research and practice centers that build the scientific evidence base necessary to develop new solutions to complex occupational safety and health problems.
According to Shaw, the new research projects will focus on three key research areas:
- The health and well-being of teachers, studying work / life balance, engagement and burnout (Principal Investigator: Jennifer Cavallari, Associate Professor, UConn Health);
- Health and safety of health workers, with a focus on sustainability and union involvement in implementation processes (Principal Investigator: Alicia Kurowski, UML); and
- Integrate employee well-being into employer crisis preparedness and planning efforts (Principal Investigator: Cora Roelofs, UML).
The co-director of the Center will be Laura Punnett, professor, UML, and the director of Outreach will be Suzanne Nobrega, UML.
“The past 18 months have introduced many new challenges for the health, safety and well-being of workers, so this is a critical time for employers to find effective methods to promote workers’ health,” says Shaw. . “Our experience shows that worker-centered TWH approaches that involve workers in the design, implementation and evaluation of organizational interventions can have a greater impact and are innovative and effective means of improving safety,” the health and well-being of the American workforce. “