Expanded Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest supports employers’ health and safety efforts

Published on September 9, 2016

The University of Iowa recently received funding to launch and expand the Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest, a new regional resource to help employers promote safety and health in the workplace.

The expanded center (formerly the Healthier Workforce Center for Excellence) is part of a new, five-year commitment from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and will be implemented in partnership with Washington University in St. Louis and the Nebraska Safety Council. Housed in the UI College of Public Health, the center will serve as a resource for policies, programs, and practices that integrate protection from work-related safety and health hazards with health promotion to advance worker well-being.

Diane Rohlman, PhD, associate professor of occupational and environmental health and director of the Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest (HWCMW), believes this expanded effort will better serve the needs of workplaces throughout the region.

“Our partnerships in Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas will help us leverage even more practical and research expertise to help businesses succeed and to maximize the safety and health of our workers,” says Rohlman.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, workers in Iowa and neighboring states experience more work-related injuries and illnesses than in other parts of the country. The region also has higher rates of unhealthy behaviors such as heavy alcohol consumption and obesity, which contribute to high rates of occupational fatalities.

HWCMW outreach director Shelly Campo, PhD, associate professor of community and behavioral health, says the center is eager to partner with a broad range of organizations including businesses, municipalities, not-for profit organizations, and labor unions.

“The center offers a variety of free resources, training, and pilot grant opportunities for community organizations, businesses, and researchers,” Campo says. “We look forward to collaborating with these partners to address workplace safety and health issues around Midwest.”