Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences
- Occupational determinants of health
- Health impacts of work-family interface
- Community-based intervention research methods
Dr. Okechukwu investigates how work environments influence the health and cancer prevention behaviors of vulnerable populations. She focuses on the working class, immigrant communities, and women who earn low wages. She also has an interest in global tobacco control, especially as it relates to tobacco industry practices in African countries.
Chief among Dr. Okechukwu research objectives is her desire to develop empirical findings that can be translated into population-wide interventions, and thus reduce health disparities and promote optimal health. In her work to date, she has led or collaborated on a number of studies, two of which were intervention studies of the type that epitomize her goals. One was designed to reduce workplace violence among community health nurses and the other addressed smoking among blue-collar apprentices. In these studies, as in much of Dr. Okechukwu’s work, less-visible members of the working class are the beneficiaries of health interventions.
Current Research Projects
Observational studies: Using social epidemiologic lens, Dr. Okechukwu is using the Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey to investigate the contribution of macroeconomic trends, tobacco control policies, work organization and household factors to smoking among the working class.
Intervention studies: Dr. Okechukwu is a member of the multidisciplinary Work, Family and Health Network. She is evaluating the impact of a randomized controlled work-family intervention, which focuses on direct care employees in 30 nursing homes, on the health of nursing home residents. The team is based at eight different institutions and is sponsored by multiple institutes at the NIH.
Dr. Okechukwu is also heading a NIOSH Workplace Injustice white paper team. They will present their findings at the First National Conference on Eliminating Health and Safety Disparities at Work, which is sponsored by the National Institute For Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).