Survey reveals significant number of airline pilots report depressive symptoms, suicidal thoughts

December 2016. Boston, MA. Hundreds of commercial airline pilots currently flying may be clinically depressed, according to an anonymous survey of nearly 1,850 pilots conducted by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The new findings come a year and a half after a Germanwings co-pilot who suffered from depression deliberately crashed a plane into the French Alps, killing 150.

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How work and home environments shape health

October 2016. Boston, MA. This edition of The Big 3 interviews Cassandra Okechukwu, associate professor of social and behavioral sciences, studies how different environments—such as our homes and our workplaces—shape our health.

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Getting injured workers back on their feet

May 2016. Boston, MA. Physician Jeff Vogel, MPH ’16, has treated all manner of workplace injuries from broken bones to monkey bites. When these patients need rehabilitation, Vogel wants to get them back on the job as soon as possible—studies have shown that it’s better for their health even beyond their recovery, he said. But the process can be slow and that bothered Vogel, who often found himself wishing for a better way to empower patients than handing them a piece of paper with a few exercises to do between doctor’s appointments.

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Building safer construction sites

Fall 2015. Boston, MA. Emily Sparer may be the first Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health student to have construction workers cheering her on at her dissertation defense. Sparer, who graduated in May with an SD in occupational safety and ergonomics, developed a safety communication program for construction sites built on a simple, low-cost idea: Take the safety data that managers already gather and share it with the workers.

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What’s good for employee health is good for the company

November 2016. Boston, MA. When a company puts a priority on employee wellness and contributing to health in the community and environment, it may benefit by having lower healthcare costs, improved worker retention, reduced absenteeism, fewer workplace injuries, and even a healthier bottom line, according to a November 16, 2016 Fortune article about a new book co-authored by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s John Quelch.

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Many electronic recycling companies put workers, environment at risk

September 2016. Boston, MA. Companies need to better protect workers and the environment from exposure to heavy metals and toxic chemicals generated during the recycling of electronics such as computers, printers, TVs, cameras, and batteries, according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers.

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Truck drivers who fail to adhere to sleep apnea treatment have higher crash rate

March 2016. Boston, MA. Truck drivers with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) who failed to adhere to treatment had a rate of preventable crashes five times higher than that of truckers without the ailment, according to researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Morris, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and colleagues.

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Building safety into construction sites

May 2015. Boston, MA. Posters at Emily Sparer’s pilot construction sites around Boston displayed safety scores each week, broken down by subcontractor to encourage workers and managers to look at safety conditions outside of their own area and trade. Sites with high ratings earned a free lunch at the end of the month. As a result of participating in the program, workers are reporting improved team work and better communication around safety — and they want it to continue.

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Improving health and safety on the job

November 2016. Boston, MA. The Center for Work, Health and Wellbeing at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public aims to find new approaches to address the many ways that jobs can affect health and safety, from potential exposures to physical hazards, to work-related stress. Established in 2007, NIOSH renewed the Center’s funding with a five-year grant totaling $6.5 million.

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Can ‘green’ offices sharpen productivity?

August 2016. Boston, MA. People who work in “green” offices that are well-ventilated and have low levels of indoor pollutants and carbon dioxide may have significantly better cognitive function than people working in more traditional office environments, according to a recent study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHGE), SUNY Upstate Medical University, and Syracuse University.

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Green office environments linked with higher cognitive function scores

October 2015. Boston, MA. People who work in well-ventilated offices with below-average levels of indoor pollutants and carbon dioxide (CO2) have significantly higher cognitive functioning scores—in crucial areas such as responding to a crisis or developing strategy—than those who work in offices with typical levels, according to a new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, SUNY Upstate Medical University, and Syracuse University.

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Risky business: Stressful duties increase chance of sudden cardiac death among police

December 2014. Boston, MA. Stefanos Kales, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Vasileia Varvarigou, visiting scientist at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, found that police officers in the U.S. face roughly 30 to 70 times higher risk of sudden cardiac death when they’re involved in stressful situations—suspect restraints, altercations, or chases—than when they’re involved in routine or non-emergency activities.

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