Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety – Center for Disability Research
For half a century, the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety (LMRIS) has conducted occupational health and safety research in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, USA. The Institute has earned worldwide recognition for its continuing contributions to workplace injury and illness prevention and to the control of work-related disability. Fully owned and operated by the Liberty Mutual Group, the Institute conducts applied scientific research that is disseminated widely through journal publications and conference presentations to the scientific and business communities. A commitment to peer-reviewed publication is central to the Institute’s ongoing mission. The Institute houses two research centers: the Center for Safety Research, which investigates the causes of accidents and injuries, human capacities for various job tasks, and ways to enhance on-the-job safety, and the Center for Disability Research.
Established in 1999, the Center for Disability Research (CDR) studies the causes, consequences, and prevention of disability in workers, and aims to achieve safe and sustained return-to-work for injured or ill workers. The multidisciplinary CDR research staff focuses its investigations on three main areas:
- Consequences of injuries: studies include measure development and investigations of a range of outcomes
- Causes and correlates of work disability: studies examine factors associated with return to work and productivity
- Treatments and interventions: studies focus on determining the effectiveness of specific programs, procedures, and practices
CDR researchers have extensive research experience, with backgrounds in occupational medicine, rehabilitation medicine and engineering, vocational rehabilitation, public health, occupational and clinical psychology, and statistics. Many have active local academic appointments.
All research findings are disseminated through publications in scientific peer-reviewed journals. In recent years, CDR research has appeared in American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Spine, Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, Spinal Cord, Pain, Southwest Journal on Aging, Disability and Rehabilitation, and Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine.
Over the past 4 years, CDR researchers collaborated with faculty and provided mentorship to graduate students from Harvard University, University of Massachusetts, Boston University, Boston Medical Center, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, and Tufts University. Faculty collaborations lead to joint research projects and scientific publications. Student mentorship is available at two levels:
- Research Assistants (usually undergraduate and master’s students): Mentored by a CDR researcher, students assist with database, laboratory, clinic-based, and survey studies under direct supervision.
- Research Associates (medical residents, doctoral students, and post-doctoral researchers): Mentored by CDR researchers, research associates develop and carry out projects related to the CDR mission, with the goal of producing publications for the peer-reviewed scientific literature.
Examples of Projects Involving Academic Trainees
- Costs and medical services in spinal cord injury (published in Spinal Cord )
- Risk prediction in work-related low back injury (published in Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine )
- Patterns of medical care for work-related injuries (published in Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine )
- Narcotic use and outcomes in work-related low back pain (in progress )
- Reinjury: occurrence and consequences (published in Spine )
- Chiropractic care and influence on outcomes in LBP (in progress)
- Durability of return-to-work outcomes (in progress)
The LMRIS is situated on 86 wooded acres in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, just 26 miles west of Boston near the junction of Route 495 and Interstate 90 and just 1.5 miles from the Worcester Commuter Rail stop in Ashland. The state-of-the-art facilities enable researchers to continually expand the boundaries of occupational safety and health knowledge. Extensive resources available to students and collaborators include:
- World-renowned laboratory facilities for biomechanics, work physiology, and tribology
- Survey research lab with CATI and IVR systems
- Computing facilities and support
- Statistical expertise
- High-quality research mentorship
Liberty Mutual Center for Disability Research
Radek Wasiak, PhD
Tel: (508) 497-0242
Tel: (508) 497-0226