NIOSH ERC 21st Annual Pilot Projects Research Symposium

Friday, June 19, 2020    10:30 AM - 12:30 PM (Central Time)


Keynote Speaker: Claire C. Caruso, PhD

Research Health Scientist at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

About the Pilot Projects Research Training Program

The goal of the Pilot Projects Research Training Program is to enhance Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (SWCOEH) regional outreach efforts in research training and to foster stronger inter-institutional ties in occupational health research within Public Health Region 6 (PHR 6) (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas). This program is directed by David I. Douphrate, PhD, MPT, MBA, CPE, CSP.

The objective of the program is to provide a support mechanism for pilot research projects initiated by:


  • Junior faculty exploring the feasibility of new research approaches that may allow investigators to collect preliminary data to subsequently develop larger grant applications
  • Graduate research trainees that need partial or supplementary funding to complete or enhance short term studies (e.g., doctoral dissertation research); and/or
  • Faculty in areas other than occupational health research who wish to transition or expand their research interest to workers' health issues (“new faculty investigators”).

Learning Objectives

Target Audience: Occupational and Environmental Health Professionals and Students

Continuing Education Units:
Determination of credit is pending for CEUs and CME

At the conclusion of the symposium, participants will be able to:

  • Explain the primary challenges found in the field of occupational health and safety;
  • Outline the key concepts in the innovative research presented during the symposium;
  • Hypothesize how the results of one or more of these projects potentially impacts clinical practice;
  • Propose novel approaches for enhancing knowledge, skills and clinical applications.

Keynote Speaker

Promoting Sleep Health of Workers Benefits Workers, Employers, and Society

Claire C. Caruso, PhD

Dr. Claire C. Caruso is a Research Health Scientist at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Her PhD in Nursing from the University of Michigan focused on the health and safety risks associated with shift work and long work hours and the underlying sleep and circadian rhythm research that provides evidence for this topic. She is a key Institute subject matter expert for shift work, long work hours, and related workplace sleep and fatigue issues. Regulatory agencies, labor, and industry cite her publications in their recommendations and position statements on working hours. She has 32 peer reviewed journal articles, government documents, and book chapters on the topic as well as 21 publications to disseminate information to workers and managers. She developed a comprehensive, multimedia, interactive online training program for nurses to help them with the demands of shift work and long work hours. It has been used as a model for developing tailored online training programs for other types of workers. She has been a leader for nursing organizations on this topic. At the invitation of the American Nurses Association, she co-chaired their professional issues panel who developed their position statement on nurse fatigue. She is leading a Nurse Fatigue workgroup of 19 Fellows in the American Academy of Nursing who have so far published an Academy position statement and policy brief on the topic. At the beginning of her career, she worked as a staff nurse, head nurse, and clinical nurse specialist in acute care hospitals, which gave her experience from a personal and management perspective about the demands of providing nursing care around the clock.


At the end of this session attendees will be able to:

  • Describe the importance of sleep health for worker health and safety;
  • Identify workplace factors that make it difficult for workers to get enough good quality sleep;
  • Identify health risks to workers and safety risks to workers, employers and the public that are linked to shift work, long work hours, and other causes of insufficient sleep.

Awardee Presentations

Presentations by Pilot Projects Research Training Awardees:


Bethany Alcauter, MS
UTHealth School of Public Health

Heat stress and Kidney Function Among Immigrant Construction Workers in Texas


Shraddha Dalwadi, MD, MBA
Baylor College of Medicine
Defining Occupational Ionizing Radiation Exposure with Low Dose Rate Brachytherapy for Prostate Cancer


Whitney Harrison, MPH
UTHealth School of Public Health - San Antonio
Houston Union Firefighters' Perception of Cancer Risk and other Health Outcomes


Roger Kollock, PhD
University of Tulsa
Fit-for-Duty: A Preliminary Analysis of the Predictive Value of the Physical Abilities Test (PAT) for Work-related Casualty


Rebecca Molsberry, MPH
UTHealth School of Public Health - Dallas
Leveraging Personal Technology to Intervene on Continuous Occupational Stress Among Law Enforcement Officers


Kelly Oyer-Peterson, MPH
UTHealth School of Public Health - San Antonio
Exposure to Environmental and Occupational Health Hazards among Vulnerable Domestic Cleaners in San Antonio


Yujiang Xiang, PhD
Oklahoma State University
Model-based Ergonomic Design for Collaborative Lifting


This session is FREE, and open to all.

This event will be held online, via our UTHealth WebEx webinar platform.

Friday, June 19, 2020 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM (Central Time)

For additional symposium information contact: Ms. Peggy Weinshilboum at (713) 500-9479 or PilotProjects@uth.tmc.edu

Contact Us

Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health

Peggy Weinshilboum - PPRTP Coordinator

Phone: 713-500-9479

Silvia Santiago - Continuing Education Coordinator
Email: Silvia.P.Santiago@uth.tmc.edu
Phone: 713-500-9444

Michelle McDaniel - Outreach and Continuing Education Programs Director
Email: Michelle.R.McDaniel@uth.tmc.edu
Phone: 713-500-9447

To learn more about the SWCOEH, please visit us on the web at www.swcoeh.org


Your Best Reponse to a Changing World!

The Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (SWCOEH) supports research, education and outreach in occupational and environmental health. The SWCOEH is housed within the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences of the UTHealth School of Public Health and is under the leadership of Elaine Symanski, PhD who serves as Director.

The SWCOEH was established in 1977 as a NIOSH-funded Education and Research Center (ERC), now one of 18 ERCs in the nation. In 1985, the SWCOEH became a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Occupational Health.

Visit www.SWCOEH.org to learn more about our graduate-level education in environmental and occupational health, research and continuing education and outreach programs.

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