Our academic partners are actively involved in numerous research projects related to work and health. Read on to learn more about current and recent projects.
CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion awarded RTI International and partner, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a three year contract (Oct 2014 through Sep 2017) to survey the health promotion and protection programs and practices in U.S. employers of all sizes, industries and regions. Although a number of surveys of workplace health promotion programs have been conducted over the past 25 years, this study built an infrastructure to support ongoing surveillance to evaluate national workplace health priorities, monitor trends, and address emerging issues. It will also provide free and accessible benchmarking data for employers and other stakeholders in workplace health promotion and protection. Read more at the CDC site and find the main results paper here.
Caring and Reaching for Health
Caring and Reaching for Health (CARE) evaluated new worksite wellness programs designed specifically for child care centers and their staff focused on improving physical, mental, emotional, and/or financial health. The study recruited 56 child care centers and over 500 child care staff from across North Carolina. Centers either received the Healthy Lifestyles program or the Healthy Finances program. Results manuscripts from this study are in preparation. Read more about development of the intervention and baseline results.
Capturing Healthy Options at Work
This study examined the effect of labeling food with physical activity calorie expenditure (PACE) information as opposed to standard calorie information to explore if PACE labeling leads to lower-calorie food purchasing. In a partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Chapel Hill, Durham, and Winston Salem, the UNC research team collected information on calories purchased and gym use at each of the worksite cafeterias. The study was designed as a three-group interrupted time-series controlled trial to assess the effects of PACE labels on food choices and physical activity behaviors. Additionally, a smaller cohort of participants was tracked to garner individual-level information. Read about study design and baseline sample characteristics and main results. Additional results manuscripts are in preparation.
The Workplace Health Research Network (WHRN) sought to engage employers, employees and communities to advance knowledge and implement effective, comprehensive and integrated approaches to promote and protect worker health, safety and well-being. The types of approaches supported by the WHRN included research on environmental, policy, and systems interventions; and behavioral aspects contributing to individual employee health. A key focus was integrated, multi-component interventions that address multiple health risks and concerns in various worksite settings, sectors, and sizes. Read more.
McDowell County Worksite Wellness Project
Beginning in 2014, a research team lead by Dr. Laura Linnan, Professor, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and Director, Carolina Collaborative for Research on Work and Health, was awarded a contract from the McDowell County Health Care Coalition to: 1) clarify best practices and trends for workplace health and safety; 2) assess current attitudes, status, and interests of McDowell County employers and employees regarding workplace health and safety; and, 3) summarize results and offer recommendations that could assist McDowell County in planning next steps.
The team worked in collaboration with McDowell County stakeholders to design, promote, and deploy a survey of all employers in McDowell County; followed by in-depth interviews with a smaller convenience sample of employers and employees. Twenty-seven percent of eligible employers (n=84) completed the survey, and 19 employers plus 74 employees participated in the in-depth interviews. Together, the data and an extensive review of the literature was used to prepare a report and offer recommendations on efforts to improve worker and workplace health that benefits all McDowell County residents.