Surveillance of occupational health disparities: Challenges and opportunities

Authors

  • Kerry Souza ScD, MPH,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies (DSHEFS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Washington, District of Columbia
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    • Epidemiologist.

  • Andrea L. Steege PhD, MPH,

    1. Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies (DSHEFS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Cincinnati, OH
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    • Epidemiologist.

  • Sherry L. Baron MD, MPH

    1. Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies (DSHEFS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Cincinnati, OH
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    • Medical Officer.


  • The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

  • This article is a US Government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.

Abstract

Increasingly, the occupational health community is turning its attention to the effects of work on previously underserved populations, and researchers have identified many examples of disparities in occupational health outcomes. However, the occupational health status of some underserved worker populations is not described due to limitations in existing surveillance systems. As such, the occupational health community has identified the need to enhance and improve occupational health surveillance to describe the nature and extent of disparities in occupational illnesses and injuries (including fatalities), identify priorities for research and intervention, and evaluate trends. This report summarizes the data sources and methods discussed at an April 2008 workshop organized by NIOSH on the topic of improving surveillance for occupational health disparities. We discuss the capability of existing occupational health surveillance systems to document occupational health disparities and to provide surveillance data on minority and other underserved communities. Use of administrative data, secondary data analysis, and the development of targeted surveillance systems for occupational health surveillance are also discussed. Identifying and reducing occupational health disparities is one of NIOSH's priority areas under the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA). Am. J. Ind. Med. 53:84–94 2010. Published 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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