Worker Health Experts

Tessa Bonney

Expert on: precarious employment and health, occupational safety and industrial hygiene.

Tessa Bonney’s research focuses on understanding the characteristics of precarious employment, the impacts of precarious employment on health, and the development of multi-level and multi-sectoral interventions to address attributes of precarious employment that adversely impact health. She is particularly interested in the structural features of employment that make it so precarious, such as the availability of employment, the arrangement of a worker’s employment (e.g. standard versus non-standard arrangements) and the conditions in which a worker workers – and the relationships between those features and mental health and substance use.

Faculty Profile

Susan Buchanan

Expert on:  occupational safety.

Susan Buchanan is an occupational medicine physician and sees patients in the University Health Services clinic at UI Health. She works as a consultant to businesses on occupational issues and teaches in the occupational medicine residency and the division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. Her research has evaluated occupational safety and health hazards to day laborers in Chicago. She is the director of the NIOSH-funded Illinois Education and Research Center.

Faculty Profile

Lorraine Conroy

Expert on:  industrial hygiene, occupational safety, work as a determinant of health, precarious employment and health.

Lorraine Conroy is an industrial hygiene and occupational safety professional.  She serves as the director for the UIC Center for Health Work, a NIOSH-funded Center of Excellence in Total Worker Health.® The focus of the center is precarious work, understanding the scope of and working conditions associated with precarious work and developing multi-level intervention strategies to turn unhealthy work into healthy work.  Conroy is certified in the comprehensive practice of industrial hygiene by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene and have more than 25 years of experience in research, curriculum development, and teaching in occupational and environmental health. Her expertise is in the evaluation and control of hazards in the workplace and community.

Faculty Profile

Linda Forst

Expert on:  occupational disease, injury, occupational health and safety, occupational disease, workers’ compensation, low wage workers, work as a determinant of health.

Linda Forst conducts research related to occupational disease prevention—public health surveillance for occupational diseases and injuries, workers compensation, prevention of heavy metal poisoning, and population based work, addressing hazardous working conditions among migrant farmworkers, construction day laborers, and temp labor. She teaches a course on Environment, Toxicology and Disease.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been involved with writing guidance documents for protection of workers in jobs deemed as “critical infrastructure.” She serves as the head of the WHO Collaborating Center at UIC.

Faculty Profile

Jeni Hebert-Beirne

Expert on:  precarious work, right to work, work justice, work as a human right.

Jeni Hebert-Beirne lead the sole research study in the Center for Health Work, the Greater Lawndale Healthy Work Project. The project uses mixed methods in a community health assessment context to triangulate findings across concept mapping processes, interview, focus groups and a community health survey to understand how residents in high hardship neighborhoods experience work and how work impacts the health of the worker, their families and their neighbors. The project has developed an action map on which to overlay interventions to produce an environment that supports “healthy” work.

Faculty Profile

Susan Kaplan

Expert on:  OSHA regulations, environmental exposure

Susan Kaplan previously developed regulations at the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Her interests include impacts of environmental exposures on  workers and communities. For example, she has investigated whether hospitals use already-collected data to evaluate impacts of green initiatives on both worker and patient health and safety.

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Naoko Muramatsu

Expert on:  workplace health promotion, direct care workers, work and caregiving, work stress.

Naoko Muramatsu is an expert of workplace health promotion especially in the context of caregiving for older adults. Dr. Muramatsu has integrated her passion for improving service quality with her interest in improving front-line workers’ well-being. She has conducted research on health promotion and health protection among home care workers. Muramatsu has directed a Workplace Health Research Network Collaborating Center for Underserved Workers funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of the Illinois Prevention Research Center.

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Emily Stiehl

Expert on:  organizational behavior in healthcare settings

Emily Stiehl’s research focuses on understanding how low wages impact front-line workers’ behaviors, including turnover, health, prosocial behaviors, and care flow in organizations.  Dr. Stiehl teaches Organizational Leadership and Strategic Management in the Master of Healthcare Administration program and has participated in program evaluations and strategic planning initiatives with organizations in Cook County and Research Centers across UIC.  She has experience conducting qualitative (e.g., interviews, focus groups) and quantitative (e.g., survey data analyzed with multivariate statistical models) research, primarily in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Faculty Profile