*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.
CDC Office and Location: A research opportunity is currently available with the Division of Science Integration (DSI), within the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Research Project: This project is a national education and awareness campaign designed to: improve mental health and substance use disorder awareness, prevention, screenings and services; improve working conditions within healthcare settings; and enhance the well-being of the workers who strive to provide for the nation’s health each day.
Work conditions have been perennially challenging in the health care sector long before the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare sector jobs often involve intense physical and emotional labor in a complex social environment with unique pressures arising from the web of relationships among the patient or client, family members, the employing/care-providing institution, and the health care workers themselves. These workers may experience unstable and unpredictable work lives, often report financial strain, and routinely face hazardous conditions at work. Many lower-paid workers have difficulty accessing health care services and workers’ compensation. They may face an overall lack of dignity on the job, while still facing demanding working conditions from a variety of occupational safety and health risks, all leading to poorer health outcomes than other workers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced additional elements of fatigue, strain, stress, loss, and grief for health care workers. Moreover, many health care workers often place the well-being of their patients ahead of their own health and safety. This admirable dedication to their work may delay or prevent them from seeking help or resources for their own health and well-being challenges. The strong and historical stigma related to seeking care for mental health concerns or substance misuse issues, even among health care providers themselves, also remains a significant barrier to intervention. NIOSH will consider these characteristics and nuances carefully within the context of the campaign.
The campaign will also address the racial diversity, gender, and other unique characteristics of the health care workforce.
The participant will have the opportunity to contribute to peer-reviewed journal manuscripts, NIOSH publications and products (such as blogs and newsletters) and to present at internal agency meetings as well as external conferences and events.
Learning Objectives: The selected participant will participate as a key team member in the NIOSH mental health for healthcare workers initiative. The participant will gain experience in the planning, development, dissemination, implementation and evaluation of health communication and social science interventions/research activities. The participant will also gain experience in reviewing and summarizing evidence-based interventions and identifying best practices in mental health improvement for healthcare workers that can be disseminated to stakeholders and inform NIOSH research/interventions.
The participant will learn to: conduct a large-scale occupational safety and health communication campaign; synthesize scientific findings for diverse audiences including employers, workers, researchers, and policy makers; participate in and lead cross-disciplinary teams; interact with external partners and stakeholders for occupational safety and health communication and research efforts.
The participant will be exposed to experts in occupational safety and health, mental health, and health care. The participant will also engage at high levels with scientists across diverse social science disciplines including psychology, anthropology, economics, health education, health communication, program evaluation, and policy planning. The participant will also be exposed to occupational safety and health programs focused on worker wellbeing, healthy work design, mental health, occupational health equity, and translational (dissemination and implementation) science.
Mentor(s): The mentors for this opportunity are Thomas Cunningham (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Rebecca Guerin (RGuerin@cdc.gov). If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s).
Anticipated Appointment Start Date: October 1, 2021. Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.
Appointment Length: The appointment will initially be for one year, but may be renewed upon recommendation of CDC and is contingent on the availability of funds.
Level of Participation: The appointment is full-time.
Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience.
Citizenship Requirements: This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), and foreign nationals. Non-U.S. citizen applicants should refer to the Guidelines for Non-U.S. Citizens Details page of the program website for information about the valid immigration statuses that are acceptable for program participation.
ORISE Information: This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and CDC. Participants do not become employees of CDC, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.
Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email ORISE.CDC.NIOSH@orau.org and include the reference code for this opportunity.