Presymposium Workshops

Presymposium workshops are a perfect supplement to the full Symposium. Focusing on TWH fundamentals and practical applications, these workshops were tailored and informative. Recommended for all symposium attendees including researchers, practitioners, and business representatives, these workshops were selected to offer an in-depth exploration on various topics.

Presymposium workshops took place during the morning of May 8, 2018.

Presymposium Workshop Topics:


The Healthiest NIOSH Experience: The Essential Roadmap to Developing Your Own Total Worker Health®Program

Constance Franklin, MPA, NIOSH Office for Total Worker Health
Kellie Pierson, MS, NIOSH Office for Total Worker Health

“Hey NIOSH! You talk a good game, but what do you do for your own employees?” This educational experience is designed for those responsible for worker health, safety and/or well-being programs within their own workforce who already have a basic understanding of the Total Worker Health®concept. In this workshop, you will hear from the NIOSH experts who lead the internal Total Worker Health® program for their own NIOSH workforce. They will describe the origins, expansion and future of their national efforts to improve the safety, health and well-being of their internal 1000+ member work team. During this interactive session, they will explain how they have successfully integrated worksite safety and health programs at NIOSH to improve overall employee outcomes. From start-up to daily operations and evaluation, the session will cover their organizational assessment, establishment of the HealthiestNIOSH Advisory Committee, and a host of interventions and trainings developed to support the effort. An overview of the CDC workplace health initiatives and resources will also be provided. To give a multi-faceted perspective of other integrated TWH programs, the workshop will also take a brief look at Promising Practices from other companies and organizations. Attendees will have the opportunity to build their own TWH intervention and get group and expert feedback on individual challenges and opportunities.


Following this session, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the NIOSH model for implementing TWH in their own workforce
  • Explore a model integrated worksite safety, health, and well-being program
  • Review organizational assessment tools and use them to design programs and interventions
  • Define promising policies, programs and practices to advance TWH in the real-world setting
  • Examine promising practices, policies and programs in other organizations that can serve as models for program success
  • Develop a TWH program outline or specific intervention for your own organization


Meeting the Challenge of Engagement in Participatory Total Worker Health® Initiatives

Presenters from 3 NIOSH Centers of Excellence for TWH:
Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace (CPH-NEW)
Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Center for Healthy Work

The goal of this workshop is to offer practices, approaches, theories and models for engaging communities, organizations, employers and employees in participatory Total Worker Health® (TWH) initiatives, for immediate application by researchers and practitioners. Each Center will describe a current project and demonstrate one or more tools used to ensure active learning and participation by attendees. In a concluding discussion, we will explore with workshop attendees common principles and approaches as well as some of the barriers that make such work challenging.

Learning objectives:

  • Understand how TWH principles are used to guide the creation and development of participatory programs
  • Develop a working familiarity with the use of a set of tools and toolkits for engaging individuals from either communities or workplaces in the design of TWH activities or interventions
  • Learn about techniques used to apply TWH principles in participatory action research, including tips that ensure successful implementation efforts
  • Recognize potential obstacles to participatory TWH programs
  • Learn how assessment of organizational readiness can be used to proactively overcome obstacles to participatory TWH initiatives

Audience: Centers, academics, other stakeholders who are looking for tools and approaches for implementing participatory TWH activities, TWH affiliates, those interested in supporting participatory TWH initiatives within a workplace or with communities.


Productive Aging and Work: A Framework for Creating an Age-Friendly Workplace

James Grosch, PhD, NIOSH National Center for Productive Aging and Work
Harpriya Kaur, PhD, MPH, NIOSH National Center for Productive Aging and Work
Juliann Scholl, PhD, NIOSH National Center for Productive Aging and Work

Workers 55 or older are increasing in number, and will account for nearly 25% of the labor force in 2024. The aging of the U.S. workforce has implications for the safety and health of all workers. Aging can be a process of decline and loss as well as development and growth. The US workforce is also becoming increasingly age diverse. By 2010, most workplaces will have up to five generations working side by side. Workplaces are increasingly adapting to the needs of aging workers, which involves training and interventions that address workplace and task design, flexible schedules, ergonomics, and protections against age discrimination. An aging workforce can encourage organizations to think about how they address the needs and challenges of workers as they get older. Employers can take advantage of the opportunities that aging and an age-diverse workforce can bring to the work environment.

NIOSH established the National Center for Productive Aging & Work (NCPAW), hosted by the Office of Total Worker Health® (TWH). An important part of the center’s mission is to advance the concept of productive aging, which involves providing a safe and healthy work environment for workers of all ages, and creating conditions that allow workers to function optimally regardless of their age. Productive aging takes a comprehensive, integrated approach to understanding the aging process across the life span, including the physical, mental, and social aspects of a worker’s well-being. NCPAW’s approach to productive includes four attributes: (1) a life-span perspective, (2) a comprehensive and integrated framework, (3) outcomes that recognize the priorities of both workers and organizations, and (4) a supportive work culture for multi-generational issues. These attributes illustrate the emphasis of productive aging on meeting the needs of all workers as they age.

Through lecture, case studies, and interactive exercises, this workshop will describe the concept of productive aging and present evidence-based methods for facilitating age-friendly workplaces. The workshop will utilize the work ability framework, first developed by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. Work ability is the capacity for workers to continue doing their jobs given adequate resources and proper working conditions. The workshop will provide goal-setting frameworks based on the work ability model that illustrate how workplaces can meet the needs of all workers as they age. The workshop also will offer tools and strategies that encourage a culture of health that facilitates intergenerational collaboration and support.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe current demographic trends that impact the aging of the workforce.
  • Define “productive aging” and describe how it is relevant workers of all age groups
  • Apply the components of the work ability model to setting goals for meeting the needs of aging workers
  • Identify and explain at least three strategies that can be incorporated into the workplace to create a more age-friendly environment.


Engaging Small and Mid-Sized Enterprises to Apply Total Worker Health® Approaches through a Community-based Program

Liliana Tenney, MPH, Center for Health, Work & Environment
Lee Newman, MD, MA, Center for Health, Work & Environment
Natalie Schwatka, PhD, Center for Health, Work & Environment
Joshua Scott, MS, Center for Health, Work & Environment
Kaylee Rivera, MPH, Center for Health, Work & Environment

In total, 89.9% of workers globally are employed by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Recent studies suggest that small employers face significant challenges in efforts to promote health and safety. Overall, there has been limited research on the adoption and effectiveness of interventions to improve worker health, safety and wellbeing in SMEs. Health Links is a community-based intervention applying a Total Worker Health® (TWH) approach.

Through the Health Links™ program, presenters from the University of Colorado collaborate with employers to build a culture of health and safety in the workplace. They assess organizations’ policies and programs, offer evidence-based recommendations in one-on-one advising sessions, connect employers with local resources, and certify qualifying employers as Healthy Businesses. In this presentation, they will discuss why Total Worker Health® (TWH) in small business matters and the innovative Health Links approach to engage employers to integrate TWH as part of their business strategy. Speakers will present case studies and research methods for evaluating practical TWH interventions. This interactive workshop will describe the Health Links approach for engaging and assessing TWH in businesses, training methods, dissemination strategies, and evaluation to measure impact at both the organizational and employee levels.


Upon completion, participants will be able to:

  • Identify ways to engage small and medium sized businesses to assess and implement Total Worker Health® best-practices.
  • Describe opportunities to partner with intermediaries to disseminate TWH to diverse workplaces.
  • Describe methods to evaluating community-based interventions for TWH.
  • Describe opportunities to partner with intermediaries to disseminate TWH to diverse workplaces.
  • Describe methods to evaluating community-based interventions for TWH.


Addressing Future Workforce Needs through Total Worker Health®

Chia C. Chang, MPH, MBA, NIOSH Office for TWH
Sara Tamers, PhD, MPH, NIOSH Office for TWH

To address the future needs of the workforce and changing employment patterns, an integrated approach is needed for worker safety, health, and well-being. During this interactive session, members of the CDC National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Office for Total Worker Health® will explain how to develop workplace policies, programs, and practices to improve overall employee outcomes. Attendees will have the opportunity to apply lessons learned to their own workplace. Specifically, the presenters will:

  • Provide a brief overview of research related to employee safety, health, and well-being;
  • Discuss the rationale for and value of an integrated approach;
  • Highlight health conditions that are of particular concern for a range of occupations;
  • Describe the fundamentals of successful Total Worker Health® programs;
  • Outline simple steps and take home strategies for launching integrated employee safety and health initiatives;
  • Facilitate hands-on group problem solving for real-life Total Worker Health® challenges; and
  • Share resources to get started on building a worksite culture of safety, health and well-being.


Hot Topics in Economics: Non-Standard Work and Health-Related Quality of Life

Tapas K. Ray, PhD, NIOSH Economic Research and Support Office (ERSO)
Brian Quay, MS, ERSO
Abay Asfaw, PhD, ERSO
Anasua Bhattacharya, PhD, ERSO

Non-standard work arrangements add complexity to research and the delivery of programs related to Total Worker Health®. Non-standard work arrangements also represent one of the three research priorities of the NIOSH Healthy Work Design and Well-being (HWD) cross-sector. HWD reflects the common focus of Economics, Work Organization and Stress-related Disorders, and Total Worker Health®. Non-standard work arrangements are under-studied but seem to be increasingly prevalent. Their determinants and their effects on health and health-related quality of life (HRQL) are poorly understood.
Work arrangement is a broad term encompassing many aspects of a job or a more general pattern of work that spans multiple jobs. Different sources refer to non-standard work arrangements by different names but they are all characterized by temporariness, instability, irregularity, and lack of legal protections and social and financial benefits for workers. This, in turn, may affect worker safety, health, and well-being. Within non-standard work arrangements, different data sources commonly categorize workers as independent contractors, on-call workers, workers paid by a temporary agency, or those whose employers contract their services out to another employer on a longer-term basis.
This workshop will describe the NIOSH initiative on non-standard work arrangements as well as the research challenges presented by this topic. The workshop will include interactive exercises and a case study to help participants understand how to assess the characteristics of U.S. workers in non-standard arrangements, the effect of work arrangement on job stress, and the association between job stress and HRQL by work arrangement.
Learning objectives:

  • Define different types of non-standard work arrangements and related data sources
  • Describe current non-standard work arrangement trends in the United States
  • Use one data source to assess
    • the characteristics of U.S. workers in non-standard work arrangements
    • the effect of work arrangement on job stress
    • the association between job stress and HRQL by work arrangement

Identify limitations of currently available data in assessing the characteristics of workers in non-standard work arrangements, as well as the effects of these arrangements on worker health and HRQL