Manuel Cifuentes

Manuel Cifuentes, Work Environment, Center for Gerontology Research & Partnerships, Nusring

Associate Professor
Kitson 200Q


Manuel Cifuentes, M.D., Sc.D. has more than 15 years of clinical experience as a psychiatrist and occupational mental health specialist. In the US he has worked as an occupational disability researcher for Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety. Currently, he is employed as a professor of epidemiology at the Department of Work Environment at UMass Lowell  and is focused on teaching quantitative analysis and research skills. His publications have been about the impact on mental health of psychosocial working conditions of public school teachers, healthcare workers, and public transportation drivers in Chile. He has addressed the impact of job strain on survey participation and the benefits of using public data (O*NET) to supply information on job level psychosocial and biomechanical working conditions in order  to evaluate the health risks associated  with diverse patterns of job exposure. He has also published in clinical journals (Spine, PAIN) focusing on work disability related aspects, with emphasis on the iatrogenic effects of opioid use to ameliorate musculoskeletal pain due to occupational causes. 

Since one year ago he has been building a collaborative effort to study the effect of office work on workers’ health. His qualitative study about the usability of treadmill workstations is the first product of this effort. An important goal after this study is to improve the design of treadmill workstations to increase their usability and, potentially, their beneficial health impact. Additionally, he is gaining access to biomarker assessment devices to measure the impact of office working conditions on metabolic status.

Currently, he is proud of being part of a research team with his graduate students, who, at this moment, are writing four manuscripts related to work organization, psychosocial exposure and mental and cardiovascular health in the Chilean workforce. He collaborates with other research teams studying stress among workers of Peruvian manufacturing companies, post-traumatic stress disorders among survivors of occupational accidents in Ecuador, mental health of World Trade Center survivors, work exposure and health of green collar workers in the US, and other health outcomes in Danish and Swedish workers.  

Selected Peer-reviewed Publications:

1.    d'Errico A, Punnett L, Cifuentes M, Boyer J, Tessler J, Gore R, Scollin P, and Slatin C.Hospital injury rates in relation to socioeconomic status and working conditions Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2006 May, 64:325-33.
2.    Cifuentes M, Boyer J, Gore R, d'Errico A, Scollin P, Tessler J, Lerner D, Kriebel D, Punnett L, Slatin C, PHASE in Healthcare Research Team. Inter-Method Agreement between O*NET and Survey Measures of Psychosocial Exposure among Healthcare Industry Employees American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 50(7), 545-53. 
3.    Cifuentes M, Boyer J, Gore R, d'Errico A, Scollin P, Tessler J, Lerner D, Kriebel D, Punnett L, Slatin C, PHASE in Healthcare Research Team. Job strain predicts survey response in healthcare industry workers. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. Volume 51, Issue 4, Date: April 2008, Pages: 281-289.
4.    Cifuentes M, Sembajwe G, Tak S, Gore R, Kriebel D, and Punnett L.The association of major depressive episodes with income inequality and the human development index. Social Science & Medicine Volume: 67   Issue: 4   Pages: 529-539
5.    Webster BS, Cifuentes M, Verma S, et al.Geographic Variation in Opioid Prescribing for Acute, Work-Related, Low Back Pain and Associated Factors: A Multilevel Analysis American Journal of Industrial Medicine. Volume: 52 Issue: 2   Pages: 162-171
6.    Sembajwe G, Cifuentes M, Tak S, Kriebel D, Gore R, Punnett L. National income, self-reported wheezing and asthma diagnosis from the World Health Survey. The European Respiratory Journal 2010 Feb;35(2):279-86. Epub 2009 Sep 9.
7.    Young AE, Cifuentes M, Wasiak R, et al.Urban-Rural Differences in Work Disability Following Occupational Injury: Are They Related to Differences in Healthcare Utilization?  Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine   Volume: 51   Issue: 2   Pages: 204-212
8.    Boyer J, Galizzi M, Cifuentes M, et al.Ergonomic and Socioeconomic Risk Factors for Hospital Workers' Compensation Injury Claims. Am J Ind Med. 2009 Jul;52(7):551-62.
9.    Cifuentes M, Boyer J, Lombardi D, Punnett L. O*NET as a Job Exposure Matrix. Am J Ind Med. 2010 Sep;53(9):898-914. 
10.  Webster BS Cifuentes M, Pransky G. Relationship of Early Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Work-related Acute Low Back Pain with Disability and Medical Utilization Outcomes. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2010 Vol 52-9;900-907
11.  Cifuentes M, Webster BS, Geneway S, Pransky G. Patterns of Opioid Use for Low Back Pain.   Pain. 2010. 2010 Oct;151(1):22-9.
12.  Meyer J, Cifuentes M, Warren N. Association of self-rated physical health and incident hypertension with O*NET factors: Validation using a representative national survey. JOEM. 2011 Feb;53(2):139-45.
13.  Cifuentes M, Willetts, J, Wasiak, R. Health maintenance care in work-related low back pain and its association with disability recurrence. JOEM. 2011 Apr;53(4):396-404.