By Cassandra McCallum

The School of Education invites you to attend a doctoral dissertation defense by Suzanne Nobrega on “Perspectives of Occupational Safety and Health Professionals on Total Worker Health Competencies: A Three-Paper Dissertation.”

Date: Tuesday, March 28, 2023
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Coburn Hall Room 245

Dissertation Chair: Jill Lohmeier, PhD., Department Chair and Associate Professor Research and Evaluation in Education, School of Education, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Dissertation Committee:

  • Hilary Lustick, PhD., Assistant Professor, School of Education, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Yuan Zhang, PhD., Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Occupational safety and health (OSH) practice is transitioning from a regulatory compliance focus to a more expansive paradigm called Total Worker Health® that holistically addresses worker safety, health, and well-being. New competencies are required but little empirical evidence is available to guide the design of Total Worker Health (TWH) training curricula. This study was motivated by the need to understand what competencies should be addressed in TWH education and whether interprofessional education (IPE) would align well with OSH professionals’ learning needs.

This dissertation is comprised of three papers. The first paper, a quantitative study, assessed OSH professionals’ appraisal of their skill level for TWH practice, and correlates of skill level. The second paper, a qualitative study, explored competencies (i.e., knowledge, skills, attitudes) and barriers for five specific TWH practices. This study drew from OSH professionals’ real-world experiences with implementing TWH practices. In the third paper, a mixed-method approach was used to examine how OSH professionals perceive the use of interprofessional education for TWH. The findings from this dissertation can inform the design and delivery of continuing education for multidisciplinary OSH professionals in an emerging field of public health practice.