Precarious employment is a complex problem that impacts an increasing number of workers in all economic sectors, resulting in adverse worker, family, and community health outcomes. Characterized by low wages, hazardous conditions, few benefits, and limited opportunities for workplace participation or advancement, precarious jobs preclude workplace-based health interventions. Workplace-based interventions may also disregard political, economic, and social factors that lead to the fracturing of traditional employer-employee relationships and discriminatory practices. Policy, systems and environmental (PSE) initiatives may be applicable to improve health for workers in precarious jobs by addressing community and structural-level barriers to health. However, little is known about how PSE approaches might promote healthy work.
Healthy Communities through Healthy Work (HCHW) is an action research outreach project of the University of Illinois at Chicago, Center for Healthy Work, a NIOSH-funded Center of Excellence for
Total Worker Health®. Based on HCHW's first action research phase results, the Healthy Work Collaborative was developed. The Healthy Work Collaborative consisted of eight teams of multi-sectoral partners representing public health, healthcare, union, worker center, and worker advocacy organizations. Teams participated in a six-session capacity building process in the summer of 2018. This webinar will share the evidence-based development of the Healthy Work Collaborative; its implementation and lessons learned; and early evaluation results.
You will learn:
- Identify historical trends that have led to the current state of employment
- Describe the current state of employment in the United States
- Define precarious work and its root causes
- Discuss facilitators and barriers to healthy work
- Define PSE approaches and how they address structural change
- Discuss the importance of multi-sectoral work in addressing complex change
- Understand how power and the levers of change are important skills for public health and healthcare organizations to be effective in addressing health inequity
- Share findings that may lead to promising practices for PSE approaches to address precarious work
- Discuss lessons learned from the process to date
Take home messages:
- Precarious employment is a complex problem that impacts an increasing number of workers in all economic sectors
- Precarious work is characterized by low wages, hazardous conditions, few benefits, and limited opportunities for workplace participation or advancement
- Precarious jobs preclude workplace-based health interventions
- Workplace interventions often fail to address the root causes of precarious work
- Policy, systems and environmental (PSE) initiatives may be applicable to improve health for workers in precarious jobs
- Public health can do more to address the structural determinants of health
- There is an opportunity for public health and health care to partner with the labor sector to address precarious work and other structural determinants of health
- Understanding power and the levers of change are important skills for public health and healthcare organizations to be effective in addressing health inequity
- PSE change and structural approaches to addressing complex change are needed
- The labor sector has a deep understanding and clear approaches to conducting PSE change
- Capacity building and leadership development provides sustainable approaches to organizations, communities and systems
- Public health and healthcare and the labor sector together can be champions of change and the warriors of the future to address precarious work
Christina Welter, MPH, DrPH
Associate Director of the Doctorate, Public Health Leadership program, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health, Director, Mid-America Center for Public Health Practice
Christina Welter, MPH, DrPH, serves as Associate Director of the Doctorate in Public Health Leadership program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health and the Director of the Mid-America Center for Public Health Practice. At UIC, she helps to lead one of the nation’s only doctoral programs in leadership and oversees several national and regional workforce development and practice-led research initiatives, including serving as the Center for Healthy Work Outreach Director. Dr. Welter was previously the Deputy Director of the Prevention Services Unit at the Cook County Department of Public Health. As Deputy Director, she secured over 25 million dollars in new funding to implement and evaluate policy, systems and environmental change initiatives in one of the most diverse, disparate regions in the country.
Dr. Welter is a committed health promotion practitioner and researcher. She facilitates academic and practice partnerships to understand and collectively build evidence to address public health challenges with innovative and achievable policy, systems and environmental strategies. Dr. Welter’s expertise is to facilitate systems-oriented change by partnering with others to design, execute, and evaluate strategic and asset-based improvement initiatives.
Dr. Lorraine Conroy, MS, ScD
Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health
Dr. Lorraine Conroy, MS, ScD, is a Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. Dr. Conroy received her BS in chemical engineering and her MS and ScD in environmental science and physiology with a concentration in industrial hygiene. Dr. Conroy has 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; work that has involved substantial fieldwork requiring outreach to employers, unions, and community-based organizations. Dr. Conroy led the Illinois Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety Education and Research Center for more than 15 years and serves as the program director for the occupational safety program. Dr. Conroy is the director of the University of Illinois at Chicago Center for Healthy Work and serves as co-director of the Greater Lawndale Healthy Work project.
Tessa Bonney, MPH
Doctoral Candidate, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Healt
Tessa Bonney, MPH, is a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health in the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Division. Ms. Bonney received her BS in Biological Sciences and her MPH in Health Policy and Administration. Ms. Bonney is a research assistant at the UIC Center for Healthy Work and at the MidAmerica Center for Public Health Practice at UIC.