Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety
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Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety

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      "What are our priorities? The Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety (WCAHS) is one of 11 agricultural education, research and prevention centers funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Based at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), WCAHS is proud to have a 25-year history of conducting innovative research, delivering community interventions, and promoting outreach to its stakeholders. The Center works with partners in industry, labor, trade associations, professional organizations, and academia, and focuses on reducing adverse health outcomes among immigrant farmworkers. The Center's main priorities include: 1. Promoting respiratory health. 2. Preventing heat illness. 3. Preventing toxic exposures. 4. Preventing musculoskeletal disorders. What do we do? 1. Bring together multi-disciplinary experts to focus attention and research on health and safety in Western U.S. agriculture. 2. Design safety equipment and improve work practices to reduce traumatic and cumulative trauma injuries. 3. Develop innovative and effective outreach to improve health and safety among farmers, farmworkers and their families. 4. Identify risk factors for acute and chronic illness due to toxic exposures so that effective prevention practices can be targeted to those individuals at highest risk. 5. Create better communication through innovative and effective approaches, such as social media, focused talks and courses, advisory panels, and interactions in the agricultural community. What have we accomplished? 1. Funded five pilot projects across Arizona, California and Hawaii on pesticide use, farmworker characteristics and health and safety, and zoonotic exposure. 2. Contributed to an article in the Washington Post discussing findings on heat illness prevention. 3. Developed personal harvesting aid with updated robot system for field pilot testing. 4. Collaborated with the Almond Board of California to develop biosolarization techniques, an alternative to soil fumigation, utilizing almond waste. 5. Developed collaboration with Comite Civico del Valle and Environmental Coalition for Water Justice to study air quality in the Imperial Valley. 6. Conducted 65 trainings on heat illness, pesticide safety, and workers' rights reaching 2,478 people across California. 7. Redesigned the WCAHS websiteand experienced a 565% increase in web traffic since April 2016. 8. Created a WCAHS Facebook page in Spanish targeting farmworker populations. What's next? 1. Conduct a symposium to disseminate WCAHS research, discuss emerging issues, facilitate collaboration, and share best practices for Center activities. 2. Integrate research findings on heat illness into field presentations for farmers and farmworkers. 3. Co-sponsor community events and research conferences, including the Promotores Conference and the Environmental Health Leadership Summit. 4. Develop and conduct sexual harassment prevention trainings for supervisors. 5. Conduct monthly research seminar series to disseminate research findings to the community and create new collaborations. 6. Build Wikipedia pages and blog postings on relevant WCAHS topics and research such as biosolarization." - NIOSHTIC-2 NIOSH no. 20051157
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