Little capacity exists at the community level for addressing and improving the occupational health status of workers. Within immigrant communities, the lack of access to occupational health information (prevention, treatment and benefits) and basic medical care is complicated by marginal economic stability and employment in small immigrant-owned or family-owned businesses. Ethnic networks, business owner networks, and existing links to community organizations, including community health centers, represent an opportunity to reach low-income immigrant workers with culturally appropriate occupational health programs. The Dorchester Environmental Health Coalition (DEHC), representing three community health centers, ethnic community organizations, the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, block and neighborhood associations and youth groups, has taken action on assessing environmental health needs of Dorchester residents. DEHC is proposing to bring three community health centers, several community organizations and the Harvard School of Public Health, the Chief Medical Officer of Dorchester House to engage the community in developing and implementing community-based occupational health programs among immigrant groups in Dorchester, Massachusetts. The purpose of the proposed project is to: assess the occupational health needs of low-income and immigrant communities in Dorchester; involve workers, their families and small businesses in designing culturally appropriate interventions; carry out community education; and evaluate the impact of these efforts on the Dorchester community as well as local policy and regulatory functions.
The specific aims i nclude: 1) Conduct a streamlined assessment of the occupational health needs of Dorchester's low-income and immigrant communities, augmenting available current statistical data and the results of recent resident surveys with focus groups, key informant interviews, and culturally acceptable methods of obtaining information; 2) Develop culturally appropriate models of education, communication and dissemination of occupational health information - based on research, intervention and policy objectives - within the Dorchester community with an initial focus on two populous, undeserved groups: the Vietnamese and Cape Verdean communities; 3) Implement community education and training programs, and conduct demonstration projects to achieve a demonstrable improvement in access to occupational safety and health information and resources within the Dorchester community; and 4) Provide site-specific feedback and technical assistance to small businesses and community health centers to increase awareness of the occupational health needs and to promote local prevention activities in small business and community settings.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1-LWJ-B (EJ))
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O'Fallon, Liam
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Health Svcs Partnership of Dorchester
United States
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Azaroff, Lenore S; Nguyen, Hoa Mai; Do, Tuan et al. (2011) Results of a community-university partnership to reduce deadly hazards in hardwood floor finishing. J Community Health 36:658-68