Western agriculture is the most intensive and productive in the world, but differs in many ways from the rest of the country. The overall goal of the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety (WCAHS) at DC Davis Is to improve the health and safety of farmers, farm family members, and hired farm workers and their families in western agriculture. UC Davis is uniquely situated to address these issues because of the co-location of its Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, and the Colleges of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and Engineering. It is located in the heart of California's Central Valley. The multidisciplinary expertise of the Center faculty enables varied, largely field-oriente research projects, educational programs and interventions. Areas of focus include creating bilingual/bicultural health and safety programs and materials for immigrant farm workers, exploring the link between respiratory disease and exposures in Western farming environments, and engineering better ergonomic solutions to reduce acute and cumulative trauma injuries. A major effort of this renewal is a new multidisciplinary proposal to understand and develop effective interventions to prevent heat-related illness among agricultural workers. Another new study will evaluate exposures and respiratory disease in new laying-hen facilities. We will continue our efforts to design better-engineered solutions to the musculoskeletal stresses of labor-intensive agriculture, and to transfer this improved technology to the workplace. We will continue to characterize respiratory toxicants in Western agriculture, and to apply these findings to the farm. Newer and more efficient pesticide bioassays will be developed, and linked to studies of exposure to agricultural workers. The Center will continue its innovative educational efforts to improve health and safety training to non-English speaking farm workers, and an exciting new proposal will link us with the Health Initiative of the Americas to take our educational programs to new immigrant workers via novel, community-based approaches. Center efforts are characterized and disseminated by many novel and diverse media (webpage, newsletter, podcasts, social media, etc.). The success of all Center activities will be evaluated i a comprehensive evaluation program.
Agriculture is one of the most hazardous occupations, and employs more than one million workers in the western states. This Center has a direct public health importance by increasing the understanding of what causes disease in this population, and applying the findings to develop interventions to reduce injury and illness.
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