Dr. Lefkowitz, the primary investigator, is a board-certified internal medicine physician who recently completed specialty training in occupational and environmental medicine (OEM), at which point he joined the Yale OEM Program as junior faculty. This mentored research scientist award is an essential first step in his academic career. His immediate career goals include learning to design occupational epidemiological studies, manage large datasets, and present research findings in the context of the relevant literature. The short-term goal is to develop the skills of an independent researcher, to ask pertinent research questions in OEM and develop methods of answering these questions using biostatistics and epidemiology principles. The candidate's major long-term goal is to conduct translational research to prevent occupational illness and injury. The skills gained in this research project will be essential to the PI's future research career. The research environment will be the Yale Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program, with mentoring by the program director, Professor of Medicine Dr. Carrie A. Redlich, MD. The Yale OEM Program is an important center of research and clinical progress in the field of OEM, and the PI has already initiated active research in this environment. Key elements of the research career development plan include weekly meetings with Yale OEM Program Director Dr. Redlich, as well as Martin Slade, MPH, director of research at Yale OEM. Training in the responsible conduct of research will be formally embedding into the training program, with regular didactic sessions with primary mentor and co-mentors. Project updates will be presented to the YOEMP department for input in research-in-progress sessions four times a year. Additional course work will be pursued at Yale School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Yale Investigative Medicine Program, in order to learn investigative occupational epidemiology methods. Dr. Lefkowitz will also participate (and intends to present abstracts, preliminary findings) at local, national, and international occupational medicine conferences. The proposed cross-sectional study of working seafarers will fill important gaps in understanding seafarer health risks, which is vital to improve preventive efforts in this population. Most importantly, itis anticipated that identification of host-environment risk factors for illness and injury in this seafarer population will be translated into effective preventive measures, which is the goal of NIOSH research to progress. This study will inform seafarer wellness programs to target specific prevalent baseline conditions, aligned with section 3 of the National Occupational Research Agenda: National Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities Agenda (NORA TWU) to improve health and wellness in maritime transport workers. All study conclusions will be prepared and submitted for publication as a manuscript in a publically accessible medical journal. Through this study, the PI will develop skills in occupational epidemiology that will lead to an independent research career.
Seafarers are a population working in an essential industry with a substantial burden of occupational injury and illness. The PI has unparalleled access to and cooperation of both individual seafarers and shipping company owners. The proposed study presents a unique opportunity to understand risk factors for injury and illness in this poorl studied population.