FIU Stempel College faculty members stay busy beyond classroom and administrative duties, engaging in opportunities to further the body of knowledge in their respective fields of expertise. Here’s one example…
Professor Ben Amick, chair of the department of Health Policy & Management, has been elected chair of the Musculoskeletal Disorders Scientific Committee of the International Commission for Occupational Health.
Amick has long been attracted to research. He became focused on issues of health and safety as an undergraduate, when he developed a specific interest in work stress and cardiovascular disease. “I thought it was an important and understudied area,” he said. Today, he specializes in integrating organizational sciences, ergonomics and epidemiology to understand the role of labor markets in health, wellness and economic competitiveness in society.
Recently, Amick served as scientific director for the 9th International Conference for the Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders held in Toronto, Canada. The theme of the conference was “Preventing Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders in a Global Economy,” and it brought together over 400 global leaders in research on the prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. It was during this conference that he was elected chair of the ICOH Musculoskeletal Disorders Scientific Committee for a three-year tenure.
“It is a privilege to lead the Committee and promote research into and prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders,” said Amick, adding, “It is my hope that the important exchange of knowledge in MSD research that the Committee supports will translate into applicable uses that improve workplace health.”
Amick’s current research focuses on how organizations can change or improve their programs and policies to prevent injury and manage disability, the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders through ergonomics, and organizational policies and practices in injury prevention and disability management.
Amick has also been busy on the publishing front.
In a discussion paper aimed at identifying new research questions regarding labor markets and health trajectories based on a model that considers the working life course in a social context, Amick lead a team including Christopher B. McLeod of the University of British Columbia and Ute Bültmann of the University of Groningen in publishing their findings in the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health.
In Labor markets and health: an integrated life course perspective, Amick’s research team puts forth the premise that current work and health research is fragmented, focusing on jobs, exposures, specific worker groups, work organization or employment contracts. “Taking the changing nature of work and labor markets into account, this paper updates the labor markets and health framework. It then reviews, defines and integrates key life course concepts,” said Dr. Amick.
The paper asserts that integrating a life course perspective into work and health research can lead to a new approach to conceptualizing research questions that: 1. account for prior non-work and health states and significant life transitions; 2. offer a new work and health nomenclature reflecting transitions, experiences, trajectories, and context; and, 3. place a primary research focus on labor markets and health trajectories.
Importantly, and distinct from the previous models, the life course approach permits the consideration of sequencing earlier health and health changes that may influence later life health or health changes.