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Your Environment. Your Health.

Improving Health for Low-Income Workers

Linda Delp, Ph.D.
University of California, Los Angeles
NIEHS Grant U45ES006173

An NIEHS grantee coauthored a paper that calls for improving the health of low-income workers by integrating health protection and health promotion programs that can be delivered at worksites, state and local health departments, community health centers, and community-based organizations. Low-income workers experience overlapping occupational and non-occupational risks that can be worsened by limited resources and societal racism.

The authors present a social ecologic framework for creating programs that bring together health protection and promotion. This framework examines how various levels of influence – intrapersonal, interpersonal, institutional, community/society, and policy – can impact health. They provide six broad recommendations for reducing health inequities among low-income workers: improve access and quality of work-related data, integrate work environmental factors into care at community health centers, improve the exchange of information and ideas, increase the integration of health and occupational health education and training, test and evaluates new approaches, and improve worker and community engagement.

The authors emphasize the importance of integrated public health programs that control unhealthy exposures, promote healthy lifestyles, and encourage healthy decisions. They also write that employers, workers, and advocates need to work with public health practitioners to deliver health protection and promotion programs at the workplace or in the community.

Citation: Baron SL, Beard S, Davis LK, Delp L, Forst L, Kidd-Taylor A, Liebman AK, Linnan L, Punnett L, Welch LS. 2013. Promoting integrated approaches to reducing health inequities among low-income workers: Applying a social ecological framework. Am J Ind Med; doi:10.1002/ajim.22174 [Online 26 March 2013].

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