MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University School of Public Health held its last presentation for the “Dean’s Colloquium Series” in 2022 on Dec. 2 at 12 p.m.

The event was held at the WVU Health Sciences Center in the Hostler Auditorium where guest speakers from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) presented “total worker health strategies for the future of work.”

Within’ the presentation, Casey Chosewood, NIOSH total worker health director, and Chia-Chia Chang, NIOSH total worker health and healthy work design and well-being cross-sector program coordinator, touched on a variety of topics that organizations and employers can do to impact the well-being of its workforce as a whole.

A few of the specific topics included:

  • Vaccines – COVID-19, Mpox, and RSV
  • Post pandemic era – health affects from not working, mental health, substance use disorder
  • Work impacting life in a harmful and healthy
  • Health risks and statistics of long hours

In an interview with a 12 News reporter, both Chosewood and Chang discussed the importance of having these discussion series. Chosewood said, “students who are really thinking about ‘what’s next for me?,’ ‘how do I want to spend the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years of my life?’ So, trying to find the right fit in the right career is really an important, you know, sort of role that a student is actively engaged in. They’re also the workers of tomorrow, so they’re going to be the leaders and the supervisors and the managers. So, the more they know about using the workplace, as an opportunity to improve health, they’re not only going to benefit their own life and their family, but really our whole society.”

Chang agreed before adding, “we hear from company’s like every week about how they’re having trouble finding people to fill the jobs. And the key is to be a good employer, a competitive employer who treats your employees well.” Chang said he believes that students who listened to the presentation can be that change for the companies they plan to work for.

The Dean’s Colloquium Series has been ongoing for around five years and just got back into the swing of things after the Covid-19 pandemic. The School of Public Health’s dean, Jeffrey Coben, mentioned that this series highlights important health topics that are relevant to West Virginia. He said that there are higher rates of injuries and illnesses related to the work environment in West Virginia, so they wanted to focus on these specific topics.

This presentation was the last of the 2022 series, but they will return after the start of the new year.