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Text Version    RSS    Subscribe    Unsubscribe    Archive    Media Kit February 19, 2015



Message from the President
We have had a month to collect ourselves from our travels, visits, indulgences, and celebrations of the holidays. Now that I have caught my breath, I would take a few moments to offer my own perspective on WOEMA in particular, and the practice of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in general.

To start, I want to express my profound appreciation for the opportunity to serve each of you as WOEMA President for 2015. I have worked with the WOEMA Board over the past several years, engaged in conversations with members from various states, positions and circumstances, and participated in the phenomenal offerings from Conferences to educational offerings to legislative representation. I never cease to be amazed by the breadth and depth of commitment, passion, knowledge and expertise we in WOEMA and the OEM community bring. I am honored and humbled to be seen as a leader in such company.

During WOHC 2014, I sat with the Occupational and Environmental Resident physicians present, and reflected with them the profound privilege we enjoy participating in the health and wellness of our country’s greatest resource – its workers. Understanding that occupational health physicians are fundamentally focused on keeping people well and productive – maximizing their quality of life – we are the epitome of public health professionals. Each of us touches not only the patient in front of us, but all those they touch who might benefit from a preventive practice, ergonomic recommendation, safety tip, or identified hazard we share. If you add the knowledge shared when we meet with supervisors, managers, directors, or senior leaders, we, as Occupational Health professionals affect the lives of tens of thousands of people. It makes you think, doesn’t it?

I invite you to look at what you bring to your companies, your colleagues, your communities, your clients, and your patients from this perspective. We all know medicine is changing. We, through our participation in professional societies and the legislative process, can make a difference. But most important, by collaborating with each other, sharing our best practices, and learning from each other, we can improve the lives of the hundreds of thousands of people we influence. WOEMA can be – and wants to be – a channel for this collaboration.

I look forward to Leading Occupational and Environmental Medicine together with each of you.

Peter Vasquez, MD
President, WOEMA
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Integrated Care Roundtable
On January 28, several WOEMA members participated in a well-received roundtable on "Integrated Care: Breaking Down the Workers' Compensation and General Health Care Silos" at the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) 2015 Policy Research Conference held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Dr. Fred Fung spoke about "Barriers to Integrating Care", Dr. Bernyce Peplowski discussed the "Provider Perspective", and Dr. Rupali Das moderated the session. The roundtable also included presenters from the University of California, Berkeley, and the RAND Institute for Civil Justice. A briefing paper summarizing the roundtable discussions will be published by NASI.
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WOEMA CME Webinar: Radiation Dose Assessment of the US DOD Population Following the Fukushima Daiichi Release
Wednesday, February 25
Presenter: Paul K. Blake, PhD, CHP

Click here to register

Webinar Description:
On March 11, 2011, the most powerful earthquake ever recorded near Japan occurred followed by a devastating tsunami. The tsunami led to station blackout conditions at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station resulting in reactor core meltdowns for Units 1, 2, and 3 with subsequent loss of containment and releases of radioactive materials to the environment. At the request of the Government of Japan, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) launched a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operation. This operation was unique in that nearly 75,000 DOD-affiliated individuals were potentially exposed to this radiation source. WOEMA webinar participants will learn how the DOD determined the health risk to its population, via a radiation dose assessment, and how this information was effectively communicated.

Click here for more details
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WOEMA Membership - Renew by March 15!
If you haven't yet renewed your ACOEM/WOEMA membership, please do so today! There are several benefits and member-only resources available to you once you renew, such as the discounted conference registration rates, as well as discounts on courses and access to research and education that will aid in your work. Your membership allows you to remain connected to your colleagues in OEM. Upcoming WOEMA events and activities include:

WOHC 2015: September 24-26 at Loews Ventana Canyon, Tucson, AZ

Bi-monthly webinars – FREE to WOEMA members

Click here to renew to renew your membership online.

Be sure to renew before March 15th, otherwise your membership will automatically expire and you will lose access to all of your benefits (including online renewal!)

Questions? Contact ACOEM’s Member Services Department at 847-818-1800.
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Western Occupational Health Conference in Tucson, AZ
Is it on your calendar?

Click here to make your hotel reservation at the Loews Ventana Canyon or call 800-234-5117. Be sure to identify yourself with WOEMA/WOHC and reference GROUP CODE: “WOE915” to secure the discounted room rate of $159/night.

Plan your trip to Tucson and see what this desert oasis has to offer!

Book your flight – Tucson International Airport!

WOHC conference program and agenda will be available soon – stay tuned to all conference updates via the WOEMA Website.

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The Med Tech Corner with Dr. Dean Gean

And now for something completely different ... MS HoloLens (Augmented Reality) Glasses.

Do you remember the feeling of wonder when you held the iPhone for the first time? Or maybe for you it was your first laptop, or web browser.'s just happened again for me, and I think it will happen for you again as well.

Microsoft (MS) has announced that by the end of this year they will be selling augmented reality, or "AR", glasses called HoloLens, that blend the digital world with the real world, and it's safe to predict this represents a fundamental change in how we will interact with technology and data. Unlike most products described in The Med Tech Corner, the MS HoloLens glasses have no current medical applications (outside of research and specialized environments). However, this is highly likely to change in the next 2 years. The potential for this soon-to-be commercially available product to impact medicine, training, and many other fields is staggering.
read more
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Hospitals Fail to Protect Nursing Staff From Becoming Patients
Minnesota Public Radio
According to surveys by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are more than 35,000 back and other injuries among nursing employees every year, severe enough that they have to miss work. Nursing assistants and orderlies each suffer roughly three times the rate of back and other musculoskeletal injuries as construction laborers.
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Work-Related Injuries Cause More Than Physical Harm
San Diego Union-Tribune
Whether working fifty feet in the air on a construction job or at a cubicle in an office, work-related injuries are an everyday occurrence. Sometimes even the smallest of injuries can cost someone time away from their job. And obviously because of this, we have workers’ compensation systems set in place. These physical injuries, however, are only half the story. A large number of people who are hurt in the workplace go on to suffer mental harm as well.
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Missed our previous issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Breakthrough on Chronic Pain (Harvard Gazette)
WOEMA's New California Workers' Comp Survey Needs You! (WOEMA)
Hydrocodone Reclassification Compounds Some Patients' Pain (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.

Increasing Opioid Doses to Manage Chronic Pain May Intensify Depression
Patients who increased doses of opioid medicines to manage chronic pain were more likely to experience an increase in depression, according to Saint Louis University findings in Pain. The study, "Change in opioid dose and change in depression in a longitudinal primary care patient cohort," appears in the February 2015 edition of the journal. The study expands the authors' findings in a previous study of Veterans Administration patients.
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Spinal stenosis: When is surgery the best option?
U.S. News & World Report
Spinal stenosis is one of the most common age-related back problems. And it isn’t pleasant. It usually results from years of osteoarthritis, a thickening of the body’s ligaments that connect the bones to the spine and a deterioration of the cushioning between disks in the vertebrae – all of which cause the spinal canal to narrow. As a result, nerves that travel down to the legs can become pinched near the bottom of the spine, causing pain and an inability to walk properly.
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Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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Caleb Gremmer, Content Editor, 469.420.2648  
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