Institute on Disability Receives Opportunity Grant from New Hampshire Endowment for Health

May 15, 2017

Dr. Karla Armenti

DURHAM, N.H. - The Institute on Disability (IOD) at the University of New Hampshire has been awarded a $10,355 Opportunity Grant by the Endowment for Health to fund the Needs Assessment Workshop on Health and Safety Training for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

“Occupational health and safety trainings are rarely developed or delivered in ways that are accessible to workers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD),” explains Dr. Karla Armenti, NH OHSP Director. “These employees are some of the most vulnerable workers in the US, commonly employed in low-wage, high hazard industries and occupations resulting in higher injury rates than their counterparts without disabilities. In order to prevent workplace injuries, health and safety training should be geared toward the hazards present in these work settings and developed in formats that are culturally competent to employees with IDD.”

Funding from the Endowment for Health will support the work of the New Hampshire Occupational Health Surveillance Program, in partnership with the Labor Occupational Health Program at the University of California Berkeley,  to conduct a needs assessment on the application of the NIOSH Staying Safe at Work (SSAW) curriculum for workers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in New Hampshire.  Stakeholders from vocational rehabilitation programs, occupational health and safety, and nonprofit organizations working with the IDD community will come together to learn about the SSAW training model and to seek feedback on capacity, implementation, and evaluation. This initial project is part of a larger grant proposal submitted to NIOSH to fund a full implementation and evaluation of the curriculum among these key stakeholders in the state.

Dr. Karla Armenti joined the Institute in January 2016, bringing with her the New Hampshire Occupational Health Surveillance Program (NH OHSP), funded by the CDC National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). With more than 30 years of experience in occupational safety and health, Dr. Armenti is a leader in occupational health surveillance and participates on several national topic-specific NIOSH workgroups. Her work is presented at national public health conferences, including the American Public Health Association and the Council for State and Territorial Epidemiologists. She is an active member of the NIOSH Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC), tasked with providing advice on standards of scientific excellence, current needs in the field of occupational safety and health, and the applicability and dissemination of research findings.

The New Hampshire Occupational Health Surveillance Program (NH OHSP) aims to provide meaningful statistics to identify priority occupational safety and health issues in the state. This includes reports on a variety of core occupational health indicators based on measures of health (work-related disease, injury, or disability) or factors associated with health, such as workplace exposures, hazards or interventions. The indicators represent a core set of data that, when collected at the state level, inform the development and implementation of programs to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses, and to monitor trends and progress over time. The NH OHSP, previously housed in the NH Division of Public Health Services, now finds its home in the Institute through a bona fide agent agreement with the State of New Hampshire. Learn more at nhohsp.unh.edu.