The Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety (WCAHS) partnered with several other NIOSH-funded ag centers to host the Western Agriculture Safety and Health Conference in Seattle, Washington in early August. The conference’s theme—Cultivating Collaborations—highlighted the goal of building relationships and exchanging ideas.
With over 170 attendees, the conference included thematic sessions, lightning talks, poster presentations, and roundtable discussions. WCAHS was active in each of these areas with faculty, staff, students, and collaborators participating throughout the three-day conference.
WCAHS’ founding director, Dr. Marc Schenker, gave one of two plenary talks and led the Hired and Contract Ag Workforce thematic session. Xόchitl Castañeda, Director of Health Initiative of the Americas, at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, moderated the panel discussion, Sustainable Models of Research and Translation to Improve Farmworker Health, which concluded the session.
WCAHS director, Dr. Kent Pinkerton co-led the Western Climate Change and Amplified AgFF Worker Health Risks thematic session and shared findings from his climate change and agricultural health and safety research project during the session panel on air pollution from wildfires and its impact on agricultural workers. Dr. Schenker presented research findings related to heat stress among California farmworkers.
Victor Duraj, UC Davis PhD student in Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and Farzaneh Khorsandi, UC Davis Cooperative Extension Assistant Safety and Health Engineering Specialist, participated in the Prevention through Design in New Technologies thematic session, where they presented findings related to their research in design solutions for prevention of musculoskeletal disorders and ATV crush protection devices respectively.
In the Best Practices in Engagement and Research to Practice (R2P) session, Education and Outreach Specialist, Teresa Andrews, presented her methods for incorporating the results of the CHIPS heat illness project into educational trainings for the farmworker community.
Ten posters were presented on projects funded at least in-part by WCAHS in areas of machinery, climate and air quality impacts, safety and injury, and education.
- Youth and All-Terrain Vehicles in the Agricultural Industry, Farzaneh Khorsandi, PhD, Cooperative Extension Assistant Safety and Health Engineering Specialist, UC Davis; WCAHS Small Grant awarded project
- Crush Protection Devices for Agricultural All-Terrain Vehicles, Farzaneh Khorsandi, PhD, Cooperative Extension Assistant Safety and Health Engineering Specialist, UC Davis; WCAHS Small Grant awarded project
- Evaluation of Mechanical and Robotic Strawberry Harvest-Aids, Vicente Munguia, PhD student, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, UC Davis
- Smoke, Wind, Rain: Extreme Weather Events and Occupational Safety in Agriculture, Heather Riden, MA, WCAHS Center Manager, UC Davis
- Understanding Airborne Particulate Pollution in Imperial Valley, California, Savannah Mack, PhD student, Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology, UC Davis (best student poster award winner)
- Adoptability of Orchard Ladders with Shorter Rung Spacing, Victor Duraj, PhD student, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, UC Davis
- Hazard Mapping: A Tool to Identify Health & Safety Hazards in Agriculture, Isabel Flores Garcia, WCAHS Education and Outreach Specialist, UC Davis
- Biochemical and Physiological Dynamics in Ligament Injury and Hand Healing, Amjad Ramahi, PhD student, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, UC Davis
- Improving the Job Satisfaction of Agricultural Workers to Build a More Sustainable Workforce, Malcolm Hobbs, PhD, Staff Research Associate, University of California Cooperative Extension; WCAHS Small Grant awarded project
- Considerations for Communicating Safety Information to a Diverse Stakeholder Audience in Western Ag, Kara Schilli, WCAHS Communications Specialist, UC Davis
In addition to presenting two posters, Dr. Farzaneh Khorsandi gave a lightning talk and led two roundtable discussions on ATV safety. WCAHS Center Manager, Heather Riden, and Communications Specialist, Kara Schilli, led a roundtable discussion in collaboration with Whitney Pennington from the Colorado Ag Center (HICAHS), on engaging agricultural stakeholders through strategic communications.