A Full House at WCAHS

WCAHS administration and investigators
WCAHS administrators and investigators at the 2017 Fall Symposium: (L-R) Associate Director Fadi Fathallah, Investigator Diane Mitchell, Director of Research Christopher Simmons, Director Kent Pinkerton, Investigator Rob Atwill. Missing: Director of Outreach Stephen McCurdy, Investigator Marc Schenker, Director of Evaluation Julie Rainwater

Two vacant WCAHS administration positions were filled this fall with Fadi Fathallah, PhD, becoming the new WCAHS Associate Director and Christopher Simmons, PhD, becoming the new WCAHS Director of Research.

Both bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the field of agricultural health and safety, and we are thrilled to have them on the administrative team.

New WCAHS Associate Director

Fadi FathallahFadi Fathallah is a professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at UC Davis. He is an expert in musculoskeletal injuries and designs safer agricultural tools. His current WCAHS research project evaluates the use of mechanical and robotic harvest aids for strawberry pickers.

In a UC Davis One of Kind video, Fathallah describes how he had never been on a farm until he came to the university. He realized how much manual work agricultural workers do and their risk of injury, especially back injury when working in stooped postures.

As Associate Director, Fathallah will oversee WCAHS administration and the Evaluation and the Emerging Issues programs. He also serves as the director of CalAgrAbility, a program that helps disabled farmers continue working in agriculture, and is Associate Vice Provost for Global Education and Services.

New WCAHS Director of Research

Christopher-SimmonsChristopher Simmons is an Associate Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis. He works on transforming agricultural and food processing wastes into beneficial soil amendments that can improve soil quality, fertility, and pest management to displace the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

Simmons has a WCAHS research project evaluating biosolarization as an alternative to toxic soil fumigants. He recently helped Chico based almond grower Rory Crowley improve his orchard's health with biosolarization. Crowley mixed left-over almond hulls and shells into the soil, irrigated it, and covered it with a plastic tarp for 6 weeks. The combination of the trapped heat from the sun and byproducts from soil microbes created "beautiful soil" that can now be planted with new trees.

As the Director of Research, Simmons will administer the five primary WCAHS research projects as well as the Small Grant Program.

A warm welcome to both Fadi Fathallah and Christopher Simmons!