Dissolving Complex Occupational Health and Safety Problems James E. Leemann, Ph.D. Environmental and Occupational Health Conference Sustaining the Environmental Health Workforce August 1 – 3, 2001 Renaissance Madison Hotel Seattle, Washington
Sustaining the Environmental Health Workforce Conference Objectives: • New opportunities & skills to recruit, train, and strengthen the environmental health workforce • Integration of Research and Practice into curricula • Examination of environmental health competencies
Sustaining the Environmental Health Workforce Conference Objectives (cont’d): • Issues surrounding the need for diversity • Innovative techniques in curriculum development
New Opportunities & Skills Occupational Health and Safety Management II – ENHS 724 Using Systems Thinking to Dissolve Complex Occupational Health and Safety Management Problems Through Interactive Planning
Systems Thinking A System is a whole that cannot be divided into independent parts: And, therefore, when a System is taken apart it losses all of its essential properties and so do its parts This is why a System cannot be understood by only analyzing it.
System Analysis and Synthesis We are typically predisposed to taking systems apart and treating the parts separately. This is a consequence of analytic thinking. Analysis and thought are often treated as synonyms, but analysis is only one way of thinking; synthesis is another.
System Analysis and Synthesis Analysis – Focuses on structure and how things work efficiently and how to repair it when it stops working. Its product is Knowledge. Synthesis – Focuses on function and why things operate as effectively as they do. Its product is Understanding.
Dealing with Complex OHS Problems • Absolution – Ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away on its own accord. • Resolution – Doing something that yields an outcome that is good enough. • Solution – Doing something that yields or comes as close as possible to the best possible outcome, something that optimizes. • Dissolution – Doing something to eliminate the problem.
Dissolving Complex Occupational Health and Safety Management Problems Dissolving problems involves the redesign of the entity that has the problem, or its environment, in such a way as to eliminate the problem and enable the system involved to do better in the future than the best it can do today, in a word, to idealize.
2. Integration of Research and Practice into Curricula Occupational Health and Safety Management II – ENHS 724 Group Research & Practice Projects Teams range in size from 4 to 8 students
2. Integration of Research and Practice into Curricula Occupational Health and Safety Management II – ENHS 724 Group Research & Practice Projects • Implementing a PPE Program @ Silver Sutures • Idealized Redesign of ABC Health Services • Idealized Redesign of a Preactive OHS Mgnt. System • Integrating the Systems Thinking Approach via Standards-Based Management @ Multidiscipline Laboratories • Aquarians to Antiquarians – Knowledge Mngt. In the Changing ENHS Workforce
3. Examination of Environmental Health Competencies Core Competencies for the Effective Practice of Environmental Health Assessment – Research, Data Analysis and Interpretation, and Evaluation Management – Problem Solving, Economic and Political Issues, Organizational Knowledge and Behavior, Computer/Information Technology, Reporting, Documentation and Record Keeping, and Collaboration Communication – Education, Communication, Conflict Resolution, and Marketing
3. Examination of Environmental Health Competencies Occupational Health and Safety Management II – ENHS 724 Course is designed to provoke the use of all 14 core competencies through the Group Project report (40%) and presentation (20%) and the stiff requirement (40%) of class participation
4. Issues Surrounding the Need for Diversity Occupational Health and Safety Management II – ENHS 724 Interactive Planning Key Premise – Interactive Planning requires that those who will be affected by or will affect the system must participate in the planning process. The process thrives on diversity of thought.
5. Innovative Techniques in Curriculum Development Tulane CAEPH of the Environmental Health Sciences Department in the SPHTM was established in 1994 to: Fill a national need to link university faculty and environmental, health and safety professionals in industry and government to promote the practice of environmental health.
5. Innovative Techniques in Curriculum Development Tulane CAEPH activities include: • Applying the public health approach to environmental and occupational health • Developing communication strategies to disseminate research and management information
5. Innovative Techniques in Curriculum Development Tulane CAEPH activities include (cont’d): • Developing traditional and non-traditional educational and training formats (including distance learning technologies and computer-based learning) • Incorporating epidemiological and risk-based methods in environmental health science practice
Opening Thoughts Our Challenges: • To provide new opportunities and skills in environmental health courses that stimulate LEARNING in the context of today’s realities. • To integrate researchANDpractice into environmental health curricula. • To incorporate the application of environmental health competencies into all courses so that students understand the challenge of delivering superior performance.
Opening Thoughts Our Challenges (cont’d): • To present environmental health issues in a way that practitioners recognize the importance of diversity, both in thought and in the people who are dealing with the issue. • To constantly seek new and innovative techniques in curriculum development, both in delivery and in currency.