After nearly 30 years as director of the Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) at UC Berkeley, Robin Baker has a new role as principal investigator of a 4-year project funded by CPWR: The Center for Construction Research and Training and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Baker is a nationally recognized specialist in Research to Practice (r2p). R2p is a collaborative process between researchers and those who are able to apply new knowledge in the workplace to reduce injury and illness (workers, employers, policymakers and others). In her new position, she will use her significant experience to foster partnerships between the research community and the U.S. construction industry.
"Though construction remains one of the nation's most hazardous industries, many evidence-based solutions already have been developed. Yet their adoption in the field continues to be all too rare, particularly on smaller work sites," says Baker. "I am honored to have the opportunity to try to help close this gap."
Post-doctoral fellow Charlotte Chang, DrPH '10, joins Baker on the new project. Previously, Chang collaborated with LOHP and COEH faculty members Meredith Minkler and Niklas Krause on a study of Chinese restaurant workers.
I have had the pleasure of working with Robin Baker since 1991— first as Cal/OSHA Chief and now as NIOSH Director.
Robin is a terrific catalyst for any project. And endeavors that she and I have shared all haven't been a cakewalk. Despite obstacles aplenty—scarce resources, shifting political winds, or intellectual conundrums—Robin has risen to every challenge. At LOHP, she has always delivered her best for workers, for her colleagues, and for her funders. As for me, I am truly privileged to have learned from Robin over the past 20 years. May success continue to follow you, Robin, into the next chapter of your life!
John Howard, Director of NIOSH
"How can we build a community of building trades workers willing to fight for health and safety on the job?" has consistently been Robin Baker's plea and goal with every project that we collaborated on.
In all our work together, Robin has urged the Council to go even beyond providing great education and training to guide our members to action. From tobacco cessation and prevention to better integrating immigrant construction workers, and developing several OSHA training programs, Robin always looked for the innovation, the fresh, the creative.
We rely on LOHP, in part because of Robin, and in part because she has nurtured an incredible team of trainers and educators. We will miss her there, but know that she leaves behind a strong and dedicated organization. And, of course, we still get to work with her in her new position at CPWR, and we're glad for it.
Debra Chaplan, Director of Special Programs for the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California
As times and the economy have changed, Robin, in her leadership of LOHP, has kept the focus on workers and communities whose health is most at risk from the demands of just making a living. Rewards and recognition for this kind of leadership are rare. Hopefully she knows that there are many of us out here who understand and deeply appreciate her sustained contributions.
Robert Spear, Professor Emeritus at UC Berkeley and Founding Director of COEH
Find this article and others online at http://coeh.berkeley.edu/bridges