The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) awarded principal investigator David Rempel $1.5 million over three years to conduct the largest known study of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), a major source of disability among workers. Caused by pressure on the median nerve that runs from the forearm into the hand, CTS accounts for the highest average number of days lost at work per case compared to all other major work-related injuries or illnesses.1
Rempel and colleagues, including Ellen Eisen, adjunct professor in the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley, will pool CTS data from seven other U.S. universities. The sample will include over 3,500 workers from diverse occupations. Researchers will then analyze information gathered from 2001-08 to determine the relationship between hand activity and CTS with the goal to reduce workplace injury and improve safety. The project will support graduate students at UC Berkeley and the seven participating research sites.
Rempel is a professor of Medicine in the UCSF Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and director of the Ergonomics Program at UC Berkeley, a joint program of UCSF and UC Berkeley.
In November 2010, David Rempel was appointed by the National Academies of Sciences to its Board on Human-Systems Integration (BOHSI). BOHSI's mandate is to identify critical issues in the design, test, evaluation, and use of new human-centered technologies. They also provide research advice in the areas of human factors engineering, physical ergonomics, training, occupational health and safety, health care, product design and macro-ergonomics.2
David Rempel has been named one of the "Top 25 Newsmakers of 2010" by Engineering News Record (ENR) for his work in developing an overhead drilling tool, which reduces the stress on a construction worker's shoulders, arms and hands by nearly 90%.3 ENR is the largest weekly circulation in the country on construction engineering. Read the story in the April 2010 edition.
Ergonomics PhD graduate Carisa Harris won first prize for Best Paper at the International Conference on Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (PREMUS 2010) held in Angers, France, this past summer.
Her paper reported preliminary findings on a prospective study of 450 workers from four industries to determine factors that predict wrist tendinosis, a common work-related upper extremity disorder. Harris joins the faculty at Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, California, where she will teach physical therapy and continue her research with David Rempel and Ellen Eisen.
Congratulations to alumna Molly Story, PhD '08, on her new career as a Human Factors and Accessible Medical Technology Specialist at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In her role, she serves as a human factors resource for the Office of Device Evaluation (ODE) and the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH). She also works with internal committees on human factors at CDRH, accessibility of medical diagnostic equipment for patients with disabilities, and human factors issues related to use of medical devices in the home.
"I am excited to be working on the accessible equipment project since that was the focus of my UC Berkeley dissertation," reports Story. "As a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as the "health care reform act," the U.S. Access Board will work with the FDA to write new standards for accessible medical diagnostic equipment. The standards will be based largely from the research we did at the UC Ergonomics Lab and at Marquette University, our collaborator on the grant."
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