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Resident Research

UIC Occupational Medicine
Resident Research 2005 to present

2005    Arora J, Rubin R. Non-fatal occupational injuries presenting to a level I urban
trauma and burn unit.The UIC/Stroger Consultation Service documents all calls
received from the Stroger trauma unit regarding work-related traumatic injuries. The goal
of this study was to design a validated questionnaire that would be used for formal
surveillance of these consultation calls.

2005    Holmes J, Duvall K. The benefit adequacy of vocational rehabilitation in the
state of Illinois. One of the goals of the Workers Compensation Act was to provide
medical care and rehabilitation services for work related injuries. In the late 1990’s
employers began to question the costs and the effectiveness of access, wage replacement,
and adequacy of the benefits provided. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact
of vocational rehabilitation(VR) in Illinois by comparing the wages of two sample
populations: workers receiving VR and workers not receiving VR. In addition, barriers to
successful vocational rehab like SES, gender, and race were evaluated.

2005    Tharenos L, Dorevitch S. Comparison and prevalence of sensitization to common allergens in workers exposed and unexposed to laboratory animal allergens. It is not known whether early childhood exposure to hygiene hypothesis factors modifies the risk of sensitization to aeroallergens among adults.  One approach toward evaluating whether such exposures confer long lasting protection from sensitization is to study adults exposed to allergens in the workplace. Sensitization to rat or mouse allergen was determined by skin prick testing in a cross-sectional study among university employees with and without occupational exposure to lab rodents.  Current and prior demographic information was obtained by questionnaire.

2005    Patel M, Williamson R, Buchanan S. Vestibular Effects on MRI Workers in a 9.4 Tesla Static Magnetic Field.  The static fields utilized in most US hospitals are of 1.5 Tesla or 3.0 Tesla strength for diagnostic purposes. The new MRI scanner at the University of Illinois at Chicago has a static field of 9.4 Tesla and is the largest whole body scanner in the world. The objectives of this pilot study were to evaluate the extent and duration of sensory symptoms caused by an acute exposure to 9.4 T static magnetic field and to objectively note any effects on the vestibular system to workers in MRI center.

2005    Zhao C, Dorevitch S. Measuring Asthma severity in Chicago public housing
projects using exhaled breath condensate pH. The pH of exhaled breath condensate
(EBC) is a promising biomarker in measuring asthma severity. To date there have been
no studies of EBC pH among public housing residents. We conducted a study to
determine the relationship between asthma severity and EBC pH in such a population.

2006    Halpin J, Forst L. Epidemiology of occupational burns in an outpatient setting. In order to prevent the occurrence of occupational burn injuries, it is critical to understand the risk factors involved including the work setting, the task the worker was doing, and whether the burn was caused by hot water, grease, or contact with a hot object. UICMC conducts worker screening and treats workers from a wide variety of occupations at Chicago’s O’Hare airport in addition to treating passengers. The specific aims of this project were to determine the factors and circumstances involved in occupation burn injuries in airport workers.

2006    Amir T, Buchanan S. Profile of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity in an
academic occupational medicine clinic. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) is a
disorder in which patients suffer from various bodily symptoms from environmental
chemicals in low doses.  These symptoms are not explained by organic causes. The
purpose of this study was to describe characteristics of  MCS patients that have presented
to the UIC Occupational Medicine Clinic(OMC) including an assessment of how many
patients met Cullen’s Criteria.

2007    Engelland E, Krantz A. Asthma related work disability in low income asthma
patients. Chronic asthma may affect workers’ ability to perform non-sedentary
occupations. These types of jobs are more common in low-income populations. This
study was a follow-up of a previous asthma cohort at the Stroger Pulmonary clinic.
Participants were contacted and interviewed about current work status.

2007    Song F, Buchanan S. Nasopharyngeal cancer and occupation in Chengdu, 
China.Nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) is common in Southeast Asia. Suspected etiologies
include genetic inheritance, diet, and Epstein Barr Virus infection. Chengdu is a center
of shoe manufacturing. This study aims to calculate the incidence of NPC within the
general population and within high risk occupations using census data and tumor registry
data obtained from the CDC in Chengdu.

2007    Karandikar A, Dorevitch S. Effectiveness of community education on air quality: A pre-post survey. Air pollution is a huge public health problem and is a reversible and modifiable cause of asthma. Although community and office based interventions have typically addressed asthma education from an intervention point of view, very few have concentrated on providing community education addressing air pollution and air quality as risk factors, and none, to our knowledge, have systematically measured the effectiveness of such education. Objective: To investigate whether community education to targeted populations on air quality and air pollution is effective in increasing participants’ knowledge in these areas and to study the preferred means of disseminating air quality information in communities.

2008    Ethiraj RE, Forst L. Occupational Health Indicators in Illinois. The overall goal of this project is to lay the foundation for a comprehensive occupational surveillance system in the State of Illinois. Specific aims are to obtain the OH indicators for the state of IL using CSTE “Occupational Health Indicators- Guide” and to establish a resource for occupational health stakeholders in Illinois. 19 indicators selected by Work Group consensus were obtained from existing data resources using methods described in the CSTE Guide.

2008  Chey H, Dorevitch S. Acute gastrointestinal illness among recreational water users in the Greater Metropolitan Chicago Area. Various studies throughout the world have linked recreational water activities to an elevated risk of acute illness, including acute gastrointestinal disease. This research project represents the initial phase of studying the association between recreational water activities and acute gastrointestinal illness in the Greater Metropolitan Chicago (GMC) Area. Questionnaire data was gathered prospectively from recreational water users in the GMC area during the late summer and fall of 2007. Overall, the majority of the analyses performed for this dataset did not reveal significant differences between the three subgroups. No significant difference was seen among the attack rates of new GI symptoms between the three representative groups (p = 0.704). No significant difference appears to exist overall among the three representative groups with regard to the timing of GI symptom onset (p = 0.064).

2008    Morello J, Forst L. Validating the Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder, Hand (DASH) Questionnaire for Spanish Speakers in the US. This research involved studying the hand injuries amongst Mexican employees.  The goal was to translate a well established disability questionnaire (DASH, Disability of Arm Shoulder and Hand) into Mexican Spanish.  Once this is completed we plan on correlating the new translated questionnaire with physical exam.  A Physical Exam checklist for hand injuries utilizing the AMA guidelines was developed.

2008    Thomas B, Dorevitch S. Correlations between asthma and obesity. More than 20 cross sectional studies have reported an association between asthma and obesity, all studies showing increasing risk of asthma with increasing BMI. The major limitation of  these studies is that rates of asthma and obesity are often self reported. In our study, research participants were recruited from Parkway Gardens, an inner city community of approximately 2000 residents.  Subjective and objective measurements of asthma and obesity were measured to determine if a relationship exists between asthma and obesity.  

2008    Onyewuchi O, Forst L.  Non-fatal Occupational Injury Surveillance Using Traumatic Work-related Injuries from the Ohio Trauma Registry: 2003-2006
Summary: This is an evaluation of trauma registries as a tool for serious non-fatal occupational injury surveillance. It will involve a review of existing Non-fatal occupational injury surveillance systems and their limitations, identifying similarities and differences between these systems and data from Ohio trauma registry. We will also review other state trauma registries that have been used for occupational injury surveillance as a sample of possible outcome and limitations of this study.

2009    Larson S, Dorevitch S. Obesity and Depression: a cross-sectional study in a Chicago inner city neighborhood.   Obesity and depression are common problems in our US population but the relationship between them has not been well defined.  We used a validated screening questionnaire for depression and anthropometric measurements of height and weight to measure their prevalence in a low income, inner city, African-American neighborhood of Chicago.  Our objectives were to characterize the prevalence of obesity and depression in this population in comparison to the expected prevalence based on national data and to determine whether there was an association between obesity and depression in our specific population.


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