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21st Annual Pilot Research Project Symposium, October 1-2, 2020

Oct 23, 2020, 15:25 PM by Jessica Bloomer
Summary of the 21st Annual Pilot Research Project Symposium, held virtually on October 1-2, 2020.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 21st Pilot Research Project (PRP) Symposium was a virtual event using Zoom and the event app, Whova. While in-person gathering was not possible, the PRP awardees were still able to showcase their work and present their project plans to over 100 attendees. The PRP symposium highlights various topics in occupational health and safety such as home healthcare workers and firefighters. The PRP program is a component of the University of Cincinnati NIOSH Education and Research Center. 

The keynote speaker was Dr. Claire Caruso, Research Health Scientist at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Caruso presented on the “Importance of Sleep Health and Workplace Strategies to Promote It.” Her research focuses on health and safety risks associated with shift work and long work hours, supported by evidence from underlying sleep and circadian rhythm research. Dr. Caruso is a key subject matter expert for these issues including shift work, long work hours, and other workplace sleep and fatigue issues.

2019-20 PRP awardees presented their final project results. Topics included;

  • Lead-Free X-Ray Shielding Personal Protection Equipment for Healthcare Workers

  • IoT based AI Application for Posture Recognition to Reduce Workplace Injuries

  • Dual-Functionality Heatable Carbon Nanotube Air Filters for Healthcare Workers

  • Designing Next-Generation Solid Electrolyte via a Multiscale Computational Scheme to Avoid Workplace Battery Hazard

  • Heavy metal sensor for low wage workers based on 3D graphene

  • Assessing volunteer workers’ exposure to dust, metals and bioaerosol during equine assisted activities/therapies: an exploratory study

  • Characterizing Fine and Ultrafine Particle Exposure Among Home Healthcare Workers

  • Neurotoxicity of Polyfluoroalkyl Substance (PFAS) Mixtures in Firefighting Materials

  • Role of firefighting-associated chronic stress factors in immune dysfunction

Day 1 concluded with a guest speaker, Dr. Roy Nandyal, founder of Yoga Leela. Dr. Nandyal presented on the importance of eastern yoga techniques and poses that benefit the spine and joints - including poses to do while sitting in a desk chair. Dr. Nandyal also demonstrated several different poses that benefit the spine and joints. 

On day 2 of the symposium, a few more PRP awardees presented their final results and then there was a virtual poster session for the 2020-21 PRP awardees which included topics such as;

  • Home healthcare workers' exposure to bacterial and fungal bioaerosols

  • A Novel Wearable Carbon-Based Material to Shield Aircrews from Cosmic Radiation

  • CNT Hybrid Fabric Facemask to Filter and Deactivate Virus

  • Flexible and low-voltage Carbon Nano Tube heaters to combat cold weather -- For fire fighters and first responders

  • Real-Time Automated Vehicle Crash Detection and Reporting System

As well as a poster from a Targeted Research Training Program student on “Evaluating Exposure to Biological Aerosols in Home Healthcare using a Real-Time Fluorescence-Based Direct-Reading Instrument.” 

After the poster session attendees had a chance to vote for their favorite poster and podium presentation which would be announced at the end of the event. The sessions concluded with a panel discussion which included University of Cincinnati faculty; Dr. Beverly Hittle (College of Nursing), Dr. Lynne Haber (Environmental and Public Health Sciences), Dr. Amit Bhattacharya (Environmental and Public Health Sciences), and Dr. Jay Kim (College of Engineering and Applied Science). The panel session gave an opportunity to discuss topics in occupational safety and health and for attendees to ask questions that were not addressed in other sessions. 

To conclude the symposium, Dr. Jae Hong Park from Purdue University, presented the award winners; two for people’s choice favorite poster and podium presenters and two that a panel of judges selected for best poster and podium presenters. The award winners were;

  • Award for people’s choice poster: Oyindamola Omotuyi, University of Cincinnati, Real-Time Automated Vehicle Crash Detection and Reporting System

  • Award for people’s choice podium: Aditya Deshpande, University of Cincinnati, IoT based AI Application for Posture Recognition to Reduce Workplace Injuries

  • Award for distinguished poster: Kavitha Joseph, University of Cincinnati, Flexible and low-voltage Carbon Nano Tube heaters to combat cold weather -- For fire fighters and first responders

  • Award for distinguished podium: Kimberly Tumlin, University of Kentucky, Assessing volunteer workers’ exposure to dust, metals and bioaerosol during equine assisted activities/therapies: an exploratory study

The use of the Whova event app allowed for networking, even as a virtual event, with Twitter and Leaderboard contests that encouraged attendee engagement. The community board was also available for attendees to post discussion topics, other conferences, articles, job announcements, and more. Thank you to all presenters and attendees for being flexible with a virtual event, to the Ohio Association of Occupational Health Nurses for sponsoring the event, and the PRP Steering Committee for volunteering to help with the symposium. 

 

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Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences
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Phone: 513-558-5710
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Email: erccoor@uc.edu