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Tri-State Occupational Medicine Association Conference, October 27, 2023

Feb 12, 2024, 13:37 PM by Jessica Bloomer
Occupational medicine residents at the University of Cincinnati participated in the TSOMA conference and P&G tour on October 27-28, 2023.
The Tri-State Occupational Medicine Association holds a conference each fall and in 2023 it was held at the University of Cincinnati, Kettering Laboratory Complex. As part of the conference, an Onsite Learning Laboratory was held at Proctor and Gamble Chemical Plant in Cincinnati, Ohio. The site hosts were very informative about the plant, highlighted how the safety focus is driven by all levels of staff, and demonstrated how safety training can take a theatrical approach, capturing the audience. The social event and dinner was held at the American Sign Museum, offering attendees a wonder meal, opportunity to see the worksite and craft of a sign maker of neon signs. Students were very engaged with the P&G staff and throughout the conference. Below are the blog post from the students who were in attendance. 

Danya Kiydal, MD, Occupational Medicine Resident
This year’s TSOMA conference was an excellent educational experience. It was also a wonderful opportunity to speak with others in the field, including other physicians and thereby learn more about the practical aspects of the different career paths that occupational medicine physicians can take. Probably the most beneficial component of the Proctor and Gamble visit was understanding how they run their employee health and international occupational health programs and the unique role of the occupational medicine physician in each position. The lectures this year were engaging and contained a lot of high yield practical information. From Dr. Bret Betz, talking about emergency response in major league football, I learned the subtleties of identifying a collapse related to neurologic vs cardiac causes and the extensive emergency response systems in place for every game. This type of planning and preparation is analogous to that required for other high acuity work environments. It was helpful to have such a detailed description that delved into so many of the practical and personal elements of an emergency preparedness response. Another very practical and helpful lecture given by Dr. Ornella and Dr. Jahangiri was about the role of the professional supervisor in audiometric testing. The talk addressed many of the questions I had had on the subject and allowed me to compare what I experienced in the field to the recommendations and experience of the presenters. Perhaps one of the most engaging lectures was the team-taught discussion by Tim Newman, MD and Edward Baker, PhD about disruptive behavioral disorders in the workplace. They described fascinating cases that they had encountered and the complex process of unearthing the actual diagnosis and the intricacies of determining fitness for duty in the setting of abnormal behavior/psychiatry. Their talk beautifully illustrated the delicate balance played in occupational medicine in protecting the interests and safety of both the employee and employer. All in all, the TSOMA conference was a meaningful, practice changing experience that I am profoundly grateful to have been part of. 

Frank Harris, MD, Occupational & Environmental Medicine
As an occupational medicine resident, I consistently seek opportunities to bridge the theoretical with the practical. Therefore, I eagerly participated in the recent ERC field trip to P&G's historic Ivory Dale Facility during the 2023 Tri-State Occupational Medicine Conference. 

Our day began in the chemical plant's conference room, where we enjoyed a humorous and informative safety video that I won't spoil for future participants. Suffice it to say, you'll be entertained. We then met the occupational medicine nurse and physician, along with passionate P&G operations staff. Each member enthusiastically explained their roles in producing the product lines that ultimately leave the plant to become familiar household items. 

Duly equipped with safety goggles, ear protection, and steel-toed boots, we embarked on a tour of the plant. Witnessing the operation firsthand, from receiving raw glycerin in train containers to its transformation into outgoing products, was truly impressive. Our knowledgeable and professional guides readily addressed our numerous questions. The exceptional safety record of P&G staff serves as a testament to their commitment to worker well-being, proactive hazard identification, and effective risk mitigation strategies. 

Leaving P&G that day, I carried several key takeaways. Firstly, the visit served as a tangible reminder of exemplary occupational medicine practice, not merely treating injuries but also fostering a culture of safety and advocating for every worker's well-being. Secondly, more importantly, I was reminded of the principles in the book "Who Not How." I saw first-hand that an organization's success is fundamentally tied to its people, particularly its team. I was particularly impressed by the caliber, experience, and passion of the safety officer who led our tour. I sensed a genuine culture of employee participation in safety initiatives, and I am grateful to have encountered such a dedicated individual at this stage in my education. 

I extend my sincere thanks to P&G for opening their doors and sharing their world during the ERC field trip. You have not only educated a resident, but also empowered a future advocate for worker safety and well-being. 

Supreet Khare, MD, Occupational & Environmental Medicine Resident Physician
In the realm of occupational medicine, the quest for practical insights to complement theoretical knowledge is perpetual. It was with this fervent desire for experiential learning that I embarked on a transformative journey to the esteemed Ivory Dale Facility, courtesy of the ERC field trip organized during the 2023 Tri-State Occupational Medicine Conference. 

Accompanied by my colleagues, the day unfolded with promises of enlightenment and enrichment. Our initiation commenced within the confines of the facility's conference room, where a captivating safety video awaited our eager minds. The blend of humor and information served as a prelude to the immersive experience that awaited us, promising a narrative that would linger in our memories. It also inspired us to create similar videos for onboarding processes at our own facilities. Graced by the presence of occupational medicine luminaries, including the facility's nurse and physician, alongside the passionate P&G operations personnel, our cohort was introduced to the intricate tapestry of roles converging to orchestrate the production of household staples. The meticulous explanation of processes, from raw material intake to the final product's departure, unfurled before our eyes, igniting a sense of awe at the magnitude of industrial prowess. 

We then embarked on a guided tour through the labyrinthine corridors of the plant, each step a testament to the marriage of innovation and safety. The vigilant adherence to safety protocols and the palpable dedication to worker well-being spoke volumes about P&G's commitment to excellence. Queries were met with enthusiasm, as our guides elucidated the nuances of hazard mitigation with seasoned expertise. Departing from P&G's hallowed grounds, I found myself enriched with profound insights. The visit transcended mere observation, serving as a poignant reminder of the intrinsic link between occupational medicine and organizational success. Heartfelt gratitude is extended to P&G for extending the olive branch of knowledge and affording us a glimpse into their world. Beyond the acquisition of knowledge, the experience has kindled a fervent advocacy for worker safety and well-being, illuminating a path towards a future characterized by enlightened practices and empowered professionals.

In conclusion, the sojourn to P&G's Facility epitomized the essence of experiential learning, serving as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring practitioners of occupational medicine. I appreciated the “goodie bag” that had Tide pods in it. It was a great gesture on the part of the facility. May this excursion serve as a catalyst for future endeavors, where theory and practice converge to sculpt a landscape of holistic well-being and enduring excellence.
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