Cora Roelofs

I collaborate with community advocacy organizations to understand work-related determinants of health and, with that analysis, design, implement, and evaluate strategic interventions to remove obstacles and improve opportunities for preventing occupational injury and illnesses. I am particularly concerned with the health of the economically disadvantaged, particularly low-wage immigrant and refugee workers in the United States and have studied the determinants of health for Vietnamese nail salon workers, Latino construction workers, and Cambodian asbestos removers. I have also investigated the implementation and impact of public and organizational policies to improve the conditions that promote health and safety for workers. I have technical training in industrial hygiene, but regard myself as an interdisciplinary social sciences public health scholar. I am a recognized expert in nail salon workers’ health and safety, multifactorial determinants of health, integration of occupational and environmental health, and the impacts of climate change on vulnerable worker populations. In addition to publishing on these subjects and others, I frequently consult with journalists, public health advocates, academics, and students.

I am currently developing research projects and funding requests in three areas: 1) work-related injuries and the opioid epidemic, 2) employer preparedness to protect workers from climate change and disasters, and 3) indoor air quality in nail salons.

My research emphasizes understanding economic, cultural, and political determinants of health, so that they may be made more just and prevention-oriented. My work has uncovered the benefits to workers’ health achieved by the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act, highlighted the role of social support and transformational leadership in improving construction safety, re-framed “blame the victim” approaches to promoting immigrant workers’ health, and sounded the alarm on the impact on workers from climate change. I rely heavily on qualitative methods, survey research, public data sources, and community-based participatory and collaborative research strategies with both academic and non-academic partners.

See Cora’s publications on Google Scholar

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