Bengt Arnetz, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.
Sham Juratli, M.D.
The conference, sponsored by the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Division of Occupational and Environmental Health, will take place March 6 from 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. at the Somerset Inn in Troy.
“A primary aim of the conference is to enhance the understanding and knowledge of attendees about the complex psychosocial factors that influence the health, well-being and performance of workers,” said Sham Juratli, M.D., assistant professor of Family Medicine, and one of the course instructors. “This is in addition to clinically relevant topics in occupational toxicology and industrial hygiene.”
Conference topics will include the art and science of obtaining a comprehensive and relevant exposure history; recognizing the complex psychosocial, organizational and clinical determinants of health and productivity; fibromyalgia and its cost to productivity; Social Security disability; getting workers back to work; navigating the workers compensation system; chronic back pain disability; workplace violence; and the role of industrial hygienists in the practice of occupational medicine.
“General practitioners are specialized in other areas and are rarely educated in occupational and environmental medicine matters specifically. However, GPs meet the abundance of patients with occupational and environmental health disorders,” said Bengt Arnetz, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., a professor in the Department of Family Medicine, director of the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and one of the course directors. “Through increased awareness of occupational and environmental medicine, GPs can become a more effective partner in enhancing patient well-being and productivity.”
In addition, Dr. Arnetz said, there are numerous legal and administrative issues -- such as return-to-work policies and workers compensation -- that general practioners need to recognize.
Work defines people in so many ways, the doctors said, that primary care providers gain invaluable experience in occupational health issues through years of practice. The purpose of the conference is to enhance and update their knowledge in important aspects of occupational health, especially as it pertains to the psychosocial determinants of health and performance, the area of expertise for the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
“The health, well-being and productivity of workers are influenced by their dynamic interaction with the physical, social and emotional factors that define their work. For instance, high-stress, low-social support at work is among the factors that influence back disability independent of the physical demands of the job,” Dr. Juratli said. “At the Occupational Medicine Division, we have special expertise in examining these organizational determinants of health and performance, and we aim to present some of our work in this field.”
The cost to attend the conference for School of Medicine and Detroit Medical Center members is $75. The cost for other attendees is $250. Registration includes breakfast, lunch and course materials. Pre-registration is required. Call (313) 577-6858.