Highlights from the Northwest Occupational Health Conference

graphic of people talking to each other


October 20, 2022

Last week faculty and staff from the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety (NWCOHS) attended the Northwest Occupational Health Conference (NOHC) sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Section of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (PNS-AIHA). This year’s conference was a hybrid event held at the Red Lion Inn Columbia Center in Kennewick, WA. Approximately 70 in-person attendees celebrated the ability to come together for live sessions, networking, and social events and an additional 20 participants were able to join virtually. 

people socializing at a table
Attendees enjoy welcome cocktail party sponsored by consulting companies BSI and NVL Laboratories.

The conference started with a short course that zeroed in on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the occupational health context. Morning presenters included Michael Flynn from NIOSH, and NWCOHS alum, Dr. Eunice Soh from Seattle Children’s Hospital, who addressed ways to incorporate DEI into research and practice. In the afternoon, we heard from Megan Snoeyink, Portland State University doctoral student in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, who shared her efforts at inclusivity in research on farmworkers. Following the presentation, attendees engaged in small group discussions about becoming allies for health and safety. Incoming PNS-AIHA president-elect Eva Glosson and Sarah Suther-Bee from ActBlue also led the class in an ethics activity examining case studies related to DEI in the workplace.

The General Sessions over the next two days included presentations on a variety of topics, including maritime safety, workplace violence, an update from the NIOSH lab in Spokane and from Oregon OSHA on their new Manganese standard, occupational medicine clinic case reviews, and more.

Marty Cohen receiving an award
Marty Cohen receives the Distinguished Industrial Hygienist Award. 

PNS-AIHA section members wished Jeannette U, PNS-AIHA Administrator, much happiness in her retirement, and showed appreciation for her many years of service and dedication to the section. DEOHS Teaching Professor and Assistant Chair, Marty Cohen, presented his work with 360 degree videos for health and safety training and was the recipient of this year’s Distinguished Industrial Hygienist Award. Assistant Professor Marissa Baker presented on “Assessing Workplace Determinants of Health and Well-Being in US Mariners.”

In addition, the following students received scholarships from PNS-AIHA. All of these students are current or former NWCOHS trainees: Mae Coker (2nd year MS Occupational Hygiene), Nathan Winward (1st year MS Environmental Health, Industrial Hygiene track), Abhyjot Pandher (2nd year MS Applied Occupational Hygiene) and Johanna Wood (1st year MS Environmental Health, Industrial Hygiene track).

DEOHS Assistant Teaching Professor, Nancy Simcox introduced the NWCOHS Professional Training Opportunities (PTOP) awardees who presented on their funded work. 

PTOP awardees with Nancy Simcox
PTOP awardees (left to right) Kruearat, Spivak, Kennedy with Simcox (far right).
Attendees on a wagon ride
Attendees enjoy a wagon ride. 



Activities for in-person attendees also included a local hockey game, a tour of Toyota Arena, and a wagon ride and wine tasting at a local vineyard for those taking advantage of the extended summer weather.




Cover photo: Adobe Stock, Melita, File #268274215. All other photos: Nancy Simcox.