PNASH Research Projects

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View our Annual Report

Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health (PNASH) Center projects are multidisciplinary and respond to a variety of needs, from health care and monitoring to safety engineering and training.

Projects are competitively reviewed and funded. Topics we propose:

  • Address hazards that are the most serious, affect the greatest number of workers, and where that research will make a difference.
  • Meet the needs of Northwest employers, workers, and service providers. We have established a process that engages constituencies from agricultural, health, and safety to help us establish research priorities.

View our current active projects (pdf)


PNASH Research Priorities

PNASH Center priorities are established from regional needs assessments from data review and stakeholder advisories, and is guided by the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) for Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing.


Searchable Database

Sort research priorities by status, type, or topic area.

The Healthy Dairy Worker Study

NIOSH 2016-2021 | Peter Rabinowitz, MD, MPH

This study is characterizing dairy worker exposure to microbes and allergens common in dairies, which will provide a better understanding of whether these exposures provide immune benefits or an in

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A Multi-Level Approach to Heat Related Illness Prevention in Agricultural Workers

NIOSH 2016-2021 | June Spector, MD, MPH

This study works in collaboration with Washington state growers and workers, farmworker housing partners, and Washington State University’s AgWeatherNet.

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Injury and Illness Prevention in the Pacific Northwest for the Dairy Industry

NIOSH 2016-2021 | Michael Yost, PhD

This study pilots bilingual training programs on Slips, Trip and Falls, and Animal Injury Prevention for Northwest dairies.


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Safety Surveillance for PNW Commercial Fishing: Risk Information System for Commercial (RISC) Fishing

NIOSH 2016-2021 | Laurel Kincl, PhD, MS

Commercial fishing is vital to Northwest economies and communities. Compared to other industries, it is one of the most hazardous due to higher rates of serious injuries and deaths.

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Practical Solutions for Pesticide Safety

NIOSH 2016-2021 | Kit Galvin, MPH, CIH

This education project identifies, evaluates, and adapts pesticide safety solutions that northwest farmers developed for themselves.

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Prevention of Occupational Exposure to Pesticide Drift

NIOSH 2016-2021 | Richard Fenske, Ph.D, MPH and Edward Kasner, Ph.D, MPH

    Pesticide drift is a long-standing issue in the Pacific Northwest, especially for the tree fruit industry and workforce.

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Home Air in Agriculture - Pediatric Intervention (HAPI) Trial

NIEHS 2014-2019 | Principal Investigator: Catherine Karr, MD, PhD

The primary goal of the HAPI project, made possible through El Proyecto Bienestar, is to reduce exposure to inflammatory agents and allergens in the homes of an environmental justice community of

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Community Health Interventions with Yakima Ag Workers "El Proyecto Bienestar"

Various funding sources 2009-2019 |

El Proyecto Bienestar (EPB) or, Well Being Project, is a long-standing community health intervention effort guided by a Yakima Valley community advisory board and a partnership of: The U

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Pilot: Nitrate Well Water Testing in Agricultural Communities: Improving Environmental Health Communication with Health Behavior Theory

PNASH Pilot Project 2018-2019 |

Elevated levels of nitrate in groundwater are a significant public health concern for private well water users in the Lower Yakima Valley, which has a large Latino farmworker community.

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Pilot: Evalution of Wearable-based Activity Recognition Modeling Applications for Logging Safety

PNASH Pilot Project 2018-2019 | Robert Keefe, PhD, MS

This pilot project will develop an innovative, GNSS watch-based activity recognition model for rigging crew workers on cable logging operations that will increase situational awareness by sharing r

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Respiratory Health and Indoor Air Quality in Washington's Cannabis Industry

PNASH Pilot Project 2017-2021 | Christopher Simpson, PhD, MSc

This pilot study will evaluate exposures and respiratory health outcomes in cannabis production workers by identifying the specific hazards associated with respiratory health concerns, and identify

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Impact of Workplace Stress on Health in Farmworker Families

NIOSH 2014-2017 | Kent Anger, PhD and Diane Rohlman, PhD

Our previous survey on personal and family health in agricultural families, revealed stress-related behavioral health problems.

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Heat Exposure, Injury Risk, and Productivity in Agricultural Workers

NIOSH 2014-2017 | June Spector, MD, MPH

This project examines the association between heat exposure and traumatic injury risk in agricultural workers, the relationship between heat stress and productivity, and the feasibility of using a

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Pesticide Safety in Tree Fruit: Translating Research, Overcoming Barriers

NIOSH 2011-2016 | Kit Galvin, MS, CIH and Nadine Lehrer, PhD

This project worked toward minimizing agricultural worker and family pesticide exposure in the tree fruit industry by translating and disseminating research results and overcoming barriers to pesti

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Ergonomic Evaluation of Emerging Technologies in the Tree Fruit Industry

WA State MAAF and NIOSH 2009-2016 | Peter Johnson, PhD, MS

Tree-fruit activities such as pruning, structural cutting, and green fruit thinning, are high-intensity labor activities traditionally performed on the ground or on ladders.

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Measurement of Farmworker OP Exposure through Protein Adducts

NIOSH and WA State MAAF 2011-2016 | Chris Simpson, PhD, MSc

This project developed an assay to improve understanding of worker exposures to a wide range of organophosphate (OP) pesticides and advanced the method for potential use in field and clinic setti

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Spanish Glossary of Forestry Services Terms

Oregon OSHA 2015-2016 | John Garland,

Safety communication for forestry workers can be complicated by language barriers and the use of specific technical and lay jargon.

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Using IPM to Reduce Pyrethroid Pesticide Exposures in Dairy Workers

NIOSH 2011-2016 | Michael Yost, PhD, MS

This project partners with Washington State University to reduce pesticide use in dairy operations by introducing Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices in these workplaces.

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Injury and Illness Surveillance in the Pacific Northwest for the Dairy Industry

PNASH Pilot Project 2015-2016 | Michael Yost, PhD

The dairy industry has a high rate of injury claims, leading to adverse impacts on compensation insurance costs.

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Agricultural Medicine eLearning Series for Mid-Level Health Care Providers

PNASH Pilot Project 2015-2016 | Nancy Simcox, MS

This project developed a pilot self-paced OEM e-Learning Series targeting physician assistant & nurse practitioner students to improve their ability to recognize, diagnose, treat, prevent, and

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Reducing Agricultural Worker Risks through New and Emerging Technologies

NIOSH 2011-2016 | Richard Fenske, PhD, MPH

This project evaluated interventions designed to reduce worker exposure and risk during pesticide applications in tree fruit.

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Pilot: GRAS2P Food Safety Video

PNASH Pilot Project 2013-2015 | Alexandra Lewis-Lorenz, PhD, MA

This video project integrates current pesticide safety standards into the video, Fieldworker Orientation and Food Safety/Orientation/Orientation para el Trabajador Agricola y Seguridad Alimenticia.

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Pilot: Fishing Industry Filipino Migrant and Immigrant Work in the Subarctic

PNASH Pilot Project 2013-2015 | Gabriel Garcia, PhD, MA, MPH

This pilot project will assess risk factors for occupational illness and injury due to physically demanding work and unpredictable working conditions among Dutch Harbor/Unalaska's Filipino migran

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Pilot: Non-Fatal Injuries among Commercial Fishing Workers in Alaska, Washington, and Oregon

PNASH Pilot Project 2014-2015 | Laurel Kincl, PhD, MS

This project addresses a high hazard occupation where information on non-fatal (but serious) injuries are limited.

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Pesticide Exposure Pathways in Agricultural Communities

EPA/NIEHS 2004-2014 | Michael Yost, PhD

Children of agricultural producers and workers can be exposed to pesticides and other agricultural chemicals if workplace chemicals are inadvertently brought into their homes.

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Pilot: Total Worker Health in Salmon Fishermen from Cordova, Alaska

PNASH Pilot Project 2014-2015 | Debra Cherry, MD, MS

Commercial fishing is the most hazardous occupation in the U.S. with workers experiencing both acute and chronic health risks.

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Aggravating Factors of Asthma in a Rural Environment (AFARE)

NIEHS/CDC 2009-2014 | Catherine Karr, MD, PhD

This community-based project characterized ambient triggers of asthma in the rural setting by following 50 (children and adults) asthmatic community participants, mapping their exacerbations and

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Educational Video(s) for Farmworker Ladder Safety and Heat Illness Prevention

WA State MAAF 2012-2014 | Richard Fenske, PhD, MPH

This project expanded the use of two recent PNASH-produced Spanish radio programs on ladder safety and heat-related illness prevention into a video tool for farmworker training.

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Improving PPE Effectiveness in Agricultural Applications

WA State MAAF 2012-2014 | Michael Yost, PhD, MS

This project responds to specified PPE needs for the tree fruit and related industries in Washington State that can reduce pesticide handler exposure and potential pesticide-related illness.

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Pilot: Transmission of Microorganisms in Dairy Farms

PNASH Pilot Project 2013-2015 | Peter Rabinowitz, MD, MPH

Dairy farming requires close contact between people and animals, with transmissions that can be a source of zoonotic disease.

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Parkinsonism among Washington State Agricultural Pesticide Handlers

PNASH Pilot Project 2013-2014 | Susan Searles Nielsen, PhD, MS and Christopher Simpson, PhD, MSc

Previous human and animal studies suggest that some pesticides, including those typically applied by agricultural pesticide handlers, may increase the risk of parkinsonism (PS).

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Notification of Pesticide Applications to Minimize Workplace Exposures

WA State MAAF 2012-2014 | Richard Fenske, PhD, MPH

Farmworker exposure to agricultural pesticide drift is a high priority concern for public health.

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Pilot: Reducing Occupational Health and Safety Risks Among Young Workers in Agriculture through Clinician Engagement

PNASH Pilot Project 2011-2013 | Catherine Karr, MD, PhD

Occupational hazards of adolescent farm workers is a topic many argue is critical, but for which there have been few directed activities in the research and healthcare community.

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Pilot: Study of Risk Factors for Heat-Related Illness in Agricultural Workers

NIOSH 2011-2013 | June Spector, MD, MPH

This pilot, seeks to characterize the burden of heat-related illness in Washington State agriculture, potential risk factors for heat-related illness, and methods for quantifying the physiologica

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Development of a Surveillance Strategy to Guide Injury Prevention Efforts in the Washington Commercial Fishing Industry

WA State MAAF 2011-2013 | June Spector, MD, MPH

This project responded to a pressing need to examine non-fatal fishing injuries data in order to identify areas where interventions are most needed to prevent injuries.

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Pilot: Risk Factors for Heat-Related Illness in Among Oregon Farmworkers

PNASH Pilot Program 2012-2013 | Jeff Bethel, PhD

Farmworkers are at an increased risk for heat-related illness given their work requires heavy exertion in an outdoor setting.

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Assessing Agricultural Safety and Health among Hmong Farmers

NIOSH 2011-2013 | Butch de Castro, PhD, MSN/MPH, RN, FAAN

This project collaborated with Hmong refugee farmers in Washington State to identify and address farm hazards using novel community-based participatory approaches along with conventional industri

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Pilot: Development of a Work Stress Survey for Farmworkers

PNASH Pilot Project 2011-2012 | Diane Rohlman, PhD

Many factors impact the health of agricultural workers, including workplace hazards, exposure to chemicals, limited resources, and limited access to medical care.

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Pilot: Oregon Crab Fisherman Safety and Personal Flotation Device Survey

PNASH Pilot Project 2010-2011 | PNASH partners

The Oregon Crab Fishing Safety Assessment evaluated the effectiveness of current US Coast Guard and Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission safety initiatives and safety training programs, and field-teste

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