UW-Madison is the fourth-largest research university in the nation, and conducts invaluable research in dozens of departments, many of them in research laboratories. Some research in biological and chemical labs come with their own risks. Preventing and caring for work injuries, illnesses, and exposure to hazardous chemicals in research is the mission of the UHS division of Occupational Medicine.
The Occupational Medicine division at UHS supports the broader UW research enterprise with medical oversight, consultation, pre-exposure evaluation, and post-exposure treatment of animal, chemical, or biological exposures.
Working closely in conjunction with the Office of Environmental and Occupational Health, the program is designed to address the unique hazards that are found within the research and academic environment at UW.
Typically performing invaluable, behind-the-scenes work, Occupational Medicine improves working conditions at UW, and provides services designed to protect UW students and employees from exposure, illness, or injury.
“Our department is committed to developing healthcare programming to serve the research community by advocating for worker health,” said UHS Occupational Medicine team member Joel Malak. “The health of our workforce is a central factor in maintaining campus prosperity, constancy, and security.”
Pre-exposure services range from vaccinations and Tuberculosis skin testing to physical exams and laboratory testing.
Occupational Medicine interacts with numerous departments across campus and helps to make processes more efficient. For example, they recently coordinated the Select Agent Suitability and Reliability Assessment (SASRA) program in conjunction with the UW Police Department and Biosafety. Each year, they facilitate flu vaccine clinics for UW faculty and staff, as well as develop a database to ensure compliance for employees who have dual appointments.
Occupational Medicine is also there in times of crisis. They are responsible for coordinating medical care after exposure to an infectious substance, as well as caring for needle-stick injuries incurred in clinical research settings. In situations where minutes can mean all the difference, Occupational Medicine coordinates a response in a timely and safe matter.
To learn more, visit http://www.uhs.wisc.edu/occ-medicine/.