Department of Emergency Medicine

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Resident Research & Accomplishments

The Occupational Medicine program prepares trainees for the comprehensive practice of occupational medicine in a variety of settings including academia, hospital based clinics, free-standing occupational medicine practices, private practices, corporate settings, public health programs, governmental agencies and legal or regulatory authorities. The program is designed to provide structured, supervised training and experience to ensure that residents achieve competency in the areas required of the American Council on Graduate Education (ACGME), the American Board of Preventive Medicine Examination in Occupational Medicine (APBM-OM) and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) for the specialist practice in OEM.After receiving training at our residency program, our residents go on to become professors, heads of departments, and leaders of academic and business organizations. The diversity of training offered at our program, along with the mentorship received from our distinguished staff, means that residents can work in numerous areas and contribute to the field of occupational medicine in a variety of ways.

During their time in the program, our residents achieve numerous accomplishments. We have had 5 residents in the past six years win the Resident Research Award at the American Occupational Health Conference (AOHC). Other recent research awards are the Best Innovations in Medical Education Abstract at Penn Medicine’s Graduate Medical Education (GME) Health Equity Week and two pilot grants from the Prevention Research Center. Additionally, during their time in our program, our residents complete multiple projects that study and respond to vital issues in the national and international occupational medicine community.

After graduating from our program, former residents go on to advance the field of occupational medicine. As faculty members, our graduates have academic appointments at Meharry Medical College, Drexel College of Medicine, the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, and Forest General Hospital. As leaders at health systems, hospitals and other companies, our alumni serve in various roles, such as the Medical Director of Employee Health Services at Lehigh Valley Network, the Department Chair of Occupational Medicine at the McFarland Clinic, the System Medical Director at Geisenger Health, an elected board member for the Allentown Health Bureau Board of Health and the Director of Health Services and Chief Health Officer for Dow Chemical Company. As researchers, our residents have published their groundbreaking work in the field of OEM, focusing on topics like hazardous drug surveillance, diabetes incentive programs, and improving care for workers’ compensation cases so that it is more patient-centered. Additionally, we have graduates who hold national leadership positions for committees through the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM). International work includes advancing the practice of occupational medicine abroad through work with the EBOLA preparedness steering committee and the creation of an "Ebola" kit for employees working in Niger, Africa.

Congratulations to our Award Winners!

  • Recent AOHC Resident Research Awards:
    • Dr. Hannah McLane (2016-2018) was awarded in 2018 for “Outcome Expectancy for Prolonged Exposure Therapy Predicts Symptom Improvement in Veterans with PTSD” with co-authors Dr. J. Ben Barnes, Dr. Frances S. Shofer, and Dr. Jason T. Goodson
    • Medhat Kalliny (2014-2016) was awarded in 2016 for “Obstructive Sleep Apnea-Hypopnea Syndrome Among Professional Drivers” with co-authors Dr. Judith McKenzie and Dr. Frances S. Shofer.
    • Dr. David Vearrier (2013-2015) was awarded in both 2014 and in 2015 for his projects “Characterization of the Healthy Worker Effect Among Residents of the United States” with co-author Dr. Michael Greenberg and “Proposed Methodology for the Modification of Inhalational Exposure Limits at High Altitude” with co-authors Dr. Rita McKeever and Dr. Michael Greenberg.
    • Roxana Diba (2011-2013) was awarded in 2013 for “Effects of how a 30-day limited duty policy change affects the amount of time it took to complete a Return to Work Program for a Fire and Emergency Medical Service (FEMS) members.” with co-authors Dr. Judith McKenzie and Dr. Frances Shofer.
  • Best Innovations in Medical Education Abstract at UPENN’s Annual Health Equity Week: Dr. Hannah McLane (2016-2018) was awarded at Penn Medicine’s Graduate Medical Education (GME) Health Equity Week for her poster entitled, “Goodness Versus Fairness in Public Health Decision Making: Designing an Animated Bioethics Learning Module. The Equity Poster Session represented Health Equity Research, Quality Improvement, and Medical Innovation Projects”.
  • Grant from the Prevention Research Center: Dr. Krystal Franklin (2016-2018) was awarded for her project entitled “Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) for Life – University of Pennsylvania”. Her research mentors were Dr. Shofer and Dr. McKenzie. The objective of this award is to engage residents in the Occupational and Environmental Medicine program to undertake prevention research and to provide additional mentorship, colleagues and presentation experience through the UPENN PRC and PISC.
  • Grant from the Prevention Research Center: Dr. Chinyere Omeogu (2015-2017) was awarded for her project entitled “Efficacy of Self-Guided Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Intervention for Workers with Insomnia”. Her research mentors were Dr. Geharman (psychiatry), Dr. McKenzie and Dr. Shofer. The objective of this award is to engage residents in the Occupational and Environmental Medicine program to undertake prevention research and to provide additional mentorship, colleagues and presentation experience through the UPENN PRC and PISC.
  • Dr. Newcomb’s (2014-2016) second year project culminated into a JOEM publication entitled Hazardous Drug Surveillance, A Qualitative Assessment of Practices. His mentors for his second year project were Drs. McKenzie and Frasso. His publication was published ahead of print given its importance to the ACOEM membership. Dr. Newcomb was also selected to present this research at the AOHC in 2017 and is the senior author on a subsequent manuscript called “Surveillance for Hazardous Drugs: A Qualitative Assessment of Current Practices”.
  • Dr. Michele Kowalski’s (2013-2015) presentation of her mentored research on opioids culminated in a publication by Kowalski-McGraw and colleagues titled "Characterizing the Interrelationships of Prescription Opioid and Benzodiazepine Drugs with Worker Health and Workplace Hazards", in the JOEM 2017. Her mentors were Drs. McKenzie, Dr. Pandalai (Medical Officer at The Centers, for Disease Control and Prevention/NIOSH/Education and Information Division/Risk Evaluation Branch) and Dr. Schulte (Director, Education and Information, Division, NIOSH in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Selected Research Highlights from Residents & Recent Graduates

Dela Cruz M, Glick J, Merker SH, Vearrier D. Survival after severe methemoglobinemia secondary to sodium nitrate ingestion. Toxicology Communications. 2018 Published early online.

Surmaitis RM, Khalid MM, Vearrier D, Greenberg MI. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy associated with buprenorphine precipitated withdrawal. Clin Tox 2018 Sep;56(9):863-864. PMID:29433361 Kao L, Pizon A, ACMT Fellowship Directors Committee. Medical toxicology fellowship training is available to applicants from many specialties. J Med Toxicol 2018 May [Epub ahead of print]. (Vearrier D; Member of ACMT Fellowship Directors Committee) PMID:29785474

Adaji A, Newcomb RD, Wang Z, Williams M. Impact of Collaborative Care on Absenteeism for Depressed Employees Seen in Primary Care Practices: A Retrospective Cohort Study. JOEM. 2018 Jan; 60 (1):83-89

Menger R, Wolf M, Thakur J, Nanda A. Astronaut Michael Collins; Apollo 8 and the anterior cervical fusion that changed the history of the human spaceflight. Journal of Neurosurgery. 2018; 128(4).

Goldberger D, Vearrier, D. Evaluation of a Food and Drug Administration Mandate to Limit Acetaminophen in Prescription Combination Products. J Med Toxicol 2017 Dec;13(4):303-308. PMID:28710607

Newcomb RD, Frasso R, Cruz P, Breeher LE, Molella RG, Green-McKenzie J. Medical Surveillance for Hazardous Drugs: A Qualitative Assessment of Current Practices. JOEM. 2017 Dec 1 Epub 2017 Dec 01

Kowalski-McGraw M., Green-McKenzie J, Pandalai S, Schulte P: Characterizing the Interrelationships of Prescription Opioid and Benzodiazepine Drugs with Worker Health and Workplace Hazards. JOEM, 59(11), 1114-1126. November 2017

Farrugia LA, Rhyee SH, Calello DP, Campleman SL, Riederer AM, Malashock HR, Pizon A, Wiegand T, Wax PM, Toxicology Investigators Consortium Study Group. The Toxicology Investigators Consortium Case Registry-the 2016 Experience. J Med Toxicol 2017 Sep;13(3)203-226. (Vearrier D; Member of Toxicology Investigators Consortium Study Group) PMID:28766237

Vearrier D, Greenberg MI. The implementation of medical monitoring programs following potentially hazardous exposures: a medico-legal perspective. Clin Tox 2017 Sep;55(9):956-969. PMID:28644057

Farah WH, Breeher LE, Newcomb RD, et al. Late boosting phenomenon in TST conversion among health care workers. Occup Med (Lond). 2017 Aug 01; 67 (6):484-489

Torigian D, Green-McKenzie J, Liu X, Shofer FS, Werner T, Smith CE, Strasser AA, Moghbel MC, Parekh AH, Choi G, Goncalves MD, Spaccarelli N, Gholami S, Kumar PS, Tong Y, Udupi JK, Mesaros C, Alavi A: A Study of the feasibility of FDG-PET/CT to systematically detect and quantify differential metabolic effects of chronic tobacco use in organs of the whole body - a prospective pilot study. Academic Radiology 24(8): 930-940, August 2017

Saito K, Saberi P, Shofer F, Green-McKenzie J: Health Care Personnel Perception of the Privacy of Electronic Health Records: A Pilot Study JOEM 59(6), June 2017

Kalliny M, Green-McKenzie J: Occupational Health and Sleep Disorders in Underserved Populations. International Occupational Health. In Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice on Primary Care of the Medically Underserved America. Morelli V, Zoorob R, Heidelbaugh H. (eds.). Elsevier Press, 44(1): e73-e97, March 2017.

Beizhan Yana, Martin Stutea, b, Reynold A. Panettieri Jr.c, James Rossa, Brian Maillouxb, Matthew J. Neidelld, Lissa Soaresb, Marilyn Howarthe, Xinhua Liuf, Pouné Saberi, Steven N. Chillruda, Association of groundwater constituents with topography and distance to unconventional gas wells in NE Pennsylvania. Science of The Total Environment. Volume 577, 15 January 2017, Pages 195-201.

Newcomb RD, Steffen MW, Breeher LE, Sturchio GM, et al. Screening for depression in the occupational health setting. Occup Med (Lond). 2016 Jul; 66 (5):390-3 Epub 2016 May 06

Torigian D, Green-McKenzie J, Liu X, Shofer FS, Werner T, Smith CE, Strasser AA, Moghbel MC, Parekh AH, Choi G, Goncalves MD, Spaccarelli N, Gholami S, Kumar PS, Tong Y, Udupi JK, Mesaros C, Alavi A: A Study of the feasibility of FDG-PET/CT to systematically detect and quantify differential metabolic effects of chronic tobacco use in organs of the whole body - a prospective pilot study. Academic Radiology. Epub 2016 Oct 18. [NIOSH acknowledged]

Abu Dabrh AM, Murad MH, Newcomb RD, Buchta WG, et al. Proficiency in identifying, managing and communicating medical errors: feasibility and validity study assessing two core competencies. BMC Med Educ. 2016 Sep 02; 16: (1)233.

Green-McKenzie J, McCarthy RB, Shofer FS. Characterization of occupational blood and body fluid exposures beyond the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act. J Infect Prev. 2016 Sep;17(5):226-232.

Steffen MW; Murad MH; Hays JT; Newcomb RD; Molella RG; Cha SS; Hagen PT. Self-Report of Tobacco use Status: Comparison of Paper-based Questionnaire, Online Questionnaire, and Direct Face-to-Face Interview – Implications for Meaningful Use, Population Health Management; 17(3):185-9, June 2014.

Newcomb, RD. Does Screening for Depression in a Medical Center Occupational Clinic Improve Outcomes? 2014.

Powers, M. Saberi, P. Pepino, R. Strupp, E. Bugos, E., Cannuscio, CC: Popular Epidemiology and "Fracking": Citizens' Concerns Regarding the Economic, Environmental, Health and Social Impacts of Unconventional Natural Gas Drilling Operations. J Comm Health, Nov 2014.

Steffen, M; Hagen, P; Benkhadra, K; Molella, R; Newcomb, RD; Murad, M. A survey of physicians’ perceptions of their health care needs”; Occupl Med; 65(1):49-53 October 2014.

Saberi P, Propert KJ, Powers M, Emmett E, McKenzie J: Field Survey of Health Perception and Complaints of Pennsylvania Residents in the Marcellus Shale Region. Int J Env Research Pub Hlth 11(6), June 2014.

Vanichkachorn, G. Roy, B. Lopez, R. Sturdevant, R. The Evaluation and Management of the Acutely Injured Worker. Am Fam Physician. 2014 Jan 1;89(1):17-24

Lukcso D, Guidotti T, Franklin D, Burt A. Characteristics and Building-Related Symptoms in a Federal Government Complex. Archives of Environmental and Occupational Health (In revision) Saberi P. Navigating medical issues in shale territory. New solutions: a journal of environmental and occupational health policy. 23(1): 209-21, 2013

Roy, B. Vanichkachorn, G. Low Back Pain. ACSM Health and Fitness Journal. 2013 March/April; 17(2):5.

Sturchio GM; Newcomb RD; Molella R; Varkey P; Hagen PT; Schueler BA. Protective Eyewear Selection for Interventional Fluoroscopy", Operational Radiation Safety; vol.104, Supplement 1 February 2013.

Directors with class 2013-2016
Left-Right: Kenji Saito MD JD, Uma Savanoor MD MPH, Judith McKenize MD MPH, Maria Doria MD MS, Michele Kowalski-McGraw MD MPH, Xianling Liu MD PhD MSPH, Greg Vanichkachorn MD MPH, Lacreasia Wheat-Hitchings MD MPH Back: David Vearrier MD MPH, Edward Emmett MD MS, Richard Newcomb MD MPH

Resident Research Projects 2016-2018

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