Artists and office workers would seem to have little in common as far as labour experiences go. But as Dr. Dwayne Van Eerd has learned, the health issues attached to these experiences can be the same.
The potential for musculoskeletal injury is present in both groups of workers, he says.
Writers, for example, spend a great deal of time at computers. Painters and musicians rely on repetitive arm movements. There are more similarities there than you might think.
Upon getting his MSc in kinesiology, Van Eerd got his start in occupational health and safety research in a clinical setting, studying musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) of the upper body in musicians, painters, writers and other artists. Now a scientist with the Institute for Work & Health, he focuses primarily on the prevention of MSDs in office workers.
MSDs affect a large segment of the working population, he explains.
The information load is increasing everywhere, and there are more and more people working at computers all the time. It’s important that we understand and share information about MSDs.
Van Eerd is an active participant in the Institute’s systematic review program, which enables him to analyze and share existing evidence on MSDs.
The systematic reviews are a great tool for communicating with our stakeholders, he says. He also works closely with the Institute's knowledge transfer and exchange team, and is currently conducting an evaluation of knowledge transfer and exchange strategies.
Van Eerd recently received his PhD in work and health at the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo.
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Van Eerd D, Munhall C, Irvin E, Rempel D, Brewer S, van der Beek AJ, Dennerlein JT, Tullar J, Skivington K, Pinion C, Amick B. Effectiveness of workplace interventions in the prevention of upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders and symptoms: an update of the evidence. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2016; 73(1):62-70; doi: 10.1136/oemed-2015-102992
Van Eerd D, King T, Keown K, Slack T, Cole DC, Irvin E, Amick III BC, Bigelow P. Dissemination and use of a Participatory Ergonomics Guide for workplaces. Ergonomics, 2015; 13:1-8; doi: 10.1080/00140139.2015.1088073
Van Eerd D, Newman K, DeForge R, Urquhart R, Cornelissen E, Dainty KN. Knowledge brokering for healthy aging: a scoping review of potential approaches. Implementation Science, 2016; 11(1):140
Mahood Q, Van Eerd D, Irvin E. Searching for grey literature for systematic reviews: Challenges and benefits. Research Synthesis Methods, 2014; 5:221-234; doi: 0.1002/jrsm.1106
Van Eerd D, Hogg-Johnson S, Cole DC, Wells RP, Mazumder A. Comparison of occupational exposure methods relevant to musculoskeletal disorders: Worker-workstation interaction in an office environment. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, 2012; 22(2):176-185; doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2011.12.001