New Mustard Fellow plans to study prevention efforts, media campaigns

Liz Mansfield has conducted research in the areas of health and safety in small workplaces, injured workers, media prevention campaigns and young worker safety. She now hopes to expand her experiences in occupational health and safety (OHS) research here at the Institute.

Mansfield has been awarded the Mustard Fellowship in Work and Health. Her two-year term begins in September of 2008. Mansfield is a qualitative researcher, who uses techniques such as in-depth interviews and observation to understand workplace health issues.

The Institute provides a wonderful opportunity to engage in qualitative studies in OHS, to participate in multidisciplinary projects and to build upon my research interest in media campaigns. I look forward to contributing to, and learning from, the talented and innovative IWH research community, says Mansfield.

Mansfield is completing her PhD thesis in the social and behavioural sciences program in the department of public health sciences at the University of Toronto. Her thesis is a case study of a cam paign that focuses on true accounts of serious workplace injuries and deaths. This collaborative campaign involves multiple stakeholders. I’m exploring how stakeholder dynamics may shape public awareness campaigns and influence prevention efforts.

Before she embarked on her PhD studies, Mansfield coordinated a research project that evaluated an injury prevention program for young students. This multi-year project involved more than 50,000 students and spanned across 22 school boards. This project was a real eye-opener for me because of the complexity of implementing a research design in so many diverse communities, and the importance of building relations with safety organizations at the local level, she says.

More recently, Mansfield was a research associate on a study of front-line work with small businesses at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. The study involved Institute Adjunct Senior Scientist Dr. Joan Eakin and Scientist Dr. Ellen MacEachen.

When she begins her appointment at the Institute, Mansfield hopes to work on research projects such as how organizations – like health and safety associations – view prevention efforts and how they get their messages out to their clients. Additionally, she’d like to work on research related to occupational health social marketing campaigns and aspects of preventing workplace injuries and illness, particularly in small businesses.

Source: At Work, Issue 53, Summer 2008: Institute for Work & Health, Toronto