by Peter Schnall, MD, MPH*

An epidemiologist walks into an airplane

Prior to COVID-19, I was a frequent flyer: traveling internationally almost monthly for both work and personal reasons, and logging more than one million miles in the past decade. As a physician/epidemiologist, I have had a research and public health focus on working conditions and their impact on physical and mental health for the past 30 years. During plane trips, when passengers beside me asked me what I did for a living, I would talk with them about the impact of work on health, question them about their jobs, and of course, answer many questions…


by Marnie Dobson Zimmerman, Ph.D., & Pouran Faghri, M.D.

During the past few weeks in the U.S., the debate over school reopenings in the Fall, in light of COVID-19 surges, has been fever pitched. The negative mental health and academic impacts of social distancing and online learning on children are given as reasons to reopen schools despite being in the midst of an out-of-control pandemic. But while these are real, legitimate concerns, do they outweigh the risks to the health and safety of children, families, and teachers returning to classrooms amid a surge?

Photo by CDC from Unsplash

There is growing evidence that the mental…


By Marnie Dobson Zimmerman, Ph.D.*

Meet Sarah

I’m on social media more than usual these days since the pandemic outbreak and stay-at-home order went into place. Questions that have been floating around among freelancers, not just in the spiritual communities, but also in the artistic, wellness, and literary worlds, are things like “What are you getting out of this time in quarantine?” “What changes are you making in your life?” “How are you making the best of this COVID time?” “What’s on the other side of COVID-19 for you?”

Photo by Dimitri Karastelev on Unsplash

Sarah** has been a self-employed/independent contractor/small business owner for many years now and…


by Marnie Dobson Zimmerman, Ph.D. & Pouran Faghri M.D.*

The dog barks. My husband yells at her to be quiet as he continues his Zoom call on mute. The kids can be heard arguing from the other side of our small house, playing video games on their iPads after completing their distance learning work in two hours between 7:30–9:30am. I pause my Zoom-recorded lecture and grind my teeth together. How will I possibly make it through the next several months, working like this? …


By Peter Schnall, MD, MPH**

I first became aware of the issue of burnout as an epidemic among physicians a few years ago when I went to see my internist for my annual medical checkup. Knowing that I was a physician who worked as an occupational health researcher investigating work stress and health, my internist asked me about the latest news about burnout. We had a discussion about burnout before he inquired about my health or examining me. …


By Marnie Dobson Zimmerman, PhD & Peter Schnall, MD MPH*

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Burnout is the feeling that everything is wrong with your job and that no matter how much sleep you get, you just can’t get over this feeling of complete exhaustion when you leave work and when you think about going to work. The job you might once have loved is now leaving you feeling overwhelmed and cynical. The patients, students, clients or customers you once enjoyed serving, now might make you feel irritated and hopeless. You may even feel like your job doesn’t have any meaning anymore or that you…


by Marnie Dobson Zimmerman, PhD

United States of Stress

Everyday we hear more and more stories in the media about the stressed-out U.S. workforce. One in 3 U.S. workers report typically feeling stressed during a work day, while 3 out of 5 workers cite work stress as the most significant source of stress next to money. We work more hours per year than people in most other high-income countries, because the U.S. is one of the only countries that does not guarantee paid time off, and many Americans have less, or are taking less vacation time, than any other high-income…


Working on Empty” (WOE) is a multimedia project on how the U.S. workplace is making Americans sick and what must change to protect the health of our workforce.

Work is fundamental to our well-being. Most of us depend on work for our economic survival and that of our family. Work can contribute to our sense of purpose, belonging, self-esteem and good health. Having a sense of belonging and purpose is related to better physical and mental health and can promote longevity. And, we know that those without work are more likely to experience depression and other illnesses. [1]

At its most promising, work is a place we can develop and apply our skills, engage in a collective enterprise to produce something of value or provide valuable services to…


“Working on Empty” (WOE) is a multimedia project on how the U.S. workplace is making Americans sick and what must change to protect the health of our workforce.

___________________________________________________________________

While Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein dominated the headlines recently with sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations by more than a dozen women including high-profile actresses, he has been joined by a steady stream of powerful men exposed by more than one person. The growing list includes the late Fox producer Roger Ailes, the conservative media tyrant Bill O’Reilly, and recently, Senatorial candidate Roy Moore, actor Kevin Spacey, comedian Louis C.K., Senator Al Franken, CBS anchor Charlie Rose, and NBC’s Today show anchor Matt Lauer. It appears that this kind of predatory abuse of power crosses the political spectrum and…


“Working on Empty” (WOE) is a multimedia project on how the U.S. workplace is making Americans sick and what must change to protect the health of our workforce.

___________________________________________________________________

There are many sources of stress at work, and many types of illnesses and injuries that job stressors can cause. For example:

• A 49 year old African-American bus driver, who commutes 1 hour for a 12-hour split shift (working from 6–10 am and then again from 2–6 pm), driving through the congested streets of a large city, is trying to keep his hypertension under control. He does not smoke cigarettes and does not drink alcohol.

• A 56 year old Hispanic hotel housekeeper, who works without rest breaks to complete the many rooms she has to clean daily…

Healthy Work Now

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