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Comprehensive Health Services Nurse Receives AAOHN Foundation Grant; Funds Will Support Intervention Trial for Depression in Workers Facing Job Loss, Change.

VIENNA, Va. -- A researcher employed by Comprehensive Health Services (CHS), a national occupational health services company based in Vienna, Va., has been awarded a 2004 American Association of Occupational Health Nurses Inc. (AAOHN) New Investigators Award to support a trial intervention for workers who suffer depression in the face of real or possible job loss.

Morris J. Scheffler, B.S.N., R.N., a CHS Health Center manager and the co-investigator of the project, and RoxAnn B. Dicker, R.N., M.N., A.R.N.P, the principal investigator, will test a combination of low-cost, self-managed therapies that have proven efficacy in the treatment of depression.

Restructuring and downsizing have affected most industries and businesses in recent years. On average, each month during the past four years, 1,511 mass layoffs have occurred, affecting an average 304,054 workers per month. (1)

"The impact on employee health is significant for those facing the ongoing possibility of job loss, as well as for layoff 'survivors' and those laid off," says Scheffler.

According to the team's research proposal, depression associated with job loss can hamper individual coping with change and survival, decrease worker productivity and increase employer costs.

Scheffler and Dicker hypothesize that the intervention will forestall moderate cases of depression from progressing to severe cases, and will increase self-appraisal and cognitive function. If successful, this program could cost-effectively extend resources and effectiveness beyond standard treatment.

Selecting affordable treatments means that employees could continue in the event of job loss. Therapies include increased exposure to bright light, specified exercise, and an identified vitamin and omega-3 supplement in a sample of workers who have mild to moderate depression and who face the ongoing possibility of layoff. Outcome of the 10-week intervention trial will be measured on indicators of depression, an aspect of cognitive functioning, subjective sense of well-being, self-esteem and sleep quality.

The trial will be partially funded by the AAOHN New Investigator Award and also supported by the Texas Woman's University College of Nursing, Doctoral Program.

"We're proud of Morrie Scheffler's success in obtaining a grant to help fund this important and groundbreaking research," said William A. Wanago, M.D., corporate medical director for CHS. "As an organization, we truly believe in integrating wellness and healthcare services across client companies, and this project should result in giving employers and employees additional tools to manage their well-being in trying times."

CHS, a 25-year-old leader in occupational health services, offers blue chip companies, government agencies and government contractors programs to manage the full life cycle of employee health, including wellness and fitness, workplace safety and employee assistance programs. The company's nationwide physicians network makes integrated health services available to organizations of any size and any geographic dispersion.

The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses Inc. (AAOHN) created the AAOHN Foundation, a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization, in 1998 to enable occupational and environmental health professionals to improve worker health and safety by preventing workplace illnesses and injuries. AAOHN annually awards four New Investigators Award grants (totaling $11,000) to encourage research in the field of occupational and environmental health by new principle investigators.

About CHS

Founded in 1975, CHS is a leader in the design, implementation, and management of occupational health services. With in-house medical professionals, a national network of CHS-certified physicians, and best practices built on decades of experience serving blue chip clients in the public and private sectors, CHS uses its unique resources to integrate services across the entire occupational health lifecycle. A founding member of the Occupational and Environmental Health Foundation, CHS also is a corporate sponsor of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) Corporate Health Achievement Award. The CHS Web site is at http://www.chsmedical.com.

(1) U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Extended Mass Layoffs (Quarterly)," May 18, 2004. http://www.bls.gov/mls/
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 22, 2004
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