A model for worksite cancer prevention: integration of health protection and health promotion in the WellWorks Project

Glorian Sorensen, Harvard School of Public Health
Jay S. Himmelstein, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Mary K. Hunt, Intervention Research
Richard Youngstrom
James R. Hebert, University of Massachusetts Medical School Worcester
S. Katharine Hammond, University of Massachusetts Medical School Worcester
Ruth Palombo, Department of Public Health
Anne M. Stoddard, New England Research Institutes
Judith K. Ockene, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Document Type Article

Abstract

OBJECTIVES. To describe a theoretic approach and rationale for the integration of health protection and health promotion in worksite cancer prevention programs and to describe an intervention study designed to implement this integration.

METHODS. Twenty-four worksites were recruited to participate in this randomized, controlled study. The theoretically based intervention model integrates health promotion and health protection through (1) joint worker-management participation in program planning and implementation, (2) consultation on worksite changes, and (3) educational programs targeting health behavior change.

RESULTS. Although the primary purpose of this paper is to describe a theoretic approach to the integration of health promotion and health protection, preliminary results are also noted. In these predominantly manufacturing worksites, many workers faced the double jeopardy of exposures to occupational carcinogens and personal risks such as smoking or poor dietary habits. Production workers' job responsibilities frequently limited their full participation. Barriers to participation were identified early in the project, and strategies were developed to facilitate maximal worker involvement and worksite changes.

CONCLUSIONS. Lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation or dietary changes may be more effectively promoted among blue collar audiences when programs also encourage management actions to reduce occupational exposures. Public health professionals trained in health promotion and health protection must work together to effectively address the health concerns of this population.