The 2019 NORA Symposium was held May 2, 2019 in Mayo Memorial Auditorium at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. The theme for the forum was “Stressed Out From Work: An Occupational Hazard”, and addressed the challenges of stress and mental health problems that result from work. Eighty four people attended and represented numerous organizations including health care, academia, government, non-profits and business/industry. The forum also included a research poster session and project exhibits showcasing training and educational resources.
Three panelists, representing agricultural producers, firefighters and veterinarians shared their own unique perspectives of the impact of stress in the workplace and the resulting adverse effects.
Stacey Holzbauer, Doris Mold and Joe Meuwissen each presented an overview of the issue and mental health implications in each of their occupations and answered questions as part of a panel discussion. The question and answer session was facilitated by Dr. Josie Rudolphi of the National Farm Medicine Center and Dr. Pat McGovern from the School of Public Health, University of Minnesota.
The speakers were able to bring to the forefront particular areas of concern. Stacy Holzbauer discussed the rising rate of suicides among veterinarians – both large and small animal and male and female veterinarians. Many factors account for this rise including long hours, student debt, owner expectations and access to pharmacologics. Doris Mold, who wears many hats, one of which is a farmer, brought to light the tough times in farming, particularly the poor economics which has been on the rise for a number of years and the toll it has taken and continues to take. Joe Meuwissen, who is a retired firefighter and licensed school social worker discussed the characteristics of firefighters and culture of the occupation. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is common for those in this field many of which are volunteer firefighters. More support, information and training is needed to assist this group of emergency personnel.
Posters Presented by UMASH Researchers and Pilot Project Recipients
McGovern PM, Saunders JB, Mcalpine, D. Stress and Resilience: The Impact of the 2015 Outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza on Minnesota Poultry Growers, Farm Workers and Industry Stakeholders
Schossow M, Macy K, Moynihan M, Friedman J, Valeri L, Vazquez C, Kampa D, Harwood E, Bender J, Alexander B. Building Resilient Agricultural Communities
Alexander BH, Bender J, Keifer MC. Building Partnerships in Agricultural Health and Safety, Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH)
Heiberger S, Ploeckelman M, Yoder A, Duysen E, Leonard S. Telling the Story – Development of a Collaborative Outreach Project
Schossow M, Ploekelman M, Koerte T, Kampa D. Social Safety: Spring Agritourism Campaign
Balius P, Bernstein L, Bender JB, Alexander BH. Needlestick Injuries in Swine Production Workers
Mold D, Roberts ML. Cultivating Resiliency for Women in Agriculture: An Interactive Webinar Series and Online Questionnaire
Sheridan C, Kampa, D. Stress and Mental Health Conversations with Gear Up for Ag Health and Safety™
Stacy Holzbauer, DVM Commander U.S. Public Health Service
CDC Career Epidemiology Field Officer MN Dept of Health
Dr. Stacy Holzbauer born and raised on a cattle and kid farm in South Dakota and is a graduate from South Dakota State University and Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. After a short stint as a large animal veterinarian, she earned an MPH from the University of Iowa College of Public Health and accepted a 2-year fellowship at the CDC working on creating an appropriate antibiotic use program for veterinarians. From 2006 through 2008, Dr. Holzbauer served as a CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer at the Minnesota Department of Health.
Dr. Holzbauer is currently a Commander in the U.S. Public Health Services and serves as a CDC Career Epidemiology Field Officer assigned to the Minnesota Department of Health. She coordinates unexplained death and critical illness investigations, is the PI for the Minnesota arm of the CDC’s Emerging Infections Program Clostridium difficile surveillance and serves as the deputy state public health veterinarian. She is also the co-chair of the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association’s Wellness and Gender in Veterinary Environments (WeGIVE) committee.
Dr. Holzbauer and her husband are the proud parents of identical twin girls. She enjoys hiking, traveling and trying to make science as cool as princesses are in the minds of her 7 year olds.
Joe Meuwissen Deputy Chief, retired Bloomington Fire Dept
Nationally Certified School Psychiatrist LICSW (Minnesota)
Joe received a BS in Biology, BA in Psychology, and Master’s degree in School Psychology from Moorhead State University, with additional post-graduate work at Virginia Tech. He is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist and a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (MN Lic. 8054).
Joe is retired from a 39-year career as a school psychologist. He has practiced in West Virginia and Minnesota, serving as a therapist, educational specialist and Executive Director at Family Focus Day Treatment program. While in WV, he was President of the School Psychologists Association. He also served on the Executive Board of the Minnesota School Psychologists Association and was a union leader with the Bloomington Federation of Teachers.
Joe also served 20 years with the Bloomington Fire Department, retiring in 2007 as Deputy Chief of Training. He has been active with the Metro Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Team since 2003 and has served on the Executive Board for many years as Treasurer. He is also a peer supporter with the MN Firefighter Initiative.
Doris Mold Past President American Agri-Women (AAW)
President Sunrise Agricultural Associates, LLC
Doris Mold is the President of Sunrise Agricultural Associates, LLC, an agricultural consulting firm. She is an Agricultural Consultant, Agricultural Economist, Educator, Advocate, and Catalyst, as well as a farm co-owner/operator. Wearing multiple hats like many women in agriculture has informed her of the challenges and stressors that face many in agriculture. Mold’s consulting practice has included a broad range of work, including but not limited to management, business and economic analysis, farm stress, feasibility and transition plan development, coaching, evaluation, marketing, advocacy, leadership, education and organizational development.
Mold is Past President of American Agri-Women (AAW), the nation’s largest coalition of women in agriculture. She is working on an AAW leadership team on a national farm/rural stress project. AAW has been part of the Cultivating Resiliency project. Mold and her AAW colleagues share a strong concern for the current state of stress in the agricultural sector.
Pat McGovern, PhD Professor Division of Environmental Health Sciences
University of Minnesota School of Public Health
Deputy Director Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety (MCOHS)
Pat McGovern is a faculty member in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on the assessment of population health outcomes in relation to occupational and environmental exposures and the role of policy in protecting or promoting health.
Most relevant to the NORA symposium, “Stressed out from Work: An Occupational Hazard,” are two areas of research. First, is her work conducting a UMASH pilot project, “Stress and Resilience: The Impact of the 2015 Outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza on Minnesota Poultry Growers, Farm Workers and Industry Stakeholders”. Study findings revealed common stressors experienced by growers and workers included uncertainty and a lack of control in how to respond to the outbreak, which triggered emotions of fear and anxiety. Growers with infected flocks reported multiple losses such as their flocks, business revenue and employees, which led to emotions of loss and grief and symptoms of physical and emotional distress. Participants identified helpful coping strategies and offered ideas for managing such intense stress in future disasters. Second, is her research investigating stress and depression in association with childbirth and return to work among employed women in Minnesota and nationwide. Findings across various studies revealed the important role of Family and Medical Leave policy in protecting women’s mental health and promoting well-being.
Dr. McGovern directs two academic training programs for the Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety: Occupational Health Services Research and Policy (OHSRP) and Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing (OEHN) and serves as the Center’s deputy director.
Her educational training includes a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, a Masters of Public Health in Public Health Nursing (Occupational Health Nursing focus) and a doctorate in Health Services Research and Policy from the University of Minnesota.
Josie Rudolphi, PhD Associate Research Scientist National Farm Medicine Center
Marshfield Clinic Research Institute
Dr. Josie Rudolphi is an Associate Research Scientist at the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute’s National Farm Medicine Center. Since joining the National Farm Medicine Center in 2017, Rudolphi has worked to develop a research program focused on farmer and rancher mental health and resiliency among agricultural communities. She has secured two pilot grants in the past year to examine the prevalence of depression and anxiety among sub-populations of agricultural workers.
In addition to research, Rudolphi has worked to raise awareness of the mental health crisis plaguing the dairy industry in Wisconsin and consulted with Senator Tammy Baldwin’s (D-WI) staff in reference to the FARMERS FIRST ACT (S.2712) and provided public comment on behalf of the National Farm Medicine Center.
Rudolphi graduated from the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health with a PhD in Occupational and Environmental Health – Agricultural Safety and Health. Rudolphi is also very interested in exploring the effect of stress and associated health outcomes on farm families.
L to R: Bruce Alexander, UMASH Director; Stacy Holzbauer, DVM; Doris Mold; Joe Meuwissen; Josie Rudolphi, PhD; Pat McGovern, PhD; Marizen Ramirez, PhD, MCOHS Director