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1.  Job strain, health behaviours and heart disease 
PMCID: PMC3787174  PMID: 24082043
2.  Labor force participation and health-related quality of life in HIV-positive men who have sex with men: The Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study 
AIDS and behavior  2012;16(8):2350-2360.
Too many people with HIV have left the job market permanently and those with reduced work capacity have been unable to keep their jobs. There is a need to examine the health effects of labor force participation in people with HIV. This study presents longitudinal data from 1,415 HIV-positive men who have sex with men taking part in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study. Generalized Estimating Equations show that employment is associated with better physical and mental health quality of life and suggests that there may be an adaptation process to the experience of unemployment. Post-hoc analyses also suggest that people who are more physically vulnerable may undergo steeper health declines due to job loss than those who are generally healthier. However, this may also be the result of a selection effect whereby poor physical health contributes to unemployment. Policies that promote labor force participation may not only increase employment rates but also improve the health of people living with HIV.
PMCID: PMC3575137  PMID: 22814570
3.  Mortality following unemployment in Canada, 1991–2001 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:441.
This study describes the association between unemployment and cause-specific mortality for a cohort of working-age Canadians.
We conducted a cohort study over an 11-year period among a broadly representative 15% sample of the non-institutionalized population of Canada aged 30–69 at cohort inception in 1991 (888,000 men and 711,600 women who were occupationally active). We used cox proportional hazard models, for six cause of death categories, two consecutive multi-year periods and four age groups, to estimate mortality hazard ratios comparing unemployed to employed men and women.
For persons unemployed at cohort inception, the age-adjusted hazard ratio for all-cause mortality was 1.37 for men (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.32-1.41) and 1.27 for women (95% CI: 1.20-1.35). The age-adjusted hazard ratio for unemployed men and women was elevated for all six causes of death: malignant neoplasms, circulatory diseases, respiratory diseases, alcohol-related diseases, accidents and violence, and all other causes. For unemployed men and women, hazard ratios for all-cause mortality were equivalently elevated in 1991–1996 and 1997–2001. For both men and women, the mortality hazard ratio associated with unemployment attenuated with age.
Consistent with results reported from other long-duration cohort studies, unemployed men and women in this cohort had an elevated risk of mortality for accidents and violence, as well as for chronic diseases. The persistence of elevated mortality risks over two consecutive multi-year periods suggests that exposure to unemployment in 1991 may have marked persons at risk of cumulative socioeconomic hardship.
PMCID: PMC3665659  PMID: 23642156
Unemployment; Mortality; Occupational health
4.  Evaluating the implementation of health and safety innovations under a regulatory context: A collective case study of Ontario’s safer needle regulation 
Implementation effectiveness models have identified important factors that can promote the successful implementation of an innovation; however, these models have been examined within contexts where innovations are adopted voluntarily and often ignore the socio-political and environmental context. In the field of occupational health and safety, there are circumstances where organizations must adopt innovations to comply with a regulatory standard. Examining how the external environment can facilitate or challenge an organization’s change process may add to our understanding of implementation effectiveness. The objective of this study is to describe implementation facilitators and barriers in the context of a regulation designed to promote the uptake of safer engineered medical devices in healthcare.
The proposed study will focus on Ontario’s safer needle regulation (2007) which requires healthcare organizations to transition to the use of safer engineered medical devices for the prevention of needlestick injuries. A collective case study design will be used to learn from the experiences of three acute care hospitals in the province of Ontario, Canada. Interviews with management and front-line healthcare workers and analysis of supporting documents will be used to describe the implementation experience and examine issues associated with the integration of these devices. The data collection and analysis process will be influenced by a conceptual framework that draws from implementation science and the occupational health and safety literature.
The focus of this study in addition to the methodology creates a unique opportunity to contribute to the field of implementation science. First, the study will explore implementation experiences under circumstances where regulatory pressures are influencing the organization's change process. Second, the timing of this study provides an opportunity to focus on issues that arise during later stages of implementation, a phase during the implementation cycle that has been understudied. This study also provides the opportunity to examine the relevance and utility of current implementation science models in the field of occupational health where the adoption of an innovation is meant to enhance the health and safety of workers. Previous work has tended to focus almost exclusively on innovations that are designed to enhance an organization’s productivity or competitive advantage.
PMCID: PMC3556097  PMID: 23339295
Safer engineered medical devices; Regulation; Implementation; Qualitative; Case study; Hospital
5.  Influence of employment and job security on physical and mental health in adults living with HIV: cross-sectional analysis 
Open Medicine  2012;6(4):e118-e126.
In the general population, job insecurity may be as harmful to health as unemployment. Some evidence suggests that employment is associated with better health outcomes among people with HIV, but it is not known whether job security offers additional quality-of-life benefits beyond the benefits of employment alone.
We used baseline data for 1660 men and 270 women who participated in the Ontario HIV Treatment Network Cohort Study, an ongoing observational cohort study that collects clinical and socio-behavioural data from people with HIV in the province of Ontario, Canada. We performed multivariable regression analyses to determine the contribution of employment and job security to health-related quality of life after controlling for potential confounders.
Employed men with secure jobs reported significantly higher mental health–related quality of life than those who were non-employed (β = 5.27, 95% confidence interval [CI] 4.07 to 6.48), but insecure employment was not associated with higher mental health scores relative to non-employment (β = 0.18, 95% CI –1.53 to 1.90). Thus, job security was associated with a 5.09-point increase on a 100-point mental health quality-of-life score (95% CI 3.32 to 6.86). Among women, being employed was significantly associated with both physical and mental health quality of life, but job security was not associated with additional health benefits.
Participation in employment was associated with better quality of life for both men and women with HIV. Among men, job security was associated with better mental health, which suggests that employment may offer a mental health benefit only if the job is perceived to be secure. Employment policies that promote job security may offer not only income stability but also mental health benefits, although this additional benefit was observed only for men.
PMCID: PMC3654507  PMID: 23687526
6.  Comparison of data sources for the surveillance of work injury 
The objective of this study was to compare the incidence of work-related injury and illness presenting to Ontario emergency departments to the incidence of worker's compensation claims reported to the Ontario Workplace Safety & Insurance Board over the period 2004–2008.
Records of work-related injury were obtained from two administrative data sources in Ontario for the period 2004–2008: workers' compensation lost-time claims (N=435 336) and records of non-scheduled emergency department visits where the main problem was attributed to a work-related exposure (N=707 963). Denominator information required to compute the risk of work injury per 2 000 000 work hours, stratified by age and gender was estimated from labour force surveys conducted by Statistics Canada.
The frequency of emergency department visits for all work-related conditions was approximately 60% greater than the incidence of accepted lost-time compensation claims. When restricted to injuries resulting in fracture or concussion, gender-specific age differences in injury incidence were similar in the two data sources. Between 2004 and 2008, there was a 14.5% reduction in emergency department visits attributed to work-related causes and a 17.8% reduction in lost-time compensation claims. There was evidence that younger workers were more likely than older workers to seek treatment in an emergency department for work-related injury.
In this setting, emergency department records available for the complete population of Ontario residents are a valid source of surveillance information on the incidence of work-related disorders. Occupational health and safety authorities should give priority to incorporating emergency department records in the routine surveillance of the health of workers.
PMCID: PMC3328399  PMID: 22267447
Occupational epidemiology; work injury; surveillance; back disorders; public health; epidemiology; longitudinal studies; intervention studies; cross-sectional studies; health services research; organisation of work; cultural issues; shift work
7.  Antenatal Steroid Therapy for Fetal Lung Maturation and the Subsequent Risk of Childhood Asthma: A Longitudinal Analysis 
Journal of Pregnancy  2010;2010:789748.
This study was designed to test the hypothesis that fetal exposure to corticosteroids in the antenatal period is an independent risk factor for the development of asthma in early childhood with little or no effect in later childhood. A population-based cohort study of all pregnant women who resided in Nova Scotia, Canada, and gave birth to a singleton fetus between 1989 and 1998 was undertaken. After a priori specified exclusions, 80,448 infants were available for analysis. Using linked health care utilization records, incident asthma cases developed after 36 months of age were identified. Extended Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate hazard ratios while controlling for confounders. Exposure to corticosteroids during pregnancy was associated with a risk of asthma in childhood between 3–5 years of age: adjusted hazard ratio of 1.19 (95% confidence interval: 1.03, 1.39), with no association noted after 5 years of age: adjusted hazard ratio for 5–7 years was 1.06 (95% confidence interval: 0.86, 1.30) and for 8 or greater years was 0.74 (95% confidence interval: 0.54, 1.03). Antenatal steroid therapy appears to be an independent risk factor for the development of asthma between 3 and 5 years of age.
PMCID: PMC3065803  PMID: 21490744
8.  How many employees receive safety training during their first year of a new job? 
Injury Prevention  2007;13(1):37-41.
To describe the provision of safety training to Canadian employees, specifically those in their first year of employment with a new employer.
Three repeated national Canadian cross‐sectional surveys.
59 159 respondents from Statistics Canada's Workplace and Employee Surveys (1999, 2001 and 2003), 5671 who were in their first year of employment.
Main outcome
Receiving occupational health and safety training, orientation training or office or non‐office equipment training in either a classroom or on‐the‐job in the previous 12 months.
Only 12% of women and 16% of men reported receiving safety training in the previous 12 months. Employees in their first 12 months of employment were more likely to receive safety training than employees with >5 years of job tenure. However, still only one in five new employees had received any safety training while with their current employer. In a fully adjusted regression model, employees who had access to family and support programs, women in medium‐sized workplaces and in manufacturing, and men in large workplaces and in part‐time employment all had an increased probability of receiving safety training. No increased likelihood of safety training was found in younger workers or those in jobs with higher physical demands, both of which are associated with increased injury risk.
From our results, it would appear that only one in five Canadian employees in their first year of a new job received safety training. Further, the provision of safety training does not appear to be more prevalent among workers or in occupations with increased risk of injuries.
PMCID: PMC2610571  PMID: 17296687
9.  Parallel Lines Do Intersect: Interactions between the Workers' Compensation and Provincial Publicly Financed Healthcare Systems in Canada 
Healthcare Policy  2008;3(4):100-112.
The authors of this paper use a case study approach to document and analyze the interactions that arise between two healthcare payers in Canada: the provincial public healthcare insurance plans and the provincial workers' compensation boards. Through a documentary review and semi-structured key-respondent interviews, the study identified a set of policy events and decisions undertaken by each payer that had consequences for the other. These events, which included changes to governance, funding and service delivery within each system, generated interactions transmitted through the political, institutional and economic environments (primarily through competition for the same resources) and cross-system learning. The two payers currently lack a formalized process by which to consider such spillover effects and to coordinate policy between them. These interactions, and their associated consequences for both payers, raise important policy challenges and, more generally, provide insight into the dynamics of parallel systems of healthcare financing.
PMCID: PMC2645160  PMID: 19377332
10.  Healthcare Use of Families of Injured Workers Before and After a Workplace Injury in British Columbia, Canada 
Healthcare Policy  2007;2(3):e121-e139.
To examine the overall healthcare and mental healthcare services use of families of injured workers before and after a workplace injury.
We use an administrative database that links individual publicly funded healthcare data and Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) data for the entire population of British Columbia (BC), Canada. The spouses and children of all injured workers who filed a WCB claim in 1994 and missed one or more days of work due to the injury (lost time) were included. We compare their change in use of healthcare services relative to a year before the injury to families of workers who did not require time off for their injuries (no lost time) and families of individuals who were not injured (non-injured comparisons).
Differences in healthcare services use among the three groups of spouses were marginal, and differences for increases in mental healthcare services use were non-significant. As well, all three groups of children decreased their use of physician and hospital services and increased their use of mental healthcare services, with very little difference among groups.
This was a descriptive study looking at a broad group of injured workers and their families. Even modest increases in healthcare use following a workplace injury have some basis for further study.
PMCID: PMC2585447  PMID: 19305709
12.  Effectiveness and efficiency of different guidelines on statin treatment for preventing deaths from coronary heart disease: modelling study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2006;332(7555):1419.
Objective To examine the potential effectiveness and efficiency of different guidelines for statin treatment to reduce deaths from coronary heart disease in the Canadian population.
Design Modelled outcomes of screening and treatment recommendations of six national or international guidelines—from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, joint British societies, and European societies.
Setting Canada.
Data sources Details for 6760 men and women aged 20-74 years from the Canadian Heart Health Survey (weighted sample of 12 300 000 people) that included physical measurements including a lipid profile.
Main outcome measures The number of people recommended for treatment with statins, the potential number of deaths from coronary heart disease avoided, and the number needed to treat to avoid one coronary heart disease death with five years of statin treatment if the recommendations from each guideline were fully implemented.
Results When applied to the Canadian population, the Australian and British guidelines were the most effective, potentially avoiding the most deaths over five years (> 15 000 deaths). The New Zealand guideline was the most efficient, potentially avoiding almost as many deaths (14 700) while recommending treatment to the fewest number of people (12.9% of people v 17.3% with the Australian and British guidelines). If their “optional” recommendations are included, the US guidelines recommended treating about twice as many people as the New Zealand guidelines (24.5% of the population, an additional 1.4 million people) with almost no increase in the number of deaths avoided.
Conclusions By focusing recommendations on people with the highest risk of coronary heart disease, the Canadian, US, and European societies guidelines could improve either their effectiveness (in terms of hundreds of avoided deaths) or efficiency (in terms of thousands of fewer people recommended treatment) in the Canadian population.
PMCID: PMC1479685  PMID: 16737980
13.  Revisiting Rose: strategies for reducing coronary heart disease 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2006;332(7542):659-662.
The way we assess risk of coronary heart disease has become more accurate in recent years. How does this affect the efficacy of primary and secondary prevention strategies?
PMCID: PMC1403258  PMID: 16543339
16.  A comparison between the effort-reward imbalance and demand control models 
BMC Public Health  2003;3:10.
To compare the predictive validity of the demand/control and reward/imbalance models, alone and in combination with each other, for self-reported health status and the self-reported presence of any chronic disease condition.
Self-reports for psychosocial work conditions were obtained in a sample of sawmill workers using the demand/control and effort/reward imbalance models. The relative predictive validity of task-level control was compared with effort/reward imbalance. As well, the predictive validity of a model developed by combining task-level control with effort/reward imbalance was determined. Logistic regression was utilized for all models.
The demand/control and effort/reward imbalance models independently predicted poor self-reported health status. The effort-reward imbalance model predicted the presence of a chronic disease while the demand/control model did not. A model combining effort-reward imbalance and task-level control was a better predictor of self-reported health status and any chronic condition than either model alone. Effort reward imbalance modeled with intrinsic effort had marginally better predictive validity than when modeled with extrinsic effort only.
Future work should explore the combined effects of these two models of psychosocial stress at work on health more thoroughly.
PMCID: PMC151684  PMID: 12636876
17.  Income-based drug benefit policy: impact on receipt of inhaled corticosteroid prescriptions by Manitoba children with asthma 
Drug benefit policies are an important determinant of a population's use of prescription drugs. This study was undertaken to determine whether a change in a provincial drug benefit policy, from a fixed deductible and copayment system to an income-based deductible system, resulted in changes in receipt of prescriptions for inhaled corticosteroids by Manitoba children with asthma.
Using Manitoba's health care administrative databases, we identified a population-based cohort of 10 703 school-aged children who met our case definition for asthma treatment before and after the province's drug benefit policy was changed in April 1996. The effects of the program change on the probability of receiving a prescription for an inhaled corticosteroid and on the mean number of inhaled corticosteroid doses dispensed were compared between a group of children insured under other drug programs (the comparison group) and 2 groups of children insured under the deductible program: those living in low-income neighbourhoods and those living in higher-income neighbourhoods. All analyses were adjusted for a measure of asthma severity.
For higher-income children with severe asthma who were covered by the deductible program, the probability of receiving an inhaled corticosteroid prescription and the mean annual number of inhaled corticosteroid doses declined after the change to the drug policy. A trend toward a decrease in receipt of prescriptions was also observed for low-income children, but receipt of prescriptions was unaltered in the comparison group. Before the policy change, among children with severe asthma, the mean annual number of inhaled corticosteroid doses was lowest for low-income children, and this pattern persisted after the change. Among children with mild to moderate asthma, those covered by the deductible program (both low income and higher income) were less likely to receive prescriptions for inhaled corticosteroids than those in the comparison group, and this difference was statistically significant for the higher-income children.
The change to an income-based drug benefit policy was associated with a decrease in the use of inhaled corticosteroids by higher-income children with severe asthma and did not improve use of these drugs by low- income children.
PMCID: PMC81497  PMID: 11599328
18.  Devolution to democratic health authorities in Saskatchewan: an interim report 
In 1995 Saskatchewan adopted a district health board structure in which two-thirds of members are elected and the rest are appointed. This study examines the opinions of board members about health care reform and devolution of authority from the province to the health districts.
All 357 members of Saskatchewan district health boards were surveyed in 1997; 275 (77%) responded. Analyses included comparisons between elected and appointed members and between members with experience as health care providers and those without such experience, as well as comparisons with hypotheses about how devolution would develop, which were advanced in a 1997 report by another group.
Most respondents felt that devolution had resulted in increased local control and better quality of decisions. Ninety-two percent of respondents believed extensive reforms were necessary and 83% that changes made in the previous 5 years had been for the best. However, 56% agreed that there was no clear vision of the reformed system. A small majority (59%) perceived health care reform as having been designed to improve health rather than reduce spending, contrary to a previous hypothesis. Many respondents (76%) thought that boards were legally responsible for things over which they had insufficient control, and 63% perceived that they were too restricted by rules laid down by the provincial government, findings that confirm the expectation of tensions surrounding the division of authority. Respondents with current or former experience as health care providers were less likely than nonprovider respondents to believe that nonphysician health care providers support decisions made by the regional health boards (45% v. 63%, p = 0.02), a result that confirmed the contention that the role of health care providers on the boards would be a source of tension.
Members of Saskatchewan district health boards supported the general goals of health care reform and believed that changes already undertaken had been positive. There were few major differences in views between appointed and elected members and between provider and nonprovider members. However, tensions related to authority and representation will require resolution.
PMCID: PMC80727  PMID: 11232134
19.  Undiagnosed diabetes: Does it matter? 
The 1998 Canadian clinical practice guidelines for the management of diabetes lowered the cutoff point for diagnosing diabetes mellitus from a fasting plasma glucose (FPG) level of 7.8 to 7.0 mmol/L. We studied the prevalence and clinical outcomes of undiagnosed and diagnosed diabetes within specific ranges of FPG among a cohort of subjects recruited in 1990.
In 1990 a representative sample of 2792 adult residents of Manitoba participated in the Manitoba Heart Health Survey, which included measurement of FPG and a question about each participant's past history of diabetes. Individuals who would now be classified as having undiagnosed diabetes under the new criteria were not considered as such in 1990. Through data linkage with the provincial health care utilization database, the use of health care by these individuals was tracked and compared with that of individuals whose diabetes had been diagnosed and with that of normoglycemic individuals over an 8-year period subsequent to the survey.
The prevalence of undiagnosed diabetes in the adult population of Manitoba was 2.2%. Undiagnosed cases accounted for about one-third of all diabetes cases. Individuals with undiagnosed diabetes had an unfavourable lipid profile and higher blood pressure and obesity indices than normoglycemic individuals. Individuals who satisfied the new criteria for diabetes but remained undiagnosed had an additional 1.35 physician visits per year (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.93–1.96) and were more likely to be admitted to hospital at least once (odds ratio 1.23, 95% CI 0.40–3.79), compared with normoglycemic individuals.
Undiagnosed cases represent the unseen but clinically important burden of diabetes, with significant concurrent metabolic derangements and a long-term impact on health care use.
PMCID: PMC80628  PMID: 11202663
20.  The role of ethnicity in predicting diabetes risk at the population level 
Ethnicity & Health  2012;17(4):419-437.
Background. The current form of the Diabetes Population Risk Tool (DPoRT) includes a non-specific category of ethnicity in concordance with publicly data available. Given the importance of ethnicity in influencing diabetes risk and its significance in a multi-ethnic population, it is prudent to determine its influence on a population-based risk prediction tool.
Objective. To apply and compare the DPoRT with a modified version that includes detailed ethnic information in Canada's largest and most ethnically diverse province.
Methods. Two additional diabetes prediction models were created: a model that contained predictors specific to the following ethnic groups – White, Black, Asian, south Asian, and First Nation; and a reference model which did not include a term for ethnicity. In addition to discrimination and calibration, 10-year diabetes incidence was compared. The algorithms were developed in Ontario using the 1996–1997 National Population Health Survey (N = 19,861) and validated in the 2000/2001 Canadian Community Health Survey (N = 26,465).
Results. All non-white ethnicities were associated with higher risk for developing diabetes with south Asians having the highest risk. Discrimination was similar (0.75–0.77) and sufficient calibration was maintained for all models except the detailed ethnicity models for males. DPoRT produced the lowest overall ratio between observed and predicted diabetes risk. DPoRT identified more high risk cases than the other algorithms in males, whereas in females both DPoRT and the full ethnicity model identified more high risk cases. Overall DPoRT and full ethnicity algorithms were very similar in terms of predictive accuracy and population risk.
Conclusion. Although from the individual risk perspective, incorporating information on ethnicity is important, when predicting new cases of diabetes at the population level and accounting for other risk factors, detailed ethnic information did not improve the discrimination and accuracy of the model or identify significantly more diabetes cases in the population.
PMCID: PMC3457038  PMID: 22292745
diabetes; risk prediction; ethnicity
21.  Work injury risk by time of day in two population-based data sources 
To estimate the rate of work injury over the 24 h clock in Ontario workers over 5 years (2004–2008).
A cross-sectional, observational study of work-related injury and illness was conducted for a population of occupationally active adults using two independent data sources (lost-time compensation claims and emergency department encounter records). Hours worked annually by the Ontario labour force by time of day, age, gender and occupation were estimated from population-based surveys.
There was an approximately 40% higher incidence of emergency department visits for work-related conditions than of lost-time workers’ compensation claims (707 933 emergency department records and 457 141 lost-time claims). For men and women and across all age groups, there was an elevated risk of work-related injury or illness in the evening, night and early morning periods in both administrative data sources. This elevated risk was consistently observed across manual, mixed and non-manual occupational groups. The fraction of lost-time compensation claims that can be attributed to elevated risk of work injury in evening or night work schedules is 12.5% for women and 5.8% for men.
Despite the high prevalence of employment in non-daytime work schedules in developed economies, the work injury hazards associated with evening and night schedules remain relatively invisible. This study has demonstrated the feasibility of using administrative data sources to enhance capacity to conduct surveillance of work injury risk by time of day. More sophisticated aetiological research is needed to understand the specific mechanisms of hazards associated with non-regular work hours.
PMCID: PMC3534259  PMID: 23014592
22.  Reducing social inequalities in health: the role of simulation modelling in chronic disease epidemiology to evaluate the impact of population health interventions 
Reducing health inequalities has become a major public health priority internationally. However, how best to achieve this goal is not well understood. Population health intervention research has the potential to address some of this knowledge gap. This review argues that simulation studies can produce unique evidence to build the population health intervention research evidence base on reducing social inequalities in health. To this effect, the advantages of using simulation models over other population health intervention research methods are discussed. Key questions regarding the potential challenges of developing simulation models to investigate population health intervention research on reducing social inequalities in health and the types of population health intervention research questions that can be answered using this methodology are reviewed. We use the example of social inequalities in coronary heart disease to illustrate how simulation models can elucidate the effectiveness of a number of ‘what-if’ counterfactual population health interventions on reducing social inequalities in coronary heart disease. Simulation models are a flexible, cost-effective, evidence-based research method with the capacity to inform public health policy-makers regarding the implementation of population health interventions to reduce social inequalities in health.
PMCID: PMC3963537  PMID: 24363409
Social Inequalities; Epidemiological methods; Modelling; Public Health Policy

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