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OHSU center dedicated to workplace health and safety appoints new director

Steven Shea, Ph.D., has been appointed director of Oregon Health & Science University's Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology (CROET). CROET is a state and federally supported center with a mission of promoting health and preventing disease and disability among working Oregonians and their families. The center serves as an information resource for employers and proactively conducts research focused on workplace safety issues.

Shea received his Ph.D. from the University of London in 1989, joined the faculty of the Harvard University School of Public Health in Boston in 1992, and transferred to Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital (a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School) in 1996. At Brigham and Women's, he served as acting chief of the Division of Sleep Medicine, most recently as director of the Sleep Disorders Research Program, and as an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Shea is active nationally in his field and currently serves as the president of the American Sleep Medicine Foundation, on the boards of directors for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Board of Sleep Medicine, and as editor-in-chief of the journal Nature and Science of Sleep.

Shea has performed research on the effects of sleep and circadian rhythms on physiology and pathophysiology. In particular, he has pioneered investigation into the mechanisms underlying the day/night variations in the incidence of a number of episodic disorders, including the morning peaks in heart attacks and the nocturnal worsening of asthma. He also studies the adverse health effects of shift work in humans. His research has been fully supported by the National Institutes of Heath and NASA grants since 1992.

"The faculty and staff at CROET are very accomplished and are performing excellent basic research aimed at understanding mechanisms of disease and important field research with relevance to the work force, as well as educational and interventional outreach into the community," said Shea. "I am eager to join their efforts. I have been at Harvard for 21 enjoyable and successful years, but I'm up for a new challenge, and this is a great opportunity at CROET and OHSU. My own research will include studies of sleep and circadian rhythms as these relate to accidents and overall health of shift workers and people suffering from sleep disorders. Beyond that, I will support CROET's current activities whilst helping to expand the research and outreach to more fully encompass overall health and safety in the workplace, and to engage in collaborations across the whole campus and beyond in order to make this happen."

Since its establishment by the Oregon State Legislature in 1985, CROET has played a crucial role in both ensuring and promoting workplace safety in Oregon.

"Under Dr. Shea's leadership, the center will expand its impacts even further in promoting a healthy workforce and improving the safety of workers all across our state," said Dr. Daniel Dorsa, Ph.D., OHSU vice president for research.

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