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Pain and Prejudice - Special event with author Karen Messing

Posted on Jan 16, 2015
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Join Worksafe and LOHP for a special presentation by researcher and author Karen Messing of her newest book, Pain and Prejudice: What Science Can Learn About Work From The People Who Do It.

January 26, 2015
1:15 - 3:00 pm
Room 714C - University Hall
UC Berkeley School of Public Health
(Oxford between Addison and University; Downtown Berkeley BART)
No cost to attend

In 1978, workers at a phosphate refinery learned that the ore they processed was contaminated with radioactive dust. As a new professor of molecular genetics, Karen Messing was called in to help.

Unsure of what to do with her discovery that the radiation was harming the workers and their families, she contacted senior colleagues. But they wouldn’t help. Neither the refinery company nor the scientific community was interested in the scary results of her chromosome studies.

Over the next decades, Messing encountered many more cases of workers around the world who were suffering, in pain, and without help from the very scientists and occupational health specialists whose work was supposed to make their lives easier. She discovered that rules for scientific practice can make it hard to see what really makes workers sick.

Messing paid particular attention to women’s issues, gaining international recognition for her work. Her creative thinking and scientific rigor produced innovative approaches to ergonomics and occupational health.

In Pain and Prejudice, the award-winning researcher tells the story of how she went from looking at test tubes to listening to workers.

Messing is professor emerita of ergonomics in the Department of Biological Sciences at the Université de Québec à Montréal.

"How can scientists be objective and empathetic at the same time?...Dr. Messing shows how collaboration with community partners such as unions can improve research but how this type of research is increasingly threatened. She shows how research can and should make change in the workplace to improve workers’ health.”
– Cathy Walker, past director, National Health and Safety, Canadian Auto Work

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Dorothy Wigmore at dwigmore@worksafe.org.

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