Welcome to the WOEMA WINDOW. This e-newsletter is sent to members by email on a monthly basis. The e-newsletter provides links to this page. Below are the items that appeared in the August 2022 issue.

President's Insights

by Rupali Das, MD, MPH, FACOEM


Greetings WOEMA Family and Friends!

Growing up in India, I experienced a life of intense colors, tastes, and sights. I lived in a community of people with diverse religions, ethnicities, and skin tones and observed great contrasts in wealth and poverty.

I became a doctor with the intention of alleviating suffering and balancing inequities and also because I loved science and the pursuit of knowledge. Occupational and environmental medicine (OEM) allowed me to combine these two passions.

The field of OEM has historical and current roots in public health and practitioners advocate for the underserved, relieve suffering, and rectify inequities. Whether evaluating physical injuries in immigrant farmworkers or recommending public policy changes to rectify climate change, OEM practitioners are advocating on behalf of patients, communities, and the environment.

OEM practitioners should be aware of known hazardous exposures and also continue to learn about new and emerging occupational and environmental hazards and the most recent evidence-based medicine. Keeping up with current knowledge and best practices can be challenging. Luckily for members, WOEMA’s committees do a fantastic job in providing high-quality, enjoyable educational experiences through webinars and our annual Western Occupational Health Conference, WOHC.

The theme of WOHC 2022, “Aspire and Advocate,” reflects the passions that inspired me to pursue a career in OEM. It challenges us to continually strive for education and clinical competence and to advocate for workers and the environment. I hope the theme is as personally meaningful to each of you as it is to me.

WOHC 2022 will be held in beautiful Napa, California. Napa Valley attracts visitors from around the globe because of its idyllic scenery, including mountains and valleys, vineyards and olive trees, and of course the wine and cuisine. While geography and climate—rich volcanic soil, hot summers, and cool nights make for an ideal region to grow grapes and other crops and to make high-quality wine—it is the workers who make all this possible. WOHC 2022 will be held during the “crush,” or harvest, Napa’s most popular tourist season. Wineries operate nearly around the clock during this time and workers labor long hours, sometimes in the hot sun, sometimes in the dark, or in cold warehouses. The region has also experienced devastating fires in the last few years, fueled in part by climate change, leading to drought, and land management practices.

The WOHC planning committee, led by Chair Dr. Alya Khan and Vice-Chair Dr. David Caretto, has planned a diverse and innovative program that will appeal to a wide variety of interests no matter what the area of focus in OEM. Topics range from heat illness and immigrant health to medical-legal evaluations and disability management.

While providing high-quality education is the main focus of WOHC, it is also known for its hospitality. I invite you to join us at the Opening Reception. And of course, put on your dancing shoes and come dressed in your Roaring ‘20s best for the Signature Event!

I look forward to welcoming you at WOHC 2022 where you will be moved to aspire and advocate!


Introducing WOEMA's New Strategic Plan!

After several months of effort, the Board of Directors is delighted to announce the release of WOEMA's new Strategic Plan!

It took a village to complete the work reflected in this plan. The Board of Directors would like to specifically acknowledge the following individuals who participated either as leads or team members:

• Workgroup leads: Drs. Rosalie Banasiak, Sheri Belafsky, David Caretto, Cody Jackson, Alya Khan, Akbar Sharip, Ramon Terrazas, and Erik Won.
• Team members: Drs. Seyi Awodele, Aisha Chaudry, Myra Cruz, Rajiv Das, Robert Goldberg, Sonya Meyers, Walter Newman, Minh Nguyen, and Karega Paisley.
Thanks also go to the Committee Chairs and committee members who will work to implement the plan.

Please see below for a succinct graphic depiction of our strategic plan.



For the full strategic plan, click here


Western Occupational Health Conference (WOHC) 2022 in Napa!

Western Occupational Health Conference is coming up soon in Napa, CA from October 6-9, 2022! Do you have your spot? We will be earning up to 23 CME credits at the beautiful Silverado Resort & Spa. We have an amazing lineup of speakers and you can check out the agenda on our website. Check out the highlights from our conference below!

This venue features an array of amenities. Along with educational sessions, you will have the opportunity to connect with old and new friends, party at the Signature Event, and relax at the resort. Take a break from the daily grind and jump right into the fun! This location is perfect for families with many activities within the resort and nearby. They can lounge at the many pools, play tennis, check out local museums, and ride a hot air balloon. So bring the crew and make a vacation out of it!

We could not do this without our generous sponsors and exhibitors. I invite you to join us for the welcome reception with our vendors on Friday, October 7, 2022, at 5:30 pm.

We will also host an informational session for new attendees or for anyone who wants to learn more about WOEMA on Saturday, October 9th at 7:10 am. Come find out what all our amazing committees do throughout the year and ways to get involved yourself!
• Keynote speaker, Dr. Tomas Aragon, CDPH Director will discuss emerging public health issues
• CME Breakfast Sessions: Come get a bite to eat while engaging in OEM hot topics with colleagues
• Post Graduate sessions and worksite tours including a winery site visit
• Enjoy a round of golf with WOEMA colleagues and learn from a physical therapist who specializes in golfers
• Women in WOEMA lunch with Dr. Lekshmi Santhosh
• Join us Saturday, October 8th for a signature event with the theme of "Roaring 20's"! Come dressed to impress and enjoy wonderful music and food with us!
Looking forward to seeing you there!

Alya Khan, MD, MS, FACOEM WOHC 2022 Chair
David Caretto, MD, MPH, FACOEM WOHC 2022 Vice-Chair



Membership Committee

Hello WOEMA members!  We are excited to engage with all of you. WOEMA is such an invigorating yet diverse group of members with lots of expertise. The Membership Committee yearns to learn more about our members and also is a platform for you to learn and benefit more from WOEMA and its activities that enthuse you.

This year, we started hosting a social hour every quarter alongside our membership committee meeting.  It was nice to chat about what have we been up to in the midst of the pandemic.  It was also fascinating to hear about our career journeys.

We will be hosting a welcome session for our members at WOHC 2022.  We hope to see you in Napa!

Come learn how you can be more involved with WOEMA.  Hear other members share the benefits of being part of the WOEMA community.

See you soon!

Myra Cruz, MD

Amanpreet Dhillon, MD, MS, FACOEM


Formation of Work Group on “Gun Safety in the WOEMA States”

Paul J Papanek MD MPH

Gun violence continues to scourge the public health of the nation, including the five WOEMA member states. In her recent Presidential letter to the membership (WOEMA Window, June 2022), Dr. Rupali Das reaffirmed that OEM professionals, as specialists in Preventive Medicine, must view the topic of gun violence as “in our lane.” To echo her resolve to reduce firearm trauma and death, WOEMA plans to convene a gun safety Work Group to focus on up-to-date knowledge concerning gun violence in our five WOEMA states.

Current state-specific data demonstrate large variance in both gun death rates and approaches to prevention. The Work Group will review that data, both in workplaces and the community, and will publish an evidence-based paper highlighting those gun safety policies that correlate with better outcomes. This distillation of these complex facts will serve as a foundation for WOEMA’s future education efforts and advocacy about gun safety.

Accordingly, we seek 5 to 10 volunteers to serve on the Work Group. These members will be asked to commit approximately 3 to 5 hours per month to teleconferences and writing assignments. The work product is expected by the end of 2022. If interested in participating, or if you have comments about these draft materials, please contact WOEMA staff by September 9, 2022, at [email protected].  

WOEMA is proud to continue its tradition of leadership in a broad range of preventive medicine topics affecting the OEM community.  


Upcoming Webinars! 

WOEMA Pain Webinar Series - Part 3

Interventional Management of Chronic Pain
September 2, 2022 
12:00 – 1:00 pm

Speaker: Dr. Vafi Salmasi 

WOEMA Mental Health Webinar Series – Part 3

Psychology in the Work Comp Space
October 14, 2022
12:00 – 1:00 pm

Speakers:  Leslie Cadet, MD, MPH, Janice P. De-Whyte, PhD 

Addiction and Opioid Use Disorder (OUD): Definition, Recognition and Management.
November 4, 2022
12:00 – 1:00 pm

Speaker: Dr. Clark Smith 

Learn more here.