Western Occupational & Environmental Medical Association
Leading Occupational & Environmental Medicine

Welcome to the WOEMA WINDOW, our e-newsletter sent to members by email on a monthly basis. The newsletter links to this page. Below are the items that appeared in the March 2018 issue.

Guidance on the New MTUS Drug Formulary




WOEMA Board Member Steven Feinberg, MD, MPH, provides guidance on the new MTUS Drug Formulary and the relevant MTUS ACOEM Guidelines


FREE CME: WOEMA Webinar Series
Thursday, April 26 • 12:00 PM PDT



Review and Updates in Lead Poisoning

Speaker: Timur Durrani, MD, MPH, MBA

This presentation will provide a review and updates in lead poisoning with an emphasis on adult exposures. The topic of lead poisoning continues to confront treating clinicians in a variety of situations, including occupational, environmental and herbal supplement exposures. We will review public health recommendations as well as clinical best practices for preventing, reducing, and treating lead exposure.

Learning Objectives – After this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Characterize the hazards of lead
  • Review the epidemiology of lead poisoning
  • Describe the basic toxic mechanisms of lead exposure
  • Provide resources on prevention and treatment of lead poisoning

Dr. Timur S. Durrani is the Medical Director of Health Services at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and Associate Professor of Medicine at UCSF in the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. He is Assistant Medical Director at the San Francisco Division of the California Poison Control System and Associate Director of the Western States Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU). His clinical activities include evaluating patients with toxic exposures in the outpatient and inpatient setting, including critically ill poisoned patients. He is board certified in medical toxicology, occupational medicine, preventive medicine, and family medicine.


Excellent Notes = Excellent Care

an editorial by Jeff Meade, MD, MPH, UCSF Occupational and Environmental Medicine Resident



As my residency in occupational medicine draws to a close, I can’t help but reflect on what sets this specialty apart. Though there are many unique aspects to this career field, I would have to say a big difference is our clinical notes. On the surface, it sounds easy, every clinician writes notes. But our notes are so much more than simple documentation. Typically, clinical notes are written by doctors, for doctors. They serve as a record of a visit and a reminder for when the patient is seen again. However, occupational medicine clinical notes do much more than record and remind. They also link the injury/illness to work and provide supporting evidence for a course of treatment.

Our audience is not just physicians. Claims adjusters, who often have little to no medical training, use our notes to decide whether or not to approve a treatment plan based on published guidelines. In some cases, other physicians, who serve as reviewers to ensure those guidelines are followed, will render opinions based solely on what is written. Poorly written notes can delay authorizations for treatment, ultimately affecting patient care. And finally, in some cases, legal staffs scrutinize our notes to determine if their clients received appropriate care and benefits.

What does this all mean to me? Occupational medicine physicians need to be master communicators! When I sit down to document my patient encounters, I always ask myself, what else would I want to know? Because at the end of the day, in the field of occupational medicine, a well written note translates as excellent patient care.

Congratulations to New ACOEM Fellows!




WOEMA offers its congratulations to our members who became ACOEM Fellows in 2018.  Fellowship is the highest classification of membership and distinguishes and recognizes members of the College for their training, accomplishments, and experience in occupational medicine at the national, component, and local levels, as well as the member’s academic and scientific contributions.

Please join us in congratulating the following members:

  • Sheri R. Belafsky, MD, MS, FACOEM
  • Catherine D. Boomus, MD, MPH, FACOEM
  • Jerald L. Cook, MD, MS, FACOEM
  • Sheldon Dashefsky, MD, MPH, FACOEM
  • Derek Gagnon, MD, MS, MRO, FACOEM
  • Chang Na, MD, FACOEM






WOEMA welcomes you to join your fellow members at the WOEMA Members Reception at AOHC on Monday, April 30 from 5:30 to 6:30 pm



COEH Build Bridges: Four Decades of Progress in the California Workplace


May 4 – 5, 2018
Betty Irene School of Nursing, Room 1800
2570 48th St. Sacramento, CA 95817

Every year, thousands of California workers become injured or ill due to work. While fatal workplace injuries have been on a downward trend since 1999, preventable workplace fatalities still occur. In the years ahead, climate change, social disparities, and the changing world of work will present new challenges to health and safety professionals tasked with protecting public health. 

For the last 40 years, faculty, researchers, and students at the Northern Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH) have conducted vital research to help inform state policy, provided education and training to protect vulnerable workers, and promoted health and safety in California’s workplaces.

“During the past four decades, COEH researchers have had a major impact on work-related musculoskeletal injury in multiple work settings, including computer work, farm work, clothing manufacture, and construction. Reduction of injuries has resulted from the design of ergonomically improved work stations and tools. Our work has also contributed to efforts to protect farm workers and their communities from the hazards of pesticide and heat exposures. COEH researchers have provided the scientific evidence that led OSHA to establish a stricter exposure limit for benzene. We also have contributed important experimental evidence to support EPA air quality standards.” John Balmes, Director, Northern California Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (UC Berkeley)

“The COEH is proud of its important role in conducting research on the causes of occupational and environmental disease, educating future practitioners and the public and translating its findings into policies and programs to reduce illness and injury.” Marc Schenker, Founding Director, Northern California Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (UC Davis)

 In celebration of their 40th anniversary, COEH at UC Berkeley and UC Davis will be hosting a joint symposium in Sacramento, California on May 4 – 5, 2018. The symposium will celebrate occupational health successes, and look ahead to explore emerging occupational and environmental health issues.

Continuing education credits are available; visit this webpage to learn more.

Friday, May 4:

Day one of the symposium will feature moderated panel discussions on topics such as climate change and health, animal health and human infectious disease risk, community outreach and engagement, sexual harassment and assault at work, and the prevention of injuries though ergonomics. Course content is intended for occupational and environmental health and safety professionals including occupational medicine physicians and mid-level practitioners, occupational health nurses, registered environmental health specialists, industrial hygienists, and certified safety professionals.

Saturday, May 5:

Day two of the symposium will explore current topics in occupational and environmental medicine. Topics include the health impacts of wildfires, emerging treatments for myofascial pain, managing co-morbidities in the workplace, and updates in the examination of commercial drivers, among others. Course content is intended for clinicians including MD, DO, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses, and allied health professionals.