Western Occupational & Environmental Medical Association
Leading Occupational & Environmental Medicine

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 October 2018 issue.



California Awarded RETAIN Federal Grant



Recognizing the importance of giving workers with disabilities economically sustainable alternatives to Federal disability benefits, the 2018 and 2019 proposed federal budgets support early intervention demonstrations. The Office of Disability Employment Policy, the Employment and Training Administration, and the Social Security Administration developed the RETAIN initiative — Retaining Employment and Talent After Injury/Illness Network — to test the impact of early intervention projects on SAW/RTW outcomes.

Encouraged by WOEMA’s Legislative Affairs Committee, WOEMA and several individual WOEMA members sent letters of support for California’s RETAIN Demonstration Grant Proposal. The grant’s focus on Stay-at-Work and Return-to-Work issues is very much in line with WOEMA’s mission.

To learn more about the work being done in the Legislative Affairs Committee please visit our Legislative Resources webpage, and to get involved please email woema@woema.org




FREE CME: WOEMA Webinar Series
Thursday, October 31, 12:00 PM PDT



Topic: Ask the Expert: FMCSA Update with Q & A

Speaker: Natalie Hartenbaum, MD, MPH, FACOEM

Dr. Hartenbaum will provide an update on the implications for providers on the new Diabetes rule and answer questions. This webinar will be driven by your questions. Participants are encouraged to submit a question for Dr. Hartenbaum when they register for the webinar in the space provided.

Learning Objectives – after this webinar, learners will improve their:

  • Competence on the updated FMCSA regulations for individuals with a stable insulin regimen and properly controlled insulin-treated diabetes (ITDM) to qualify to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs)

Dr. Natalie Hartenbaum is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Preventive Medicine in Occupational Medicine and has a Master’s of Public Health in Occupational Medicine. She has been a certified Medical Review Officer since 1996. Dr. Hartenbaum has extensive experience in the clinical, corporate, and academic settings and is a nationally recognized expert in occupational fitness for duty with a special focus on transportation.



2019 WOEMA Board of Directors Announced



On Friday, September 14th, at the Annual WOEMA Business Meeting held at the Park Central Hotel in San Francisco, the slate of the 2019 Board of Directors and Officers was presented to WOEMA membership, and was approved unanimously.


[View the 2019 Board of Directors and Officers]


Resident Poster Wins Top Prize



At WOHC 2018 in San Francisco last month, twelve resident physicians presented poster on occupational and environmental medicine research or projects that have been conducted. Tyler Sura, MD was awarded first place ($250) in the poster competition for “Analysis of Employer Sponsored Weight Loss Program”. Dr. Sura is the current chief resident at the Occupational Medicine residency at Loma Linda University and is graduating in June. He is a Minnesota native who graduated with his B.S. in Biochemistry from Bethel University and his MD from Loma Linda University. Dr. Sura is passionate about corporate medicine, population health, and health policy.

Dr. Sura and his team completed an analysis of a free, employer-sponsored weight-management program for overweight employees. The program demonstrated statistically significant weight loss, decreased body fat percentage, documented behavior change, and improved understanding of high risk eating. The success of the program was dependent of employee engagement and willingness to participate in the program. Their research was unique in its focus on weight management as a complex, whole-person process instead of one just focused on outcomes. In addition to simple changes to body metrics, wholistic approach of weight management was accomplished through the use of dietitians and exercise coaches.



Symposium on Medical Marijuana in the Workplace
Wednesday, November 7, 2018


Location: University of California, Los Angeles

Medical and Recreational Marijuana may be legal in some states, but use at the workplace can be complicated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employment law, and insufficient research.

According to the National Safety Council:

  • Three-quarters of those struggling with addiction to alcohol, pain medication, marijuana and other substances are employed.
  • Workers with substance use disorders miss nearly 50% more work days than their peers.
  • The Surgeon General reports substance use disorders to cost the US economy more than $400 billion per year.
  • About one in 13 working adults in the US has an alcohol use disorder.
  • Employers do not seem to recognize the scope of the problem:
  • Only 39% of employers surveyed viewed prescription drug use as a threat to safety,
  •  Only 24% perceived it as a problem.



WOHC 2019 is in San Diego!




WOHC 2019 will be held at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina from September 11-14, 2019. The hotel is located close to the San Diego airport and there is a free shuttle. Hotel room rates start at $219/night+tax and the resort fee has been waived for those who book their rooms under the group rate.

WOHC 2019 will be chaired by Akbar Sharip, MD and vice chair Chang Na, MD. A planning committee is forming now to develop the educational content and invite speakers. The committee will also plan social events, post-graduate sessions, and worksite tours. Registration will open in Spring 2019.