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 September 2018 issue.


From the Editor’s Desk

by Troy Ross, MD, MPH, Newsletter Editor


I’m writing this at the conclusion of WOEMA’s 2018 annual conference in San Francisco. As is true of each conference I’ve attended, I return home and to my practice re-energized. I’d like to highlight a few pearls that I picked up this year. Funny thing, those pearls. They are formed by a piece of sand, a focus of irritation within an oyster. Somehow, I feel that my pearls came about the same way.

As I sat down to write this piece it started as a rant (on another topic). I vented my spleen, looked at what I had written, and while cathartic, it wasn’t satisfying. So I’ll try again.

On to the pearls. The Western Occupational Health Conference helps to keep OEM professionals up to date: all well and good. But with the changing world of information technology it’s almost anachronistic to take the time and make the effort to travel away from home just to receive information that’s available from the convenience of home or office. Here’s the deal – I’m already full of information. I read medical news, political news, do literature searches on PubMed, and I listen to health and medical podcasts at an obsessive clip. With those efforts I’m educated but not necessarily fulfilled.

Making the effort to join with my colleagues away from the distractions of my day-to-day world, that’s where I have the opportunity to receive insight on my frustrations that can lead to burnout. Which, by the way, is epidemic in the house of medicine but from which the OEM field is relatively sheltered. Coming here to share time with others is where I am given the ability to hear from and talk with a thought leader in our field, Dr. Robert Carr. He inspired me examine myself and consider how I create value in what I do – much more meaningful than being proficient. Then, as I learn about how technology is changing the practice of medicine and consider how to thrive in the push toward automation I’m given a flash of insight: if you don’t want to lose your “job” to a machine do something that isn’t codable (the take away there is that if all you do is encounter a patient and work toward an endpoint of determining an ICD-10 code, well a machine can do that).

Wow! What synergy, and just what I needed at this point in my medical life. I relearned that I ought to stay connected to the people around me, keep a focus on always watching to add value, and make sure that I stand out from the automation wave by being a person and not a cog in the machine. The way I was able to put those pieces together was to make the effort to attend to another conference. And I thought it would just be a way to get CME and see my friends.


Meet the Residents Who Attended WOHC 2018 as Scholars



WOEMA invited twelve residents from across the U.S. to attend WOHC as scholars and to participate in the annual Resident Poster Competition. Ifeoma Ogbonna, MD, MSPH won the 2nd prize ($125) for her poster on “TB Among Healthcare Workers and Ancillary Staff in an Underserved Medical Institution” and 1st prize was awarded to Tyler Sura, MD for his poster: “Analysis of Employer Sponsored Weight Loss Program.” Check back in this space next month where we will be featuring the 1st prize winner’s abstract!


Myles Cope, MD, MPH
University of California, San Francisco
Neesha Mody, MD
University of California, Irvine
Ashley Ennedy, DO
Loma Linda University
Ifeoma Ogbonna, MD, MSPH
Meharry Medical College
Ling Jing, DO, MPH
University of California, Irvine
Saloomeh Sadaghiani, MD, MPH
Loma Linda University 
Nasrin Kazemi, MD, PhD
Loma Linda University
Ben Schanker, MD, MBA, MPH
University of California, San Francisco
Tracy Lee, MD, MPH
University of California, Irvine
Michael Shahbaz, MD, MPH
University of California, San Francisco
Khalid Medani, MD, MPH
Loma Linda University
Tyler Sura, MD
Loma Linda University


A special thanks to Medlock Consulting & Healthesystems for their generous contributions to support resident scholarships at WOHC.


Rutherford T. Johnstone Memorial Award Lecture 2018

Walter Newman, MD

Dr. Walter Newman was chosen to present the Rutherford T. Johnstone Memorial Award Lecture at WOHC 2018. This prestigious award is presented annually to a current or past WOEMA member who has contributed significantly to the furthering of occupational and environmental medicine.

In the lecture, Dr. Newman spoke about farm worker health, the fiscal impact of diabetes, and efforts to facilitate and encourage kidney transplants were appropriate. A copy of the lecture slides are available here. At the conclusion of the lecture, Dr. Newman was awarded a $500 honorarium which he announced he is donating to the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Spine Rehabilitation Center where he received excellent care following an accidental injury to his spine that resulted in disability. At the event, a video was also shown depicting Dr. Newman’s fortitude in the months following the accident. It can be viewed here. It was produced by Constantine Gean, MD

Dr. Walter S. Newman has practiced Family Medicine in San Jose since 1980. Dr. Newman is the principal of The Newman Medical Group, focusing on Occupational Health Services for Silicon Valley and the Monterey Peninsula. Dr. Newman received his M.D. from UCSF and did residency training in Family Medicine at the Stanford/San Jose program. He completed the mini-residency in Occupational Medicine at UCSF. Dr. Newman is an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at Stanford University. He teaches regularly at Stanford University as Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine. His clinical activities have included consulting services and direct patient care to over 50 companies throughout California. His largest client has been Monterey Mushrooms, where he has served as Chief Health Officer for over 3,500 Hispanic farm workers around the United States.


Jean Spencer Felton Award for Scientific Writing – 2018 Recipient

Matthew A. Hughes, MD, MPH

Dr. Matthew Hughes is the 2018 recipient of the Jean Spencer Felton Award for Scientific Writing, an award that is presented annually to a current or past WOEMA member who has contributed significantly to the body of knowledge in the field of occupational and environmental medicine. Dr. Hughes is an Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of Utah. His career path has been fortunate to include many of the unique possibilities available to professionals in Occupational Medicine, with service in clinical, corporate, governmental, and academic roles. He served over 10 years as a senior medical officer and corporate executive manager providing support and strategic direction to major international corporations (BP, Marathon Oil). His greatest accomplishment was the development and implementation of a strategy to eliminate malaria in the country of Equatorial Guinea, which has been highly successful in its program aims. Currently, his primary research interests include evidence-based analysis and development of management practices for the advancement of occupational health and safety of workers, toxicology, opioids and musculoskeletal medicine. He serves as Assistant Editor in Chief and as a researcher and author of the ACOEM Evidence Based Practice Guidelines. He enjoys teaching occupational medicine residents, industrial hygiene students, and collaborating with other faculty and colleagues. He is course director for Occupational Health and Safety Management.


See WOHC for Yourself! – View the Photo Gallery


Click Here to View the Gallery!


Apply to Become an ACOEM Fellow



The status of Fellow is the highest classification of membership in ACOEM. Fellowship 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. The Committee of Fellowship Examiners feels passionately that the College needs more Fellows and that those who are making significant contributions to the College and the field of occupational and environmental medicine deserve special recognition.Requirements for Fellowship:

  • Must be a member in good standing in ACOEM for at least three years and have;
  • Obtained Board Certification (Occupational Medicine or other ABMS Medical Specialty by the time of the next AOHC. If ABMS Certification other than Occupational Medicine – Evidence of education and experience in OEM.  1.Completion of the MPH or equivalent (as determined by the Committee of Fellowship Examiners) plus an additional 50 (15 of which can be from component) hours of ACOEM CME in the previous 5 years.   2. If not MPH – Completion of 100 (30 of which can be from component) hours of ACOEM CME in the previous 5 years.
  • Must have an active, unrestricted license to practice medicine.
  • Must present two recommendation letters, at least one from an ACOEM fellow.
  • Must complete a fellowship application
  • Narrative demonstrating contribution to ACOEM, components or the field of OEM – —Evidence of service requirement may be satisfied through a multitude of activities including but not limited to: teaching, presentations, public advocacy, publications, meeting attendance or committee service

Applications for ACOEM Fellowship are due November 1st.



Earn CME at the Urgent Care Fall Conference – Oct. 12-14 in Houston


The Urgent Care Association (UCA) invites WOEMA members to join UCA in Houston October 12-14 for New Frontiers, their 2018 Urgent Care Fall Conference. To register or learn more about the Conference, visit www.ucaoa.org/2018Fall