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Release: March 12, 2002

NOTE TO EDITORS: Reporters interested in attending this conference should call the UI Center for Conferences and Institutes at (319) 335-4141 or toll free (800) 551-9029.

UI expert to speak on workplace violence at occupational health symposium

Corinne Peek-Asa, Ph.D., University of Iowa College of Public Health associate professor of occupational and environmental health and nationally recognized expert on workplace violence, will present a lecture on violence in the workplace Wednesday, March 13, at the Iowa Memorial Union.

Peek-Asa's presentation is the keynote address of the fourth annual Occupational Health Symposium: Preparing a Safe Workplace, a conference of employers, occupational physicians and nurses, industrial hygienists, and other safety and human resource professionals. The conference takes place March 13 and 14 at the IMU.

Each year more than 2 million American workers are victims of workplace violence. The annual cost of workplace violence to U.S. businesses has been estimated at $36 billion; it is much more difficult to put a figure on the emotional toll on workers, their families and co-workers.

"Many employers have not addressed violence as a hazard in their workplaces, and few workplace programs that have been initiated have been tested as to their effectiveness," said Peek-Asa, who also serves as the associate director for science for the UI Injury Prevention Research Center. "The long-range purpose of my work is to develop a preventive approach to workplace violence, which is much more effective than a reactive one."

The Occupational Health Symposium is designed to provide up-to-date information on health and safety in the workplace. Along with Peek-Asa, the conference will feature speakers on cumulative trauma disorders, working elders, drug abuse in the workplace, challenges of immigration in occupational health, and prevention of work-related fatalities.

The symposium is jointly sponsored by the UI Colleges of Public Health, Nursing and Medicine, the Heartland Center for Occupational Health and Safety, WORKSAFE IOWA, and UI Health Care.

For additional information or to register for the conference, call the UI Center for Conferences and Institutes at (319) 335-4141 or toll free (800) 551-9029.