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Laura Punnett

Laura Punnett

Co-Director, Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace (CPH-NEW)

Dr. Laura Punnett is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) and is Co-Director of the Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace (CPH-NEW), one of the first two National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Centers of Excellence in Total Worker Health (TWH). The TWH program addresses the interaction of work hazards with non-occupational factors. The CPH-NEW team has developed a definition and scientific justification of TWH that emphasizes the design, implementation, and evaluation of participatory work interventions.

As an occupational ergonomist and epidemiologist, Dr. Punnett co-founded the Department of Work Environment at UML in 1987. Her expertise emphasizes work-related musculoskeletal disorders, especially in relation to physical job features. She is experienced in assessment of physical and psychological stressors in the work environment, quantification of exposure-response relationships for physical and mental health and employment outcomes, the role of working conditions in socioeconomic disparities and gender differences in health; and the effectiveness of workplace safety and health programs.

Dr. Punnett has also studied both physical and organizational risk factors in the healthcare sector and the parallels between the wellbeing of patients/residents and that of the workforce. She has also guided use of multiple methodologies for safety and health program evaluation.

Dr. Punnett received a BA in Medical Social Science/Issues in Women's Health from Hampshire College, an MS in Occupational Health & Safety, as well as a ScD in Occupational Health and Epidemiology, from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.