The University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore, in collaboration with the University of Maryland, College Park, the University of Maryland School of Medicine Institute of Human Virology, and the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization, has received a grant to research strategies for improving and supporting occupational health practices in Haiti to protect workers from blood-borne pathogens, according to a news release. UMSON has received funding for the Blood Borne Pathogen Assessment Survey Among Health Care Workers in Haiti project from the University of Maryland MPower Research and Innovation Seed Grant.
Jane Lipscomb, RN, PhD, FAAN, professor, UMSON, and Robert H. Feldman, PhD, FAAHB, professor, University of Maryland School of Public Health, will serve as the principal investigators. Blood-borne pathogens are infectious microorganisms present in blood that can cause disease in humans. Workers exposed to these pathogens are at risk for serious or life-threatening illnesses. The research project aims to examine methods to protect the healthcare workforce by reducing the risk of the transmission of BBPs, such as hepatitis B and C and HIV, among workers employed at Haitian hospitals. In Haiti, the HIV and hepatitis B and C prevalence is estimated at between 2-4%, according to the release.
Through the study, the research team will develop recommendations to raise awareness of this issue and identify unsafe practices and will identify culturally relevant control strategies in preventing the transmission of BBPs and assess prevention practices.
This work is important for the School of Nursing, as it builds upon knowledge developed during previous research conducted in Maryland and extends its reach to address the health and safety of healthcare workers in Haitian hospitals, Lipscomb said in the release. Our work will also provide the opportunity for future collaborations around workforce protection between UMSON and its Haitian colleagues. The recent epidemic of Ebola infections among healthcare workers demonstrates the need for further global research into protecting healthcare workers from exposure to a range of workplace hazards, including infectious diseases.
Seed grant funding can be used to develop new tools such as technologies that improve healthcare.
We are pleased to be part of MPower, which is designed to promote innovation and impact through collaboration, and to have this opportunity to work with our colleagues at the University of Maryland, College Park on this important research effort in Haiti, UMSON Dean Jane M. Kirschling, RN, PhD, FAAN, said in the release.