Evidenced-based Firefighter Worksite Health and Safety Intervention

Period of Performance: 03/01/2015 - 02/29/2016


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Odyssey Science Innovations, LLC
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Worksite health promotion is a means to improve employees'lifestyles, enhance their wellbeing and increase productivity, while reducing healthcare and disability costs. However, most existing worksite health programs are not evidence-based. Our company, Odyssey Science Innovations, LLC, was formed by experienced health promotion researchers to take our science-based programs to service. We have a unique proven intervention paradigm that builds on coworker bonding, accountability and support, resulting in positive durable changes and a high return on investment (ROI). Firefighting is emblematic of workplace health and safety needs. Firefighters'lifesaving work comes with increased risk for cancer, heart disease, stress-related disorders and injuries. This project's content and intervention strategy are based on the PHLAME (Promoting Healthy Lifestyles) program, which is the only evidence-based health and safety program for firefighters. Although the original PHLAME was effective and had a high ROI, its widespread use is limited by its workbook-based structure and the time required for weekly meetings. These are overcome with an innovative web-based format, which maintains its mediating features with engaging eLearning activities, behavior tracking, and mutual accountability in a competitive online environment. Our Phase I work transferred three PHLAME sessions to a web-based format, accessible by smartphone, tablet and computer. It was used by firefighters, who found it fun, educational and motivating. Those findings and the web-based version where reviewed by individuals responsible for fire department recommendations and purchases, and they endorsed full development of web-based PHLAME, as an integral tool for fire departments. This Phase II proposal will build the complete web-based PHLAME program and validate its effectiveness. Working with our Phase I partnering web design firm and eLearning Production Company, we will complete the program, including its initial public pages and implementation components, during proposal year 1. In year 2, we will assess program use and behavioral and economic outcomes in a prospective randomized trial with 4 intervention and 4 control departments, representing different sizes and locations. The research infrastructure and resources of Oregon Health &Science University (OHSU), our partnering institution in this STTR, provide value added for OSI and OHSU. Year 2 work and findings also will inform and guide commercialization. We have a decade of collaborative work with the fire service and strong support from their national union. Most fire departments do not have a health and safety program, and an extensive market awaits an easy-to-implement, innovative web-based derivative of the only fire service evidence-based worksite health and safety program. The novel format will be specific to the fire service, but the platform, once developed, can be modified and applied for health and safety promotion with other worker groups.