The recent launch event for the new Center for Firefighter Health Collaborative Research brought together researchers, firefighters, students, and community members to celebrate all the research that has already been accomplished, and the opportunities created by the new Center to improve firefighter health practices and policies worldwide.
The recent launch event for the new Center for Firefighter Health Collaborative Research (CFHCR) in the Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona, brought together researchers, firefighters, students, and community members. At the event, a series of presentations about ongoing research projects highlighted recent and current study topics ranging from sleep and mental health to infection transmission to the reproductive health of female firefighters. Participants also learned how the new Center will lead efforts to improve policies and practice that will help safeguard firefighter health worldwide.
Jeff Burgess, MD, MS, MPH, a leader in firefighter health research, worked to establish the new Center as a way to build on and advance the work he has already done on the occupational health risks faced by firefighters. The CFHCR brings together years of firefighter health research conducted by College of Public Health faculty in close collaboration with fire departments. Some of that research has already had a lasting positive impact on firefighter health, including helping inform the recent decision by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, to classify occupational exposure as a firefighter as carcinogenic, a significant change from the previous classification as possibly carcinogenic.
Researchers from CFHCR recently received a new research grant from the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) to study the risks to firefighter from PFAS chemicals, often called “forever chemicals,” and possible mitigation practices to help lower risks of cancer and cardiovascular disease. By bringing together firefighters and experienced public health researchers, the CFHCR will advance research, practice, and policy to lower the health risks for these men and women who put themselves at risk to save our loved ones, our homes, and our communities from fire and wildfires.
Coming together to celebrate the new Center for Firefighter Health Collaborative Research, left to right: Captain John Gulotta, Dean Iman Hakim, Dr. Jeff Burgess, Dr. Michael Dake
Longtime collaborators Captain John Gulotta from Tucson Fire Department, and Dr. Jeff Burgess from Zuckerman College of Public Health, presented together on research that has already been accomplished.
Dr. Patricia Haynes presented about her research on sleep and mental health among firefighters.
Dr. Melissa Furlong presented about the new ABOR funded research study on PFAS chemicals and cancer risk for firefighters.
A panel of researchers and representatives from Tucson Fire Department answered questions about firefighter health research.
Kepra Jack, RN, BSN, from HeartFit for Duty talked about the value of collaboration with Dr. Jeff Burgess and other public health researchers.