Work and Health Research Lab


International Collaboration

October 2019

The Work and Qualitative Health Research lab hosted visiting academics and educational experts from Sweden October 7 -10 2019. This is the second visit for some of the guests, who partnered with Canadian colleagues, Drs. Ellen MacEachen and Phil Bigelow, to create an international online course.

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The course, What is Fair? International Perspectives on Equity in Work and Health provides students with opportunities to compare social security policies and social values while collaborating on projects with international peers. It was first offered in Winter, 2019 and will run again in January 2020. Current Master’s and Doctoral students at the University of Waterloo are eligible to take the course.

Thank you to Åsa Tjulin, John Selander, and Stig Vinberg from Mid-Sweden University, and Robert Larsson from Mälardalen University for joining our lab meeting and sharing research interests and ideas.

Recent publications

We’re excited to share these 2019 articles authored with Work and Qualitative Health Research Lab fellow Dr. Anne Hudon and recent doctoral graduate, Dr. Sonja Senthanar


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Hudon, A., Lippel, K., & MacEachen, E. (2019). Mapping first-line health care providers’ roles, practices, and impacts on care for workers with compensable musculoskeletal disorders in four jurisdictions: A critical interpretive synthesis. American journal of industrial medicine, 62: 545558.

Abstract: First‐line health care providers are the primary access point for workers’ benefits. However, little is known about their impact on quality of care and return‐to‐work. Our objective was to critically compare literature on the practices of first‐line providers for workers with musculoskeletal injuries in Ontario and Quebec (Canada), Washington State (United States), and Victoria (Australia).

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Senthanar, S., MacEachen, E., & Lippel, K. (2019). Return to Work and Ripple Effects on Family of Precariously Employed Injured Workers. Journal of occupational rehabilitation, 1-12.

Abstract: Work injury and return to work processes can have adverse effects on injured workers and their families. Family members may experience increased workloads, role reversals, dissolution of marriages or changes in relationships with children, as well as financial strain from loss of income. How these associations interact when the injured worker is precariously employed, however, is unknown. The aim of this study was to explore the impacts of work-related injury or illness as well as subsequent compensation and return to work processes on families and relationships of precariously employed workers.

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Stay tuned – more publications forthcoming.

Science and Politics of Work Disability Policy

The Science and Politics of Work Disability Prevention focuses on the science and politics of work disability systems. It addresses how and why, despite the mounting scientific evidence base and law and policy changes, the problem of work disability remains. Authors from 13 countries consider social security system changes to stem ‘work disability’ in their jurisdiction: their ideals, what worked and what didn’t work and why. They consider not only research evidence, but also realities of implementation, budgets, and political favour. The book is edited by Ellen MacEachen and is published by Routledge.

Click here to access the table of contents and book ordering information.