For our final “Staff Spotlight” of 2021, we interviewed Ivanna De Anda. Ivanna joined the Olson Lab at the Institute this Summer as a Research Assistant for the Tech4Rest and SHIFT Onboard studies. Ivanna earned her BA in Public Health-Global Health from the University of Washington in 2019. She is interested in evaluating and improving population health through sustainable and community-led structural interventions in the built environment.
In our “Staff Spotlight” posts we feature an Institute Staff member and share with the community a behind-the-scenes through a question and answer session to learn more about their research areas, career path and goals, but most importantly recognize their efforts.
Tell us more about yourself (career path, goals, anything you want us to know, etc.)
“I graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Health where I focused my studies in the area of global health. I had a wonderful opportunity to study abroad in Chile to learn about their unique healthcare system. After I graduated, I volunteered for a design non-profit in Peru and that is where I was first introduced to working in research. During my time in Peru, I was exposed to the field of landscape architecture and was involved in research looking at how the built environment impacted the health of communities. We worked with a community along the Amazon River living in floating homes, where fluctuating water levels and vector-borne diseases impacted their livelihood. Through these experiences, I saw how changes to the built environment, based on thoughtful research and community partnerships can have an incredible impact on the well-being of a community. One of my future goals includes pursuing a Master’s in Public Health with a focus on urban planning and studying how the physical environment and climate change impact our health. Although Spanish was my first language, I haven’t utilized it nearly as much as English growing up in the PNW. Another goal of mine is to improve my Spanish proficiency, so I can eventually work in Latin America.”
What current research projects are you working on?
“I am working on two research projects. I am working on Tech4Rest, a study that aims to improve sleep, reduce fatigue and impact Total Worker Health® in team truck drivers. My role for Tech4Rest has primarily been to help prepare and clean up the data for data analysis. Over the summer, I also had the opportunity to meet with driving teams in person for our last wave of data collection.
Additionally, I am working on another research project called Shift Onboard, a study that will help new bus operators be safe, healthy and well during their first years on the job. I am helping with fieldwork and visiting various research worksites located throughout Washington, Oregon and Colorado. Our team is actively collecting data for Shift Onboard, so recruitment and intervention implementation are some of my main focuses.
Throughout my involvement in both projects, I am being pushed in a positive way, to develop new skills and be creative along the way. For both projects, I work with individuals in-person and collect quantitative and qualitative data. It has been very rewarding and interesting to work with commercial truck drivers and bus operators, and I have found it meaningful to hear about their experiences first-hand. Many of them are facing a great deal of stress to meet supply chain shortages and logistics challenges. There are other factors impacting the job like staffing shortages and scheduling conflicts due to these staffing shortages. It is a hard time to be a transportation worker. They have largely isolated working populations and oftentimes are not able to lean on and receive social support from coworkers.”
What do you like most about working for OHSU/Institute/occupational health research?
“It has been a great experience to learn about the Total Worker Health concept and social determinants of health in the context of work and putting public health into practice. I am constantly learning in this role and feel very supported by my colleagues. Working at the Institute provides many learning opportunities. I enjoyed attending the 2021 Fall Symposium and look forward to the weekly Science Seminars. I have been away from the academic setting for a while so it is exciting to be back in this environment.”
What are your favorite hobbies outside of work? Home-life is very important to our health and well-being and is interconnected to our work-life.
“Outside of work, I enjoy spending time outdoors with friends and family. I live in the Mill Creek area, which is just north of Seattle, Washington. I love exploring new places on my bike and on foot, and am fortunate to live near many trail systems. One of my favorite areas to hike is the Cougar Mountain area, Northeast of Seattle. Some of the highlights of my trips to Latin America were when I backpacked in the Patagonian region of Chile and to Machu Picchu in Peru. I am hoping to do more of that in the future. During COVID, I have enjoyed volunteering at a local farm that was transformed into a food distribution site to provide food staples and fresh produce to the community. It has been a very rewarding experience to see the community come together to provide resources to those in need.”
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