Winter 2023-2024  –  Issue 3  Vol 2

Welcome to the CSOEMA Connection, a quarterly e-newsletter for members, associates, and friends of the Central States Occupational and Environmental Medicine Association.

President’s Insights
Around the States
OEM Images of the Month
OEM Clinical Practice Highlights
OEM Research Rounds
100th Annual 2024 CSOEMA Spring Seminar
ACOEM Update
Upcoming Events
Future CSOEMA Seminars Survey
Resident’s Corner
T-Shirts & Other SWAG
Seeking Volunteers
Support the CSOEMA Foundation

President’s Insights

By Laura E. Breeher, MD, MPH, MS, FACOEM


As we embrace the crisp winter air and the season’s festivities, I am pleased to extend a warm welcome to you all to the Winter Issue of the CSOEMA Connection. I am so thankful to Dr. Will Wong, editor and founder of the CSOEMA Connection Newsletter, and the CSOEMA editorial team of Drs. Anitha Nimmagadda and Claudia Corwin, for the continued dedication to this resource for our members. I always look forward to reading the quarterly newsletters as there is a wealth of information, including recent news articles, research publications in OEM, details about the upcoming seminar, and links to order CSOEMA swag, among many others.

In this edition of the CSOEMA Connection, you’ll find a collection of insightful articles, thought-provoking research, and updates that highlight issues impacting the field of occupational and environmental medicine. Our expertise in Environmental Medicine gives our members the unique ability to fully understand the preventable health impacts of exposures described in several articles. From lead in water and baby food to PFAS (“forever chemicals”) in well water to the increasing awareness of silica exposure from quartz countertop manufacturing, this edition of CSOEMA has articles to keep you updated. One of the giants of our field is also highlighted in the In Memoriam section. While not from the Central States region, many of us learned from Dr. Joe LaDou, the editor of one of our main OEM textbooks. I have his book sitting on the shelf in my office and still consult it occasionally. I encourage you to read about his life and career in the newsletter.

This week, I’m making two lists (and checking them twice 😉):

  • The first is my holiday list – I’m trying something new this year by incorporating an “experience” gift for each kid based on their interests. I’ll let you know at the Spring Seminar how it went and if I would recommend it!
  • The second is the speaker list for the 100th Annual CSOEMA Spring Seminar, which will be held March 7-9th, 2024, in Lisle, IL. I’m getting *really* excited for this conference (the 100th annual Spring CSOEMA meeting). The list is shaping up, and I am so thankful to everyone who has agreed to present. The planning committee will meet soon to work on finalizing the agenda and may be reaching out for additional speakers. If you have a talk that would interest our members, please email me and Susan Rittenhouse, Executive Director CSOEMA. If you haven’t already registered, please do so early. I look forward to seeing you there.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the Central States Occupational and Environmental Medicine Association. Together, we impact the health and well-being of the individuals and communities we serve. This is a great time of year to reflect on the achievements of our members and look ahead to the opportunities that lie before us. I feel fortunate to have connected with many of you this year and am inspired by the resilience and dedication of our CSOEMA members.

Wishing you all a joyful holiday season and a prosperous New Year.



Around the States







North Dakota


OEM Images of the Month

The Los Angeles Times (November 19, 2023):California countertop workers died of a preventable disease. The threat was known years earlier.  A countertop cutter works amid a cloud of dust in Sun Valley. The grinding and sanding of synthetically engineered stone results in much greater exposure to lung-scarring silica than working with natural granite or marble. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
The latest KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor survey reveals that half (51%) of all adults nationally say they “definitely” or “probably” will not get the latest COVID-19 vaccine, with many saying that they aren’t worried about catching the virus.  One in five (20%) say that they’ve already gotten the new vaccine that became available in September, with an additional 28% saying they “definitely” or “probably” will get the new shot. The rest say they “definitely” or “probably” will not get the new shot – a large group that includes three-in-10 (31%) of all adults who previously got a COVID vaccine but now say they don’t plan to get the updated vaccine.  Most Black adults (59%) and Hispanic adults (59%) say they have either already gotten the vaccine or expect to get the new vaccine. In contrast, most White adults (58%) say they “definitely” or “probably” will not get it. Partisanship also continues to play an outsized role in vaccine attitudes. For example, eight-in-10 (80%) White adults who identify as Republicans say they do not plan to get the new vaccine – more than twice the share of White adults who identify as Democrats (29%).

OEM Clinical Practice Highlights

OEM Research Rounds:

Fazio JC, Gandhi SA, Flattery J, Heinzerling A, Kamangar N, Afif N, Cummings KJ, Harrison RJ. Silicosis Among Immigrant Engineered Stone (Quartz) Countertop Fabrication Workers in California.JAMA Intern Med. 2023 Sep 01; 183(9):991-998.  PMID: 37486642; PMCID: PMC10366949.

Gandhi SA, Heinzerling A, Flattery J, Fazio JC, Alam A, Cummings KJ, Harrison RJ. Active Surveillance of Engineered Stone Workers Facilitates Early Identification of Silicosis: A Discussion of Surveillance of Occupational Lung Diseases. New Solut. 2023 Nov; 33(2-3):119-129.  PMID: 37649363.

Creeden R, Blonien N, Schultz JK, Wheeler J, Haltson EL, McKinney ZJ. Prolonged Disability following Re-Exposure after Complete Recovery from Aerotoxic Syndrome: A Case Report. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2023; 20(24):7156.

Ari Shechter, PhD; Tsion Firew, MD, MPH; Maody Miranda, MA; Nakesha Fray, MPH; Allison A. Norful, PhD, RN, ANP-BC; Alvis Gonzalez, BS; Bernard P. Chang, MD, PhD. Sleep Disturbance and Burnout in Emergency Department Health Care Workers.  This cross-sectional study examines the association of sleep disturbances with burnout among emergency medicine healthcare workers. JAMA Network Open. JAMA 2023;6(11):e2341910. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.41910. View invited JAMA commentary by Dave W. Lu, MD, MSCI, MBE for the above article here.

Fernandez, Antonio R. PhD; Treichel, Alison MPH; Myers, J. Brent MD; Bourn, Scott S. PhD; Crowe, Remle P. PhD; Gardner, Bill AS. Evaluating Firefighter On-Scene Decontamination Practices Using a National Fire Records Management System

This is the first study to describe real-world on-scene exposure decontamination practices by fire personnel using data entered into a fire incident management system, with records from over 2,500 firefighters throughout the United States. Our results suggest that too few fire personnel are performing decontamination on-scene following documented exposure.

REVIEW ARTICLE: Łukasz, Bartłomiej;Rybakowska, Iwona; Krakowiak, Anna; Gregorczyk, Magdalena; Waldman Wojciech. Lithium Batteries Safety, Wider Perspective. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2023;36(1):3–20. PDF article is available here. DOI:

Marina Romanello, PhD; Claudia di Napoli, PhD; Carole Green, MPH; Harry Kennard, PhD; Pete Lampard, PhD; Daniel Scamman, PhD; et al. The 2023 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: the imperative for a health-centred response in a world facing irreversible harms.
In 2022, the Lancet Countdown warned that people’s health is at the mercy of fossil fuels and stressed the transformative opportunity of jointly tackling the concurrent climate change, energy, cost-of-living, and health crises for human health and wellbeing. This year’s report finds few signs of such progress. At the current 10-year mean heating of 1·14°C above pre-industrial levels, climate change is increasingly impacting the health and survival of people worldwide, and projections show these risks could worsen steeply with further inaction. However, with health matters gaining prominence in climate change negotiations, this report highlights new opportunities to deliver health-promoting climate change action and a safe and thriving future for all. Published: November 14, 2023 DOI:

Frank Pega, Natalie C. Momen, Kai N. Streicher, Maria Leon-Roux, Subas Neupane, Mary K. Schubauer-Berigan, Joachim Schüz, Marissa Baker, Tim Driscoll, Irina Guseva Canu, Hannah M. Kiiver, Jian Li, Jamaji C. Nwanaji-Enwerem, Michelle C. Turner, Susana Viegas, Paul J. Villeneuve, et al. Global, regional and national burdens of non-melanoma skin cancer attributable to occupational exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation for 183 countries, 2000–2019: A systematic analysis from the WHO/ILO Joint Estimates of the Work-related Burden of Disease and Injury. Environment International, Volume 181, 2023, 108226, ISSN 0160-4120,

100th Annual 2023 CSOEMA SPRING SEMINAR on March 7-9, 2024

Registration for the 100th Annual 2023 CSOEMA Spring Seminar is now open. The Spring Seminar returns on March 7-9, 2024, in Lisle, IL, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Lisle/Naperville. The Spring Seminar will be special as it will be the 100th Spring Seminar hosted by CSOEMA. This will be a Spring Seminar to attend. Special events are planned to mark this special moment in our history. Register early for the Spring Seminar to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount, which expires December 31, 2023. 

Additionally, if you are among the first 100 registrants for the 100th Annual 2023 Spring Seminar, and if 100 people register, you will be entered into a raffle drawing to win a FREE CONFERENCE REGISTRATION. Yes, you heard that right, your conference registration fee will be waived, if you are the winner of this drawing. So, bring a friend to the Spring Seminar! Attend the Spring Seminar with your colleagues!  Get the special group rate on your hotel reservation by registering for the conference through the CSOEMA website and by using the group code when making your lodging reservation. Visit the CSOEMA website to register for this event.

Member Highlights

ACOEM Update

Upcoming Events

CSOEMA 2024 100th Spring Seminar (Register here)Lisle, ILMarch 7-9, 2024
AOHC 2024 (Registration here)Orlando, FLMay 19-22, 2024

Future CSOEMA Seminars Survey: We seek your input to help plan future CSOEMA Seminars. 

We are considering consolidating CSOEMA Seminars into one large annual conference.

  • Should it be a virtual, in-person, or hybrid event?
  • How many days should it last?
  • Where should conferences take place?

Help us plan for future CSOEMA conferences by taking the survey by clicking here, or go to; or scan the QR code and enter Session ID: 152-356-924. The survey will remain active until March 2024



In Memoriam: Joseph “Joe” LaDou MD

Joseph “Joe” LaDou of Aspen, Colorado, died unexpectedly on November 10, 2023, after a brief illness. Joe was born on Aug. 19, 1938, in Salem, Oregon, to parents who had ventured west looking for opportunity during the Great Depression. He was raised in San Diego with his older sister and younger brother, then moved to San Francisco for medical school. Joe remained in the Bay Area for the rest of his career and raised his two daughters there.

Joe was an occupational and environmental medicine physician who started an occupational medical practice in 1967 in the area later known as Silicon Valley, and taught at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He was appointed the first Chief of the UCSF Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in 1983, where his continuing medical education courses taught more than 2,000 physicians over a period of twenty years. Joe made many contributions to the literature. He served as editor of the field’s major textbook, Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Occupational & Environmental Medicine, and was the founding editor of the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health. He authored nearly 100 peer-reviewed articles, the last one when he was 82 years old.

Joe was well known as a fierce advocate for workers in the United States and internationally and an inspiration for occupational and environmental health activists around the world. His activism began when he noticed patients in his clinic suffering from the effects of toxic chemicals commonly used by the semiconductor industry. He authored the first journal article exposing the semiconductor industry for its lack of worker protections. He was one of the founders of the International Campaign for Responsible Technology (ICRT). In the last month of his life, Joe presented a paper on the semiconductor industry at a conference in Italy, fulfilling his promise never to stop fighting for workers’ rights to a healthy workplace.

Joe later studied the global migration of hazardous materials, which led to international efforts to control occupational and environmental hazards around the world. He traveled to more than 50 countries, working with local public health agencies to develop programs to protect the health of workers. He did not hesitate to name multinational corporations and international agencies as causes of epidemics of worker illnesses. He was awarded the Ramazzini Award, conferred by the Collegium Ramazzini in Carpi, Italy, for his achievements in the field of occupational medicine in 1998, and the Harriet Hardy Award from the New England College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in 2005

In addition to his career accomplishments, Joe was widely known for his generosity, sense of humor, and mentorship. Colleagues knew him as the person who would connect anyone with just the right person or opportunity to further their career. In addition to helping people and making them laugh, his greatest joys in life were travel, good food, classical music, fine art, museums, and hiking. Joe moved to Aspen in 1993, after years of visiting in the summers to attend the Aspen Music Festival. His summers were about music; he rarely missed a performance. Joe hiked Aspen Mountain every morning, sun or snow, for 30 years.

Joe is survived by his daughters, Ana and Marisa, two granddaughters, his beloved sister, Leah, and many others who considered him family.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, please donate to the International Campaign for Responsible Technology (ICRT) or the Halo Trust.

Do you have a Milestone announcement to share?  Let us know about your birth, marriage, anniversary, promotion, or other life milestone by sending an email to: [email protected].

Residents Corner

We welcome and introduce the new Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residency Program PGY-2 residents in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN (Health Partners) and Chicago, IL (UIC) in the Central States region.

The seven states represented by the Central States Occupational and Environmental Medicine Association are home to two Occupational and Environmental Medicine residency programs. The HealthPartners Occupational Medicine Residency Program is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the University of Illinois at Chicago Occupational Medicine Residency Program is located in Chicago, Illinois. These programs aim to develop and train preventive medicine physicians in Public Health and Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Please contact the residency program directors for more information or visit the websites below.
Kim Hargis, MD, MPH
Program Director, Occupational Medicine Residency Program
University of Illinois at Chicago
835 S. Wolcott, MC 684
Chicago, Illinois 60612
[email protected]
Phone: 312-996-6765 | Fax: 312-413-8485
Zeke J. McKinney, MD, MHI, MPH, FACOEM
Program Director, HealthPartners Occupational Medicine Residency Program
HealthPartners West End Clinic
1665 Utica Ave. S., Ste. 100
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
[email protected]
Phone: 952-541-2607 | Fax: 952-541-2626

CSOEMA T-Shirts & Other SWAG

Order your CSOEMA T-shirts and other SWAG! (SWAG = Souvenirs, Wearables, and Gifts) Here’s your chance to own a wearable, functional, and collectible piece of CSOEMA SWAG!  The CSOEMA Store is open!  CSOEMA-branded items are available conveniently online to everyone. The CSOEMA Store offers clothing, drinkware, tote bags, and more. Items are available for purchase and shipping directly to your door. New designs and items will be added regularly.  Shop the online CSOEMA Store today! To access the online store, visit: 

Seeking Volunteers

As our regional component professional organization, CSOEMA operates through the support of members who contribute their time and leadership to make the organization successful. We always seek members to serve as Conference Co-Chairs, Board of Governors, and other committee members. Your participation lends your voice to the organization and gives back to the field of Occupational Medicine. Interested?  Let us know by sending an email to [email protected]

Support the CSOEMA Foundation

Don’t forget to support the CSOEM Foundation by making a charitable donation. The CSOEM Foundation supports CSOEMA by providing resident scholarships and other seminar-related expense support that would otherwise not be available. Donations made are tax-deductible and support the ongoing work of CSOEMA.

Are you interested in posting a job listing with CSOEMA?

Job postings will be listed on both the CSOEMA website and the CSOEMA Connection Newsletter and distributed once via email to the CSOEMA membership. Please send an email to: [email protected]

For members or sponsors:

For unaffiliated individuals/organizations:$300 for a 60-day advertisement period

CSOEMA Executive Committee

Laura Breeher, MD, MPH, MS, FACOEM, President
Francine Katz, DO, MPH, FACOEM, President-Elect
Isabel Pereira, DO, MPH, MSA, Vice President
Malgorzata B. Hasek, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACOEM, Secretary-Treasurer
William Wong, MD, MPH, FACP, FACOEM, Immediate Past President

CSOEMA Governors

Marcus Rushing, MD, MS Maria Starchook-Moore MDGovernors at Large: 2021-2024
Chris Iverson, MD MBA, MPHGovernors at Large: 2022-2025
Corey Cronrath, DO, MPH, CPE Kodjo Bossou, MD, MPHGovernors at Large: 2023-2026
Paul Malak MD (MO) Linda Go MD (WI)State Governors: 2021-2024
Vacant (MN), Claudia Corwin, MD, MPH (IA)State Governors: 2022-2025
Ambica Nakhasi, MD (IL) Christopher Smelser, DO, MPH, FACOEM (IN)State Governors: 2023-2026
Dominic Dabrowski, MD MPH (Health Partners Residency, MN)Resident Governor: 2023-2024

CSOEMA Connection Editorial Staff

William Wong, MD, MPH, FACP, FACOEM, Editor-in-Chief

Claudia Corwin, MD, MPH, FACOEM, Editor

Anitha Nimmagadda, MD, MPH, Editor

The CSOEMA Connection newsletter is the collaborative effort of CSOEMA members. It is a way for us to celebrate our members’ work, discuss important issues, and share information to support our mission. Allow your voice to be heard by contributing to this newsletter. If you have ideas for themes of future newsletter issues, have a tip for us about something (or someone) to feature, or just to let us know how we are doing, please reach out. Please send any contributions, questions, or comments to [email protected], or contact Susan Rittenhouse, CSOEMA Executive Director, at [email protected]