Author and researcher Karen Messing, M.Sc., PhD, to speak at Workers’ Memorial Week event April 18, 19

Author and researcher Karen Messing, MSc, PhD, who shifted her focus from genes to women’s occupational health hazards and ergonomics, is one of two headliners for Upstate Medical University’s events to recognize Workers’ Memorial Week (April 23 to 30).

All events, held in April and May, are co-presented by Upstate’s Occupational Health and Clinical Centers (OHCC).

Messing is presenting two free, public lectures, “Invisible suffering: The reality of women’s health and safety on the job”:

  • Tuesday, April 18 at 7 p.m. in the Bundy Museum Annex, 129 Main St. Binghamton; and
  • Wednesday. April 19 at 7 p.m. at ArtRage, the Norton Putter Gallery, 505 Hawley Ave. Syracuse.

Messing’s findings about women’s occupational health hazards have had effects around the world, transforming the attitudes of researchers and trade unionists to gender issues. Besides her many studies and presentations, she is the author of “Pain and Prejudice: What Science Can Learn about Work from the People Who Do It” and “One-Eyed Science: Occupational Health and Women Workers.” They illustrate the pain and suffering of women workers in vivid case studies about the health hazards for women on the job, and reflections on lessons learned from doing the research. The hazards and their effects include musculoskeletal disorders or injuries, the hazards of office work, emotional stressors, and reproductive hazards.

Messing received her MSc degree in genetics in 1970 and a PhD in biology in 1975 from McGill University, Montreal. She achieved an ergonomics degree from the prestigious Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, Paris, France in 1991. She is Professeure émérite, Département des sciences biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal.

Other events include:

  • A public gathering to honor 42 people known to have died in the region last year from work-related injuries. The public is invited to gather Friday, April 28 from noon to 1 p.m. in Clinton Square, Syracuse;
  • A free, public talk by the award-winning photographer Earl Dotter Monday, May 1 at 7 p.m. at ArtRage Gallery; and
  • the exhibition, “At All Costs: Photographs of American Workers by Earl Dotter,” which is on display through May 20 at ArtRage Gallery.

Dotter has photographed American workers for more than 40 years. From the Appalachian coalfields in the early 1970s, to fishing villages, farm fields, auto plants, health care facilities and fire houses, he puts a human face on those who labor, often in dangerous and unhealthy conditions. In 2007, his Coal Mining series was added to the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery, at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. The Occupational Health Clinical Center of Syracuse is the primary collaborator on this exhibition; most of the photos in the exhibit come from their private collection. Visit ArtRage Gallery for event and film listings during this exhibition.

“We are honored to host these two distinguished individuals whose work is about the hazards of so many often-invisible workers,” said Dorothy Wigmore, director, Outreach and Education, Occupational Health Clinical Center, Syracuse. “It’s a chance for us to integrate local health and safety issues with what others have experienced and continue to face. And it’s a chance to talk about the possibilities for preventing the tragedies of job-related injuries, diseases and deaths.”

Combined, the events are presented by the Occupational Health Clinical Centers of Syracuse, the Southern Tier, and the North Country; ArtRage Gallery; Broome Tioga Green Party; the Workers’ Center of the Southern Tier; Be the Change; Upstate Department of Family Medicine; 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East; the CNY Area Labor Federation AFL-CIO; and the Workers’ Center of CNY, as well as other sponsors and benefactors.

Upstate’s Occupational Health and Clinical Centers form a regional center of excellence in occupational medicine in Central and Northern New York State. In a unique combination, medical, social work, and health and safety professionals work with outreach and education and administrative staff to diagnose and treat workers with job-related illnesses and injuries, and to prevent others getting sick, hurt or dying because of work.

Caption: Author and researcher Karen Messing, M.Sc., PhD, will address women’s occupational health hazards at two lectures in recognition of Workers’ Memorial Week.

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