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Occupational Medicine Resident Program

Through IAFF convention action in 1986, the occupational medicine residency program was established. The Johns Hopkins University, in conjunction with the IAFF, supports full-time medical residents each for a two-month rotation in the IAFF Department of Occupational Health and Safety.

Throughout the two month rotation, the IAFF provides the occupational physician with a thorough understanding of the breadth and depth of occupational issues for fire fighters, an understanding of the hazards associated with fire fighting, and an appreciation for labor unions in the support of organized workers, especially fire fighters. In addition it is anticipated the resident will leave the IAFF with an understanding of the issues of federal Right-to-Know legislation and the role of unions within the health care system.

Specific projects were identified for residents to complete, and an overall project for the entire program are being finalized and incorporated into the program. The IAFF is attempting to challenge the occupational residents' skills of information management, communication, worker education, and research and data assimilation throughout the course of their rotation. Specific projects and daily activities of the residency program include the following:

Technical Medical Assistance
Medical residents will address in a timely manner the daily issues of concern for fire fighters' health and safety. These issues are commonly related to contagious diseases, occupational illness and disease, physical fitness and job-related medical certification for duty. Medical evaluations and on-site visits of precedent setting worker's compensation issues may be necessary during the residents two-month tenure.

Development of Educational Materials
Educational components of the medical residency are very important to the IAFF. The ability to successfully educate the membership on the health and safety concerns for fire fighters is a strong resource in the reduction of work-related injuries and the elevation of the fire fighters health status. Educational components are varied and include primarily:

  • update and development of kits on pertinent issues for fire fighters; health
  • assistance in the development of regional seminar and human relations curricula
  • ability to recommend quality books and journals for the resource library available to health and safety staff and medical residents
  • development of articles on current occupational health issues of concern for the membership to be published in the IAFF Leader and the International Fire Fighter

Educational Presentations
Medical residents may be provided the opportunity to relay information to the membership by participating in and conducting work shops at: regional seminars, Human Relations Conference, HazMat workshops, video conferences, court testimony and through journalistic reporting.

Residents are called upon to make educational presentations to fire fighter conferences on topics such as infectious diseases, occupational cancer and cardiovascular disease. The development of slides and outlines of talks would assist residents in their presentations.

The residents also develop educational presentations regarding health and safety issues to be used by IAFF representatives at conferences. The medical resident will develop outlines and lesson plans for presentations, slide presentations and other appropriate audio/visual aids, and create a file with relevant research.

Lobbying Activities for Federal,
State, and Provincial Governments
Medical residents may be required to provide legislative testimony on such issues as occupational disease, cancer presumption, and contagious disease engineering controls of benefit to fire fighters and emergency medical responders.

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