University of Houston Wins National Business Award for Occupational Health Initiatives

dawnThe University of Houston made history in April as it became the first higher education institution to be named a recipient of the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) Business Recognition Award from the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses. 

The 2023 AAOHN Business Recognition Award recognizes a business that supports the health and safety of their workers through a strong Occupational Health and Safety Program. 

Dr. Dawn Mopkins, inaugural Director of Occupational Health Services since 2020, nominated UH for the award, highlighted the following key accomplishments for the university in the award submission, including the university’s creation of the Director of Occupational Health Services position in 2020 and Mopkins’ significant role in leading many aspects of the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This included managing the training and procedure oversight for the UH contact tracing team, overseeing the COVID-19 call center, managing the COVID-19 testing agreements, and leading the COVID-19 response group. Mopkins was also recognized by the A&F Division with a Spirit of Service Excellence Award in 2022, in honor of these many accomplishments. award

“It’s a huge honor, honestly. To be the first to come into a role like this. I can’t even describe it,” said Mopkins. “To be given that spotlight and that opportunity to shine, I’m beyond grateful.” 

Up next for the department is the Occupational Health Program pilot to be applied as a risk mitigation and regulatory compliance strategy for the university’s growing research and clinical activities. 

“The program will include the availability of occupational health-related services such as vaccination requirements, medical record keeping, and exposure control,” said Mopkins. “We also intend to promote the use of on-campus clinical services provided by the UH Health Family Care Center.” 

Due to being a pilot program, Occupational Health Services has selected one staff department, Animal Care Operations, and one college, College of Medicine, to offer these services. 

“Using a phased approach, our intent is to extend the availability of occupational health services to other departments and colleges in the future,” said Mopkins. “We anticipate that this program will be efficient, cost-effective, and a great service for the UH community. 

The department may be young, but its future is bright.