Student Profiles

Justin LoPiccolo '13

Mentor:
Patrick Gallagher
Title of Project:
First Months of Disability

The purpose of this research is to investigate the Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work (SAW/RTW) process commonly used in the United States and Canada with special emphasis on the first few months after disability. Currently, workers with disabilities, who have the same diagnosis and treatment, have widely differing outcomes from SAW/RTW programs. The goal of this research is to identify factors or activities that have been proven to be effective, or that need to be improved, to reduce needless disabilities and to enhance Stay-at-Work and Return-to-Work efforts. The first phase of our FMod research identified broad activities that need improving to enhance the SAW/RTW process. There has been a gap in the RTW process that only exacerbates the lack of urgency among stakeholders because the needs of the worker are largely forgotten shortly after diagnosis. Also, stakeholder interaction needs to be better facilitated. Currently, there is no defined communication structure that respects stakeholders’ time. Future research will narrow focus on specific activities that will help us build tools that stakeholders can use.