Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Department of Safety Sciences and Concurrent Technologies Corporation are collaborating to conduct research on COVID-19 readiness and response of mid-size Pennsylvania companies.

Members of IUP's Department of Safety Sciences and CTC collaborated on an extensive literature review and methodology, including a survey that will examine workplace and personal variables that influence the perception of readiness and response to COVID-19 by workers. CTC is working to solicit companies to participate in the project. IUP will be conducting the data analysis.

“Distilling lessons from this pandemic, while still fresh, will provide resources for other investigations and response to future emergencies,” IUP's Principal Investigator and Associate Professor of Safety Sciences Wanda Minnick said. “The work with CTC builds on historic activities connecting the university and the nonprofit's Safety and Occupational Health professional services.”

Tracey Cekada, chair of the Department of Safety Sciences, and Safety Sciences faculty member Luz Marin will join Minnick on the project. Marin's experience in epidemiology and data analysis complements Cekada's and Minnick's experience in disaster preparedness.

“It's a natural connection to work together on this topic to learn from the pandemic and inform evidence-based approaches for other emergencies,” CTC's senior director of Enterprise Process Solutions and CTC lead on the research Greg Jablunovsky said. “After surveying CTC's own employees, and learning a lot from it, we recognized the importance of learning more broadly from this event, unprecedented in our lifetime. IUP's world-class reputation and our historic collaboration in safety and occupational health made them our first choice. IUP's team is a great match for our expert safety management system professionals to work together to collect lessons and advance critical safety and occupational health elements in emergency and disaster response.”

Three members of the CTC team working on the project are IUP Safety Sciences graduates: James Heidenthal, who graduated in 1994; Brandon Hody, who has both a bachelor's degree (2012) and a master's degree (2015); and Lori Schroth, a 2007 graduate. They will be joined on the CTC team by Kimberly Hollins and Benjamin Lacy. Hody is a 2018 recipient of IUP's Young Alumni Achievement Award.

A mailing to companies in Pennsylvania to inquire about interest in participation will begin soon. Companies that agree to participate return a permission form, and IUP project members will send the company a link to the survey. Data analysis will take place at IUP in the fall.

Analysis of survey results is intended to discover and describe patterns in preparedness and response among mid-size companies across Pennsylvania and may be published; however, participating companies and their employees will remain anonymous.

Companies wishing to participate anonymously may contact:

Wanda Minnick, PhD, CSP
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
1010 Oakland Ave, Indiana, PA 15705

Gregory Jablunovsky, MS, PMP
Sr. Director, Enterprise Process Solutions
Concurrent Technologies Corporation
100 CTC Drive
Johnstown, PA 15904
Office: 814-269-6497
Cell: 814-525-2024

About Concurrent Technologies Corporation

Concurrent Technologies Corporation is an independent, nonprofit, applied scientific research and development professional services organization. Together with our affiliates, Enterprise Ventures Corporation and CTC Foundation, we leverage research, development, test, and evaluation work to provide transformative, full lifecycle solutions. To best serve our clients' needs, we offer the complete ability to fully design, develop, test, prototype, and build. We deliver robust, technical, and innovative solutions that safeguard our national security, retain US technological advantage, and ensure the primacy of American manufacturing. For more information about CTC, visit Concurrent Technologies Corporation.

About the IUP Department of Safety Sciences

IUP's program in Safety, Health, and Environmental Applied Sciences is the program of choice for industry partnerships in the global safety, health, and environmental professions. It is consistently recognized as one of the top programs in the nation, most recently ranked as third in the nation by The Department of Safety Sciences has grown to be the only institution in Pennsylvania to offer three degree programs in safety sciences; an ABET-accredited BS in Safety, Health, and Environmental Applied Sciences; an MS in Safety Sciences that is a qualified academic program per the Board of Certified Safety Professionals; and the nation's only hybrid PhD in Safety Sciences (primarily distance learning classes supplemented by summer workshops). The program prepares students for work in a wide range of areas, including manufacturing, oil and gas, insurance, healthcare, construction, distribution, government, transportation, and the service industry. The Department is home to the Pennsylvania Occupational Safety and Health Administration (PA/OSHA) Consultation Program, which provides a variety of trainings and informational offerings, as well as on-site evaluations.

The Department of Safety Sciences at IUP was formed in 1969 through a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health grant. The purpose of the grant was to establish a baccalaureate program in safety management for academic preparation of students to become safety professionals in industry, government, and institutional settings. IUP's program is believed to be one of the first safety programs in the nation and one of the only programs offering degrees through the doctoral level.