In 2013, ACOEM and SOM convened leaders from national occupational medical societies to discuss mutual issues in global occupational and environmental medicine (OEM) and established the International Occupational Medicine Society Collaborative (IOMSC). IOMSC’s mission is to improve workers’ health and workplace safety on a global scale. It provides OEM societies opportunities to gain the knowledge and expertise required of OEM physicians; tools/resources to educate their members; practices by what has been proven to work; and the ability to reach all global regions with more effective OEM care. Its active participants are delegates appointed by occupational medical organisations, world over, and currently includes 40 societies in 36 countries.Methods
IOMSC conducted a member survey (July 2015) to quantify the reach of IOMSC globally and identify common modes of OEM practice and key changes in the workplace. IOMSC plans to develop projects to address challenges identified (e.g., assist with education/training of physicians to share best practices; summarise scope of OEM practice in a position paper; develop guidebook on how to establish and promote the role of the society).Result
Survey results (n=21) indicated that OEM practitioners encounter similar challenges including the growing complexity of diseases/illnesses; rapid change in workforce and population trends; and shifting legislative and economic policies that impact the profession. Scope and delivery mode of OEM services varies widely among countries, being influenced by governmental/regulatory structures.Discussion
With IOMSC, OEM societies can create a strong case to explain the value of OEM to employers, workers, the medical community, and governments. IOMSC can help increase awareness of OEM in terms of using its preventive strategies and risk assessments to prevent injury/illness and helping employers understand the value of good health in enhancing productivity and profit. IOMSC is well positioned to address professional issues and advance OEM through education, sharing best practices, and advocacy.