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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UGA: Study Offers Lessons on Conducting Meaningful Multi-disciplinary Research

Work is central to the lives of most Americans, and the environment of a workplace can have a major influence on people’s health and safety. Likewise, the wellbeing of employees impacts the success of a business. So, how can the workplace best support both employer and employee?

These are the kinds of questions the Workplace Health Group (WHG) at the University of Georgia are trying to answer.

Originally formed over 20 years ago, the group has tackled a range of workplace-based issues like obesity and chronic disease, workplace safety, and the cost effectiveness of employee health and safety initiatives.

Now, an article appearing in American Psychology takes on the WHG as a case study, describing how the team’s experiences align with what science knows about building a successful multidisciplinary research group.

Based in the University of Georgia College of Public Health, the team is made up of faculty and graduate students who represent public health, psychology, management, sociology, human resources, nutrition, and kinesiology.

“We could talk about a lot of different issues from the opioid crisis to climate change,”said WHG director and co-founder  Dr. Mark Wilson. “The only way we’re going to tackle them is to have different teams in place with a diversity of perspectives that enable us to move forward.”

Over time, the WHG has demonstrated that their methods work. The group has received over $13 million in external funding, published over 60 papers and 14 book chapters, and their expertise has been sought after large companies like Home Depot, Union Pacific Railroad, and Dow Chemical.

As a case study, WHG’s experience serves to confirm and expand knowledge surrounding team science.

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