Occupational and environmental exposures impact all people, however, certain populations are at greater risk, including children, young workers, and those working in hazardous industries, which often include immigrant workers who may have additional risk factors. My research activities include both basic and applied research to identify, characterize, and prevent occupational and environmental illness and injury in high-risk populations.
My early research activities were focused on the design, development, and validation of computerized test methods to quantify cognitive and neurological performance among human populations. Over the past decades, computerized testing has reshaped the field of neurotoxicology by providing standardized test administration, allowing measurement of response latencies, and reducing the amount of resources needed to conduct field research. I co-developed the Behavioral Assessment and Research System (BARS), a computer-based neurobehavioral test system which is used widely by other investigators around the world.
Recognizing that worker training is often used as a method for reducing occupational exposures and injuries, my colleagues and I developed an online training system, cTrain, that improves upon other training approaches by incorporating behavioral learning principles.
Agricultural Safety and Health
As one of the three most hazardous industries, there are many risks associated with working in agriculture, including the risk of injury and exposure to chemicals. Pesticides, particularly organophosphorus pesticides (OPs), are widely used throughout the world. However, research examining neurobehavioral effects of OP exposure initially focused on acute effects in adults; few studies have examined the impact of low-level chronic exposure, particularly in children and adolescents. My research examines the impact of low-level occupational exposure to organophosphorus pesticides in adult and adolescent farmworkers.
Health Promotion and Health Protection
Recognizing the impact that lifestyle factors, such as diet, physical activity, and stress, can have on the health of safety of workers, there is a growing need to examine the effects of these complex social, biological, and psychological exposures. Once well characterized, interventions to reduce their impact on the health of workers must be developed and evaluated. These research needs align directly with the NIOSH Total Worker Health initiative, focused on the integration of workplace wellness with traditional occupational safety and health.
Dr. Rohlman received her doctoral degree in Experimental Psychology from Bowling Green State University. Her background is in cognitive psychology. She is co-founder of Northwest Education Training and Assessment. Dr. Rohlman joined the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health in the University of Iowa College of Public Health in 2012. Prior to this, she was a faculty member at the Oregon Institute for Occupational Health Sciences (formerly known as the Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology, or CROET). She is Director of the graduate program in Agricultural Safety and Health and the Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest at the University of Iowa.