Craig L. Gjerde

University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, United States

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Publications (2)2.89 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: This study assessed attitudes, knowledge and behavior related to respiratory health among 198 swine confinement operators, half of whom were assigned to an educational intervention and half of whom served as controls. The project identified significant gaps in knowledge regarding the swine confinement environment and the hazards posed by working in such an environment. Attitudes toward improving the environment were generally favorable, though barriers such as cost and time existed for some confinement operators. An educational program, consisting of six booklets mailed out at two-week intervals and a group meeting, resulted in significant knowledge gains for the intervention group in areas related to respiratory health and confinement. For example, while fewer than half of the participants recognized on the pretest the recommended levels of potentially hazardous substances such as dust, carbon monoxide, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, more than 85 percent recognized the recommended levels on the posttest. Evaluations of the units and the group meetings indicate that confinement operators have responded favorably to the project. Follow-up evaluation is underway to determine whether changes in knowledge have led to changes in behavior.
    The Journal of Rural Health 04/2008; 5(1):33 - 47. · 1.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Swine confinement workers participated in an educational intervention designed to improve knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to respiratory disease. The desired changes were (1) improvement in knowledge about recommended gas and dust levels in buildings and benefits of using properly fitted masks; (2) improvement of attitudes about wearing dust masks, taking safety precautions, and inspecting the ventilation and heating systems; and (3) improvement in behaviors such as regular inspection of buildings and wearing an appropriate dust mask or respirator. The health risks of failing to practice these behaviors include chronic bronchitis, occupational asthma, organic dust toxic syndrome, chronic sinusitis, and even death from acute toxicity related to hydrogen sulfide.An intervention group and a nonintervention group of swine confinement workers were assessed at the beginning of the project and one year later to determine changes brought about by an educational intervention. During that year, swine producers in the intervention group were mailed a series of six educational home-study modules and reference materials on confinement topics.Analysis of covariance and categorical repeated measures analysis were used to determine changes over time in the percentage of people who answered correctly in each group. Significant changes in knowledge scores, attitude scores, and reported behavior scores all favored the intervention group. The 14 statistically significant changes in knowledge items were related to dust mask use, manure pit safety, liquid manure agitation, building gas and dust norms, and recommended gas levels. The four attitudinal items that improved significantly concerned the importance of regular cleaning and upkeep, improving health and safety, knowing ways to keep buildings safer, and recognizing the benefits of wearing a dust mask. The four items about self-reported behavior changes included inspecting and servicing of building heaters, measuring building gases, and wearing a mask while working.Thus, important changes in the intervention group occurred in all three targeted areas—knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. The results lead to three conclusions: the educational materials were effective; swine producers are educable through a low-cost intervention; and educational intervention acan improve many factors related to the safety and health of confinement workers.
    The Journal of Rural Health 04/2008; 7(3):278 - 286. · 1.44 Impact Factor