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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Center for Health Services & Outcomes Research
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Manufacturing and Health

The goal of the Manufacturing and Health program, led by Megan McHugh, PhD, is to generate evidence to improve the health of manufacturing employees and communities, and reduce healthcare costs for companies.

Employees of manufacturing firms earn higher wages than workers in other industries, and are more likely to be offered health benefits.  However, manufacturing employees have higher rates of poor health behaviors, including smoking, physical inactivity, binge drinking, and inadequate sleep.  The detrimental health profile of manufacturing workers is related, in part, to their work, which is physically demanding, and often involves long and unpredictable hours.  It also stems from characteristics of their communities; many manufacturing communities struggle with opioid use, violence, and family and social dysfunction. The health profile of manufacturing workers and manufacturing communities has tremendous impact on companies in terms of recruitment, productivity, and health care spending.

What we do:

  • Design and evaluate interventions to improve the value of health spending by employers
  • Conduct interviews and focus groups with company leaders, managers, and front-line employees to obtain perspectives on emerging issues
  • Assess the current state of evidence on health and wellness benefit designs and other workforce policies
  • Monitor trends in community health, and estimate the impact of community health on company success
  • Analyze company health claims to identify areas for improvement in benefit design and employee health

Latest research reports:


Contact Us

For more information, contact Megan McHugh, PhD.

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