Staff Profiles

Safety & Health Assessment & Research for Prevention (SHARP) — Research for Safe Work

SHARP's team of researchers offer expertise in economics, epidemiology, ergonomics, industrial hygiene, occupational medicine and nursing, safety, toxicology, and computer systems.

For additional information about the Safety & Health Assessment & Research for Prevention (SHARP) program, please contact us.





Darrin Adams is the Data Scientist for SHARP. Darrin graduated with a BS in Computer Science Engineering from the United States Military Academy. Darrin came to the Department of Labor & Industries in 1998 and has worked for the Data Warehouse Technical Team, and Actuarial Services.

Naomi Anderson is an Epidemiologist at SHARP. Naomi received her BA in Sociology from San Diego State University and her MPH in Epidemiology from UCLA. Naomi's research interests include epidemiologic study design/methodology, social and behavioral risk factors, and survey design/methodology. She works on Occupational Health Surveillance projects that collect, analyze and publish WA occupational health data, including occupational asthma, hospitalized burns, influenza-like illness, amputations, the CSTE Occupational Health Indicators for WA State, and WA Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data.

Stephen Bao is an Ergonomist in SHARP. Stephen received his Ph.D. and Licentiate both in Industrial Ergonomics from the Lule University of Technology, Sweden, an MS in Orthopaedic Biomechanics from Shanghai Second Medical University, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Shanghai Jiaotong University. Before joining SHARP in November, 1997, Stephen spent over 12 years in ergonomic research and consultation with the University of Waterloo (Canada), Advanced Ergonomics Inc. (Canada), Ergonomics Plus Inc. (Canada), Atlas Copco Tools (Sweden), the Swedish National Institute for Working Life, Lule University of Technology, and Tongji Medical University (China). Stephen's major research interests include physical exposure assessment and workplace ergonomics risk evaluation, ergonomics intervention and hand tool ergonomics.

David Bonauto is the occupational medicine physician and research director with SHARP. David did his undergraduate work at Bowdoin College in 1987 and did research in private industry from 1987 to 1989. He went to medical school at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons receiving his MD degree in 1993. He trained in Internal Medicine at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York receiving his board certification in 1996. After two years practicing as an internist, David did public health training at the University of Washington receiving his MPH in 2000. David is an associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington. David's interests are in occupational injury and illness surveillance, chemically related illness, occupational injury epidemiology, and work-related musculoskeletal disorders.

Randy Clark is a Safety & Health Specialist with the SHARP program. He has a BA from the Evergreen State College. He has been with the SHARP program since 1996.  Randy’s interests include the prevention of fatal and nonfatal occupational injuries. He currently works with SHARP’s Washington Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program.

Jena Cole is an Occupational Health & Safety Research Project Coordinator with SHARP. Jena graduated with a BA majoring in Economics from Western Washington University. She has 14 years of experience collaborating with employers, associations, retro groups, physicians and workers to reduce the impacts of occupational injuries and illnesses. Currently, Jena coordinates 2 federal research grant projects: Identifying Risk of Musculoskeletal Disorders in Home Health Care in Washington and the Trucking Injury Reduction Emphasis (TIRES) projects.

Michael Foley is an economist at SHARP. Prior to coming to SHARP in 1997, he was an assistant professor of economics at Reed College. His primary research interests include the health and safety implications of the growth of the contingent workforce, the long-term economic and social burden of occupational injuries, and evaluating the impact of occupational health and safety regulations on worker injury rates and costs. In addition, Michael assists with other SHARP projects, including workplace violence in healthcare and a study of the safety climate in Washington workplaces.

Ace Guerra is a Program Specialist in SHARP’s Trucking Injury Reduction Emphasis (TIRES) program. He received his BA from The Evergreen State College in 2015. He creates, produces, and delivers a range of promotional, educational, and informational presentations, and resource materials related to program activities and initiatives. Prior to joining SHARP, he served in the U.S. Army and worked as a Graphic Designer in his previous career.

Ninica Howard is an ergonomist at SHARP. She received her bachelor of science degree in kinesiology from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia and her MS in Work Environment from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. A major area of research for Ninica has been the identification and control work-related musculoskeletal injuries and disorders (WMSDs), including a 5-year prospective study of upper extremity WMSDs.  Since 2007, Ninica has been involved research in healthcare, including evaluating the impact of the Washington State Hospital Safe Patient Handling Law on injuries, safety climate and job satisfaction and acting as coordinator of the Washington State Safe Patient Handling Steering Committee.  She has conducted field research in numerous industries, including manufacturing, construction, agriculture, hospitals, nursing homes and home health care.  Her interests lie in the development and application of ergonomic exposure assessment, macro-ergonomics, safety climate and culture, and musculoskeletal epidemiology.

Paul Karolczyk is a safety and health specialist in SHARPs Trucking Injury Reduction Emphasis program. He has a PhD in geography with an anthropology concentration from Louisiana State University, and a MS in geography and BS in industrial technology with a specialization in environmental and occupational safety and health from Central Connecticut State University. He studied human, technology, and environment interaction and is skilled in mixed-methods research and GIS.

Suzanne Kelly has served as the Data Manager for SHARP since January 2016. She has a BA from The Evergreen State College with emphases in computer applications, history, and visual art. Prior to coming to SHARP, Suzanne worked for the Walla Walla Community College and the Washington State Legislature, providing technical/application and data management support as well as information graphic and web design. Her areas of interest include user interface design and the art of data presentation.

Claire LaSee joined the SHARP team in February 2016 and is an epidemiologist in the Occupational Respiratory Disease Surveillance Program. She received a dual MPH/MSW from Washington University in St. Louis (MO) and holds a BA from St. Olaf College (MN). Prior to SHARP, Claire worked as an epidemiologist at the Washington State Department of Health. Claire’s research interests include study design, social determinants of health, disparities in health and healthcare access, and evidence-based decision making.

Jia-Hua Lin is an ergonomist with SHARP. His expertise includes laboratory research, biomedical instrumentation, motion analysis, and computer programming. Currently, his research involves ergonomics and occupational biomechanics in upper extremities, strength and capacity, human-machine interface (e.g., pallet jack, medicine cart, steering wheel, crank), occupational safety and health, musculoskeletal disorders. Prior to joining SHARP in 2014, he has been active in occupational safety research for more than 13 years. His collaborations extend to domestic and international universities and hospitals. He is an associate editor for the journal Applied Ergonomics. A member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, and a BCPE certified professional ergonomist, Dr. Lin graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Ph.D. and M.S. in industrial engineering. He earned his B.S. in electrical engineering from the National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan.

Brenda Linke is SHARPs Administrative Assistant. She joined SHARP in June 2017, but has been in state service since 2012 in administrative support positions. Her duties involve supporting staff in day to day operations and participating in specific program and committee projects.

Jennifer Marcum is an epidemiologist that joined SHARP in 2015. Jennifer received her MS in 2006 and DrPH in 2010 from the University of Kentucky, where she studied neurodegenerative diseases and agricultural-related injuries among older adults. She completed an internship at the CDCs National Center for Injury Prevention and Control in 2009 and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists applied epidemiology fellowship in 2012. Jennifer has over 5 years experience in injury surveillance at the state and local government setting, where her work focused primarily on falls among older adults, motor vehicle-related injury, violence, and poisonings. She looks forward to research and surveillance of work-related injury and illness to identify practical ways to make the workplace a safe environment for Washingtons workers.

Elyette Martin joined the SHARP program in February 2013. She holds a bachelor degree from the University of Washington. As a Spanish bilingual Safety and Health Specialist, she serves as the SHARP program's Spanish liaison and as a contact point on workplace bullying issues. Her occupational safety and health work supports many projects focused on improving the lives of Washington workers. Elyette regularly travels the state as part of the SHARP field team and interviews injured workers and business leaders to learn more about the safety and health challenges they face. During her time with SHARP, she has helped develop educational tools for injury prevention for many industries. Her interests are focused on putting research into practice.

Cathy Nevitt is SHARPs Operations Manager. She manages SHARPs budget, procurement, contracts, administrative staff, compliance with state and federal grant and research regulations, and SHARP's administrative processes. Cathy joined SHARP in 2007. She has a BA in Political Science from Western Washington University. Before coming to L&I, Cathy was a Project Coordinator for the Western Institutional Review Board.

Christina Rappin is a research investigator with SHARP, and currently works with the Washington Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program. She received a BAS from the Evergreen State College and has a background in experimental cognitive psychology. Her previous work at SHARP has supported projects studying occupational injury among temporary workers and occupational injury and illness reporting. Her interests include using available data to inform and develop effective safety education and prevention materials, and the evaluation of outreach and intervention efforts.

Amanda Robinson is a research analyst at SHARP. Joining SHARP in 2016, she contributes to various projects, including coordination of the ABLES project. She has a BA in Business and Public Administration from The Evergreen State College. Prior to working at L&I, Amanda worked for a local software company.

Todd Schoonover has a PhD in Industrial Hygiene from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Todd has specialized training in industrial hygiene, air quality management, and statistics. He is a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) and Certified Safety Professional (CSP). Todd has research experience in several occupational environments including; agriculture processing, animal laboratories, welding, and wood working facilities. His research interests involve the assessment of complex occupational exposures and the investigation of less invasive biomarkers of occupational exposures, health effects, and the development of respiratory diseases. At SHARP, Todd is currently working on the fatality assessment and occupational lead exposure surveillance projects.

Barbara Silverstein served as SHARP’s Research Director from 1991 through August of 2013. In retirement, Barbara is a part-time epidemiologist with SHARP. She received her MS degree in nursing from the University of California San Francisco, her MPH in Epidemiology and Environmental and Industrial Health from the University of Michigan, and her Ph.D. in Epidemiologic Science from the University of Michigan. She has worked on ergonomics-related issues at OSHA, the University of Michigan Center for Ergonomics, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, and the California Department of Health Services. Her major areas of research have been identification and control of work-related musculoskeletal disorders, comparison of surveillance methods and intervention studies to control these disorders. She has conducted field research in a number of industries, including electronics, meat, poultry and fish processing, newspaper publishing, appliance manufacturing, medical equipment manufacturing, office work environment, pulp and paper mills, aluminum mills, automotive manufacturing.

Caroline Smith is an epidemiologist in SHARP. Caroline received her Masters' in Public Health from the University of Washington, and is currently pursuing her PhD in Sociology, Social Inequalities in Health at Portland State University. Caroline's research interests include the health and safety of truck drivers, as well as occupational health disparities for racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants and other vulnerable populations. Caroline is also interested in the areas of medical sociology, labor and organizational sociology and quantitative and qualitative research methods. Caroline currently supports the Washington Occupational Surveillance Program, as the project director for the Trucking Injury Reduction Emphasis (TIRES), and the Occupational Health Disparities programs in SHARP.

Carolyn Reeb Whitaker is a certified industrial hygienist at SHARP.   She has an MS in Exposure Sciences from the University of Washington and a BA in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic.  She has occupational experience in several industrial environments including including collision repair, wood product manufacturing, and construction.   Her primary research area is respiratory disease including exposure assessment for industrial coatings and paints, isocyanates, solvents, carbon monoxide, methylene chloride, food flavorings and hop dust.   Her past research experience has been in the areas of noise exposure in construction workers and laboratory animal allergy in a mouse breeding facility.  Carolyn currently supports SHARP’s asthma surveillance program and the chemical and biological hazards project.

Sara Wuellner is an Epidemiologist at SHARP. She received her MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Illinois and her BA in sociology from the University of Chicago. Her previous research experience includes water-borne illness, air pollution, and health service disparities. She is interested in epidemiologic study methodology, especially longitudinal data and time series analysis, and multisource surveillance systems. Currently she is working to increase case ascertainment through improved occupational health surveillance systems.

Nanette Yragui is an Occupational Health Research Psychologist at SHARP. She received her PhD from Portland State University in Systems Science: Psychology with a minor in occupational health psychology. She conducts research on workplace aggression prevention in healthcare and other settings. In her work as a behavioral scientist she focuses her research on workplace aggression, work-life effectiveness, employee stress and health, and social support. In addition, she develops interventions to address these issues. The specific focus of her research is the manner in which organizations influence employee perceptions and behaviors, particularly in terms of physical and psychological aggression, work-life, and work and health behaviors. She examines the benefit of positive organizational cultures as well as the social support benefit of positive interpersonal relationships at work. In addition, Dr. Yragui investigates how negative interpersonal interactions are an important workplace stressor that can lead to poor work and well-being outcomes. Dr. Yragui has recently completed a workplace aggression prevention intervention project in healthcare funded by a grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

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