Upstate News

February 26, 2009
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

University opens Adirondack Regional Office to provide occupational health, safety services


SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Occupational Health Clinical Center (OHCC) of SUNY Upstate Medical University has opened an Adirondack Regional Office to offer services in the North Country, including medical evaluations of and treatments for work-related conditions and consultations on ways to reduce or eliminate potential health and safety hazards in the workplace. The office opened Feb. 24.

The regional office is a collaborative effort between SUNY Upstate and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center. Located at the Canton Physician and Imaging Center, 39 W. Main Street in Canton, it will serve workers, unions and businesses in the counties of St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Franklin, Lewis, Clinton and Essex.

“The Adirondack Regional Office will make it more convenient for our North Country patients to receive the services they deserve,” said Michael Lax, M.D., OHCC medical director and professor of family medicine at SUNY Upstate. Currently all patients are seen at the OHCC’s Syracuse office. “In addition, we can now reach a greater number of individuals who need our services, but who have been unable to travel the distance to Syracuse.”

Lax also hopes to expand OHCC’s reach to North Country businesses, unions and community organizations, offering assistance in modifying worksite and/or work habits to prevent employee health problems.
The OHCC/Adirondack Regional Office will be staffed by an occupational health physician, two nurse practitioners, a social worker and an industrial hygienist. Patients who require follow-up care, treatment, or additional tests will be referred to sites that are as close to their homes as possible.

Workplace health hazards can exist in a variety of settings, including schools, laundries, factories or office buildings. Occupational health conditions can be caused by repetitive tasks such as typing, construction or assembly work that can lead to muscle or skeletal pain. Workers can also be exposed to substances such as asbestos, chemicals, solvents, dust, metals or radiation, some of which can take 10 to 40 years to cause symptoms. Exceptionally noisy working conditions can produce hearing loss in workers.

The OHCC, one of eight occupational health clinics in the state, was established in 1987 through a state Department of Health grant awarded to SUNY Upstate Medical University. It is administered through SUNY Upstate’s Department of Family Medicine.

To schedule an appointment, call (315) 432-8899, or toll-free 800-432-9590 between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Group screenings are also possible for union members or those from a single workplace where conditions are producing similar symptoms.

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