Paul Monaghan, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, University of Florida

Last updated on May 20th, 2024 at 11:06 am

Since 1999, I have collaborated with farmworker communities to investigate ways to make the agricultural workplace safer. I am an anthropologist by training, and I apply the methods of ethnography and participant observation to uncover the barriers to better safety in one of the most dangerous occupations in the country. I have used a community based social marketing approach to guide this research along with program development and evaluation. Social marketing focuses on defining audience segments, targeting their barriers to change, and using best practices to foster adoption of safety behaviors. This approach recognizes the limitations of planned change in the agricultural workplace, which is dangerous by nature but made more problematic due to piece-rate work, worker vulnerability and a lack of safety regulation and enforcement. I worked closely with the Farmworker Association of Florida to develop pesticide safety materials for nursery employees, and a successful safety eyewear campaign for citrus harvesters. Recently, through a CDC/NIOSH grant, my change lab and community partners conducted several heat safety studies to develop an approach to changing worker behavior
through peer coaching called PROTECTORES.

I also have ongoing research in documenting the geographic vulnerabilities of immigrant farmworker communities in Florida and uncovering the barriers to better heat appropriate clothing for use in the fields. This latter research is in collaboration with the University of Illinois Chicago, Great Lakes Center for Farmworker Health and Wellbeing and focuses on the growing number of immigrant agricultural workers in the Midwest. I have a large percentage of my academic time devoted to Cooperative Extension and I encourage the dissemination of these findings and best practices through my discipline.

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