2021 NORA Symposium - Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety Education and Research Center

2021 NORA Symposium


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 NORA Symposium will be held online via ZOOM.


With concern about virus variants, yet the hope of vaccination, what messages should we be providing to employers and their workers?

What steps are needed to prepare for workers to return to work in-person?


Join Dr. Michael Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), to understand the latest developments of the pandemic and explore options for protecting the workforce. Following his talk, a panel of experts representing workers from agriculture, health care and retail trade industries will discuss measures to keep employees safe in light of health inequities.


  • Define the potential risks for contracting COVID-19 among employees returning to in-person work.
  • Identify ways to decrease transmission of COVID-19 across a range of work environments.
  • Describe challenges relative to COVID-19 among low-resource worker populations.


12:00pm – 3:00pm Central

Availability is limited. Please register in advance.

The webinar will be recorded for later viewing.

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Virtual poster session on occupational health and safety research by MCOHS- and UMASH-sponsored students and partners.

Keynote Presentation: Dr. Michael Osterholm

Panelist Presentation and Q&A


Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH
Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP)
Professor, Environmental Health Sciences, University of Minnesota School of Public Health

Dr. Osterholm is Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, a professor in the Technological Leadership Institute, College of Science and Engineering, and an adjunct professor in the Medical School, all at the University of Minnesota.  From November 2020 until Inauguration Day 2021, he served on President-elect Joe Biden’s 13-member Transition COVID-19 task force.

Dr. Osterholm has been an international leader on the critical concern regarding our preparedness for an influenza pandemic, and is a frequently invited guest lecturer on the topic of epidemiology of infectious diseases.  He is the author of the New York Times best-selling 2017 book, Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs.  He has served in lead roles in infectious disease investigation, bioterrorism, and public health preparedness at State, Federal and International levels, and has received numerous honors and awards, including several major research awards from the NIH and the CDC.



Amira Adawe

 Amira Adawe, MPH
Founder and Executive Director, The Beautywell Project

Amira Adawe has over 14 years experience working in public health including local, state and community-based public health programs, research and policy. She is the Founder and Executive Director of The Beautywell Project, a non-profit organization that aims to combat skin lightening and chemical exposures as well as addressing other environmental impacts and improving community health literacy in Minnesota and nationwide.  She is the host of Beauty-Wellness Talk at KALY radio and podcast.  She previously managed the Minnesota Children’s Cabinet of Governor Mark Dayton, where she worked on early childhood in all policies and systems using an equity lens.

Amira is an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. As a public health researcher, her research interests include women and children’s health in the areas of access to health care, skin-lightening practices and chemical exposures.  Her work has been featured on local, national and international media.

Jonathan Sellman

 Jonathan Sellman, MD, MPH
Occupational Environmental Medicine Consultant & Clinic Medical Director, HealthPartners Medical Group
Medical Director, Regions Hospital Employee Health

Dr. Jonathan Sellman is an occupational and environmental medicine physician who is also board certified in infectious diseases and internal medicine. He is an Occupational Environmental Medicine Consultant and Clinic Medical Director with HealthPartners Medical Group, and Medical Director with Regions Hospital Employee Health.

Dr. Sellman previously worked as an infectious diseases doctor for 15 years.  His interests include occupational infectious diseases, the “One Health” approach, which is the overlap of human, animal and environmental health, emerging infections and agricultural medicine.

Lourdes Villanueva

 Lourdes Villanueva
Director of Farmworker Advocacy, Redlands Christian Migrant Association

Lourdes Villanueva is the Director of Farmworker Advocacy at Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA), an organization that serves farmworker families in Florida.  She held multiple positions with RMCA prior to her current role.

At the age of 11, Ms. Villanueva and her family came to the US to harvest fruit and vegetables. In the early 1980s, Ms. Villanueva, then the mother of three, came to RCMA because she wanted a safe place for her children to be cared for while she and her husband harvested tomatoes. She went on to become RCMA staff, got her GED, went to community college and eventually earned her bachelor’s degree.

Lourdes has received numerous awards for her advocacy and commitment to farmworkers and their families, including the prestigious Ohtli Award from the Mexican Consulate. Ms. Villanueva is proud to come from a migrant farmworker family and wants to ensure that today’s children and families receive the same opportunities she did.

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This event is co-sponsored by the Midwest Center for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center (MCOHS) and the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH)