Sunshine Education & Research Center



Psychological & Emotional Wellness in Uncertain Times: A Virtual Experience for Teachers and Families

Teaching, a profession already marked by stress, finds itself further challenged in the face of COVID-19. Whether adjusting to online education or worrying over in-person education, educators face unprecedented challenges. A webinar delivered by experts in psychology will prepare teachers for a successful and emotionally healthy academic year.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Recognize signs of emotional exhaustion.
  2. Identify and practice adaptive emotion regulation strategies.
  3. Apply mindfulness to work-related stressors.
  4. Identify values related to work that can assist with coping with stress.

Increasing Mindfulness to Improve Workplace Safety presented by Kristin Horan, Ph.D. Many employees and organizations have heard about the topic of “mindfulness,” or a nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment. There are numerous health-related and work-performance benefits associated with mindfulness, including safety-related benefits. Yet, knowing about mindfulness and being mindful are two different things, especially when you consider the demands placed on educators during these uncertain times. Employees are simply too stressed or too busy to be mindful. This presentation offers a practical view on mindfulness in the workplace, presenting a case study on the safety-related benefits of mindfulness and offering hands-on exercises and practical tools to increase mindfulness in the workplace.

Navigating the Emotional Demands of Work presented by Kelsey L. Merlo, Ph.D. Work is emotional. It can be frustrating, exciting, boring, and inspiring ‐ sometimes all within the same day! This session will address the role of emotional experiences within our work lives as it relates to worker health and performance. Strategies for mitigating the short‐ and long‐term effects of emotional work will be addressed.

Link to Presentation Slides:

Link to Flyer:


Speaker Profiles:

Picture of Horan Kristin

Kristin Horan is an Assistant Professor of Industrial Organizational Psychology at the University of Central Florida. She earned her Ph.D. from Bowling Green State University in 2018. Her research focuses on improving the health, safety, and well-being of the workforce. She performs research on how to improve safety and health programming in the workplace, unique health and safety needs of high-risk occupations, and the relationship between work and health.

Picture of Kelsey Merlo

Kelsey L. Merlo, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Industrial-Organizational Psychology program at the University of South Florida. Her research captures the day-to-day psychological experience of working as it unfolds in the moment and across time. In particular, she explores the influence of emotions on worker functioning in the moment, the accumulation of emotional experiences to the end of the day, and the reflection over emotional events in the form of self-defining memories. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed outlets (e.g., Journal of Business and Psychology, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology) and featured in popular press outlets like Psychology Today.

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Dr. Thomas Cunningham is a behavioral scientist and the Chief of the Social Science and Translation Research Branch in the Division of Science Integration of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).He also coordinates the NIOSH Services Sector Program and Translation Research Program. His research addresses intervention development and research translation for safety and health applications in construction, health care, and several small business sectors. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in clinical psychology from Virginia Tech.


Silicosis – old disease, new exposures, regulation for prevention!

Silicosis is the oldest known pneumoconiosis, yet new exposures, like countertop manufacturing, and new outbreaks are continuing to occur. In 2017, OSHA enacted expanded silica standards, including medical surveillance requirements. Dr. Kathleen Fagan and Joan Spencer will discuss the new standards, describe recent clusters of severe silicosis, and review the health effects of silica exposure.

Dr. Kathleen Fagan is a physician, Board Certified in Occupational Medicine. She received her medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and completed an internship and residency in Occupational Medicine at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, including a Masters in Public Health. She practiced clinical occupational medicine in Cleveland, Ohio for over 25 years, after which she joined the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as a medical officer in 2009. She retired from OSHA in 2019 and is now doing part-time consulting work in occupational medicine.

Joan Spencer is presently employed as the Compliance Assistance Specialist in the Tampa Area Office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Ms. Spencer provides advice, education and training to businesses, labor organizations and other associations to promote voluntary compliance with OSHA's safety and health standards. Prior to her compliance assistance position, Ms. Spencer conducted both safety and health enforcement inspections for OSHA in the manufacturing, service, construction and maritime industries. Ms. Spencer holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Tampa and a Master of Public Health in Industrial Hygiene/Safety Management from the University of South Florida. The American Board of Industrial Hygiene certified Ms. Spencer in 1994.


Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction:

Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for General Industry and Maritime:

National Emphasis Program – Respirable Crystalline Silica: