Turning great ideas into healthier communities

Barbara Materna, PhD

Chief of the Occupational Health Branch in the California Department of Public Health

Barbara Materna is the chief of the Occupational Health Branch in the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). She was previously chief of CDPH's  Occupational Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. 

Materna's primary work has been as an industrial hygienist within local and state public health agencies. She has worked on research and education projects on occupational heatlh topics including lung disease among flavor-manufacturing workers; respiratory protection for health care workers; toxic exposures of wildland firefighters, prevention of pesticide illness in agriculture; ergonomics and back injury prevention; and perchloroethylene exposure of dry cleaners. 

Materna holds a doctorate in environmental health sciences from the University of California at Berkeley. She obtained her master's degree in environmental health sciences at Hunter College, City University of New York.

e-Cigarette Vape Shops Study

In cooperation with the Environmental Health Investigations Branch (EHIB) and the Occupational Health Branch (OHB), PHI will conduct an exploratory field study to investigate and characterize workplace practices and chemical exposures in three to five San Francisco-area vape shops where e-cigarettes are used. The results of this study will inform CDPH programs and other organizations about what can be done to better protect the safety and health of employees, employers, and customers. The project will provide new information about a completely uncharacterized industry, as well as risks to the general population in situations of exposure to secondhand e-cigarette emissions.

Final Respiratory Protection Program Toolkit for Healthcare Workers

This project is updating the National Respiratory Protection Program Toolkit for Healthcare Workers.  The educational toolkit was developed by the California Department of Public Health and PHI to serve as a useful resource for administrators of hospital respirator programs in California.

Improving Respirator Programs in Acute Care California Hospitals

The Respiratory Program Toolkit is designed to assist California hospital respirator program administrators to prevent infectious disease in health care workers by using pilot-tested strategies to improve their programs' effectiveness. The Occupational Health Branch in the California Department of Public Health created the toolkit with funding from the NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory and in collaboration with a number of partners.