Rafael Lefkowitz, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine (Occupational Medicine)

Research Departments & Organizations

Internal Medicine: General Internal Medicine | Occupational Health & Environmental Medicine Program

Research Interests

Environmental Exposure; Naval Medicine; Occupational Medicine; Ships

Research Summary

Seafarers are a vital workforce essential to the global economy. They also suffer from high rates of injury and illness, which is a big problem since access to medical care is challenging by nature of their trade. I am working to understand the patterns and causes of seafarer illness and injury. I hope to generate effective occupational/preventive medicine strategies and optimize seafarer health services.

Specialized Terms: seafarer health; environmental exposures;

Extensive Research Description

Seafarer Research: There are approximately 1.5 million seafarers in the world, and this occupational group is responsible for 90% of global commerce. In an increasingly global economy, the contribution of these workers cannot be overstated. However, there is little research on the health problems, including work injuries or related illnesses in this remote working population. In a prospective study, I am actively working to better describe, treat, and prevent seafarer medical problems. This is vitally important in a world of increasing interconnectivity, globalization, and specialization.

It is hypothesized that a variety of occupational exposures, including unique biological (travel-related, close-quarters), chemical, physical, and psychosocial hazards (stress, language barriers, organizational factors, shift work, piracy), as well as baseline population characteristics will be predictors of incident injury and illness at sea.

Identifying modifiable risk factors will enable effective preventive measures, improving seafarer health and shipping efficiency.

Health Effects of Chemical Dispersants in the Gulf Oil Spill: I am also developing a teaching module on this topic for primary care providers in the Gulf region (funded by AOEC).

Selected Publications

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Contact Info

Rafael Lefkowitz, MD, MPH
Mailing Address
Occupational Health & Environmental MedicinePO Box 208056
New Haven, CT 06520-8025