The $4 million award will help researchers improve the sleep health of Arizona firefighters

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The $4 million award will help researchers improve the sleep health of Arizona firefighters

A $4 million award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health, will allow researchers from the University of Arizona Mel and the Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health to identify key factors in the successful implementation of workplace learning on sleep to improve the sleep health of Arizona firefighters.

Almost half of professional firefighters report short sleep and poor sleep quality, and about 37% of firefighters test positive for sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia or shift work disorder, according to a study led by the Harvard Health and Safety Group during working hours. Unfortunately, firefighters face unique barriers, including long work shifts and mandatory overtime, that may prevent them from using evidence-based interventions to improve sleep.

“Other studies have shown us that firefighters’ personal circumstances and shift schedules often dictate their sleep,” said lead researcher Patricia Haynes, PhD, CBSM, DBSM, whose previous research found more restorative sleep in firefighters during days off is associated with less stress and irritability.

Researchers will work with 20 fire agencies in Arizona to evaluate a flexible, personalized sleep health intervention that can be implemented in real-world situations. The research team also aims to train fire service managers and promote the benefits of sleep and recovery within the fire service.

“A sleep intervention is most likely to be successful and used if it is tailored to the firefighter and the lifestyle of the firefighter,” said Dr. Haynes, one of several faculty members at the Center for Collaborative Firefighter Health Research at the Zuckerman College of Public Health, whose research focuses on aspects of firefighter health.

The research partners are a variety of nonprofit organizations and stakeholder advisory groups dedicated to the health of first responders, including the 100 Club of Arizona, the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation, the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association and the Professional Firefighters of Arizona.

Dr. Haynes’ innovative research and programs to support the mental and sleep health of firefighters have proven results and her work has benefited so many first responders. We are so proud of the work she and her team members are doing to improve the health of Arizona firefighters, and this research can be used to help fire departments across the country.

Iman Hakim, MD, PhD, MPH, dean of the Zuckerman College of Public Health

In addition to Dr. Haynes, the research team includes: Dr. Ed Bedrick, professor in the Zuckerman College of Public Health; David Glickenstein, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Arizona College of Science; Michael Grandner, MD, MTR, CBSM, FAASM, Associate Professor, University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson Department of Psychiatry; and Daniel Taylor, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Psychology in the College of Science. Additional contributors from Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions include Professor Matthew Bueman, PhD, and Professor Dana Epstein, PhD, RN.


University of Arizona Health Sciences

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