Center for Work and Health


The Center for Work and Health at Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations conducts research on healthcare work organizations, labor relations in healthcare organizations, human resource management in healthcare organizations, and the impact of the aforementioned on organizational performance. Established in 2013, the center focuses on workforce development for the health care sector, public policy concerning health insurance and access to healthcare (including health insurance as an employment-based benefit), and the impact of work on workers’ physical and mental health.   

Work and Health in The U.S.

In 2008, the World Health Organization estimated that healthcare spending in the U.S. was 15.2% of its Gross domestic product (GDP), the highest in the world. In the year 2010, approximately 13.5% of the U.S. workforce was working in the healthcare or social services sector. This number continues to grow tremendously every year.

Although the number of healthcare professionals continues to skyrocket, the healthcare industry faces a variety of issues and concerns that need to be addressed in order for the system to further flourish. They include:

  • Healthcare costs that continue to skyrocket, placing strain on the terms and conditions of employment for healthcare workers and the way work is organized. 
  • “Shortages” in many important occupational groups including primary care physicians, nurses, and other technical occupations as well as policy debates about the nature, sources, and solutions to these problems.  
  • Issues of racial and economic inequality, not only in disparate access to healthcare, but also in the often deeply stratified organization of work.  
  • Wellness as a workplace issue, of concern to employers and employees alike.
  • The growth of healthcare unions and labor organizing in the health care sector.

Workers and labor organizations, including unions and professional associations, are significant stakeholders who can facilitate or block changes in the healthcare delivery system. The Center for Work and Health aims to help resolve the healthcare issues affecting workers through its research and workforce development efforts.


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