Photo of Cassandra Okechukwu,  ScD, MPH, MSN

Cassandra Okechukwu, ScD, MPH, MSN

Harvard T.H. Chan School Of Public Health

Harvard T.H. Chan School Of Public Health
Phone: (617) 432-4486

Cassandra Okechukwu, ScD, MPH, MSN

Harvard T.H. Chan School Of Public Health


  • Assistant Professor, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School Of Public Health


Research Abstract

Dr. Okechukwu's research focuses on how work, and home environments interact to shape health and cancer prevention behaviors, and how to modify these settings to improve the health of vulnerable populations. Her research interests include the translation of community-based cancer prevention and control interventions into practice, occupational determinants of health and health behaviors, methods of intervention design and evaluation, and the contribution of work-related social determinants to population health disparities. She has especially focused her attention on tobacco use among working class population, and has also investigated the links between racial discrimination and smoking and the effectiveness of workplace-based smoking-cessation programs.

Dr. Okechukwu received the James Zimmer New Investigator Research Award by the Aging and Public Health section of the American Public Health Association and the best paper by junior faculty award by the International Conference on Work and Family in Barcelona. In addition, she is a member of the team that received the 2015 Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research, an international award recognizing the best work-family paper globally. Dr. Okechukwu headed the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Workplace Injustice white paper team in 2011. The team presented their findings at the First National Conference on Eliminating Health and Safety Disparities at Work. She is an investigator and member of the Work, Family and Health Network and the Harvard Center for Work, Health and Well-being. Dr. Okechukwu was a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the University of California San Francisco, and the University of California Berkeley.


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  • Okechukwu CA, Kelly EL, Bacic J, DePasquale N, Hurtado D, Kossek E, Sembajwe G. Supporting employees' work-family needs improves health care quality: Longitudinal evidence from long-term care. Soc Sci Med 2016; 157:111-9. PubMed
  • McCloud RF, Okechukwu CA, Sorensen G, Viswanath K. Entertainment or Health? Exploring the Internet Usage Patterns of the Urban Poor: A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Controlled Trial. J Med Internet Res 2016; 18:e46. PubMed
  • Bailey ZD, Williams DR, Kawachi I, Okechukwu CA. Incarceration and adult weight gain in the National Survey of American Life (NSAL). Prev Med 2015; 81:380-6. PubMed
  • Sparer EH, Okechukwu CA, Manjourides J, Herrick RF, Katz JN, Dennerlein JT. Length of time spent working on a commercial construction site and the associations with worker characteristics. Am J Ind Med 2015. PubMed
  • Davis KD, Lawson KM, Almeida DM, Kelly EL, King RB, Hammer L, Casper LM, Okechukwu CA, Hanson G, McHale SM. Parents' daily time with their children: a workplace intervention. Pediatrics 2015; 135:875-82. PubMed
  • Cheng KW, Okechukwu CA, McMillen R, Glantz SA. Association between clean indoor air laws and voluntary smokefree rules in homes and cars. Tobacco Control 2015. PubMed
  • Buxton OM, Okechukwu CA. Long working hours can be toxic. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2015. PubMed
  • Okechukwu CA. Long working hours are linked to risky alcohol consumption. BMJ 2015; 350:g7800. PubMed
  • Arias OE, Caban-Martinez AJ, Umukoro PE, Okechukwu CA, Dennerlein JT. Physical activity levels at work and outside of work among commercial construction workers. J Occup Environ Med 2015; 57:73-8. PubMed
  • Dutra LM, Williams DR, Kawachi I, Okechukwu CA. Racial and non-racial discrimination and smoking status among South African adults 10 years after apartheid. Tobacco Control 2014. PubMed
  • Dutra LM, Kim SS, Williams DR, Kawachi I, Okechukwu CA. Worksite safety climate, smoking, and the use of protective equipment by blue-collar building workers enrolled in the MassBUILT smoking cessation trial. J Occup Environ Med 2014; 56:1082-7. PubMed
  • Hurtado DA, Berkman LF, Buxton OM, Okechukwu CA. Schedule Control and Nursing Home Quality: Exploratory Evidence of a Psychosocial Predictor of Resident Care. J Appl Gerontol 2014. PubMed
  • Kim SS, Dutra LM, Okechukwu CA. Contractor-, steward-, and coworker-safety practice: associations with musculoskeletal pain and injury-related absence among construction apprentices. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 2014. PubMed
  • Sabbath EL, Gutierrez LA, Okechukwu CA, Singh-Manoux A, Amieva H, Goldberg M, Zins M, Berr C. Time may not fully attenuate solvent-associated cognitive deficits in highly exposed workers. Neurology 2014; 82:1716-23. PubMed
  • Okechukwu CA, Souza K, Davis KD, de Castro AB. Discrimination, harassment, abuse, and bullying in the workplace: contribution of workplace injustice to occupational health disparities. Am J Ind Med 2014; 57:573-86. PubMed
  • Kim SS, Okechukwu CA, Dennerlein JT, Boden LI, Hopcia K, Hashimoto DM, Sorensen G. Association between perceived inadequate staffing and musculoskeletal pain among hospital patient care workers. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 2014. PubMed
  • Dutra LM, Williams DR, Gupta J, Kawachi I, Okechukwu CA. Human rights violations and smoking status among South African adults enrolled in the South Africa Stress and Health (SASH) study. Soc Sci Med 2014; 105:103-11. PubMed
  • Sabbath EL, Hurtado DA, Okechukwu CA, Tamers SL, Nelson C, Kim SS, Wagner G, Sorenson G. Occupational injury among hospital patient-care workers: what is the association with workplace verbal abuse? Am J Ind Med 2014; 57:222-32. PubMed
  • Lee RM, Emmons KM, Okechukwu CA, Barrett JL, Kenney EL, Cradock AL, Giles CM, deBlois ME, Gortmaker SL. Validity of a practitioner-administered observational tool to measure physical activity, nutrition, and screen time in school-age programs. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2015; 11:145. PubMed
  • Sorensen G, McLellan D, Dennerlein JT, Pronk NP, Allen JD, Boden LI, Okechukwu CA, Hashimoto D, Stoddard A, Wagner GR. Integration of health protection and health promotion: rationale, indicators, and metrics. J Occup Environ Med 2013; 55:S12-8. PubMed
  • Kim SS, Okechukwu CA, Buxton OM, Dennerlein JT, Boden LI, Hashimoto DM, Sorensen G. Association between work-family conflict and musculoskeletal pain among hospital patient care workers. Am J Ind Med 2013. PubMed
  • Chin DL, Hong O, Gillen M, Bates MN, Okechukwu CA. Heavy and light/moderate smoking among building trades construction workers. Public Health Nurs 2013; 30:128-39. PubMed
  • Kim SS, Perry MJ, Okechukwu CA. Association between perceived union connection and upper body musculoskeletal pains among unionized construction apprentices. Am J Ind Med 2013; 56:189-96. PubMed
  • Okechukwu CA, Dutra LM, Bacic J, El Ayadi A, Emmons KM. Home matters: work and household predictors of smoking and cessation among blue-collar workers. Prev Med 2013; 56:130-4. PubMed
  • Tamers SL, Okechukwu C, Allen J, Yang M, Stoddard A, Tucker-Seeley R, Sorensen G. Are social relationships a healthy influence on obesogenic behaviors among racially/ethnically diverse and socio-economically disadvantaged residents? Prev Med 2013; 56:70-4. PubMed
  • Chin DL, Hong O, Gillen M, Bates MN, Okechukwu CA. Occupational factors and smoking cessation among unionized building trades workers. Workplace Health Saf 2012; 60:445-52. PubMed
  • Okechukwu C, Bacic J, Cheng KW, Catalano R. Smoking among construction workers: the nonlinear influence of the economy, cigarette prices, and antismoking sentiment. Soc Sci Med 2012; 75:1379-86. PubMed
  • Chin DL, Hong O, Gillen M, Bates MN, Okechukwu CA. Cigarette smoking in building trades workers: the impact of work environment. Am J Ind Med 2012. PubMed
  • Okechukwu CA, El Ayadi AM, Tamers SL, Sabbath EL, Berkman L. Household food insufficiency, financial strain, work-family spillover, and depressive symptoms in the working class: the Work, Family, and Health Network study. Am J Public Health 2012; 102:126-33. PubMed
  • Okechukwu CA, Nguyen K, Hickman NJ. Partner smoking characteristics: Associations with smoking and quitting among blue-collar apprentices. Am J Ind Med 2010; 53:1102-8. PubMed
  • Berkman LF, Buxton O, Ertel K, Okechukwu C. Managers' practices related to work-family balance predict employee cardiovascular risk and sleep duration in extended care settings. J Occup Health Psychol 2010; 15:316-29. PubMed
  • Lathan CS, Okechukwu C, Drake BF, Bennett GG. Racial differences in the perception of lung cancer: the 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey. Cancer 2010; 116:1981-6. PubMed
  • Okechukwu CA,Krieger N,Sorensen G,Li Y,Barbeau EM. MassBuilt: effectiveness of an apprenticeship site-based smoking cessation intervention for unionized building trades workers. Cancer Causes Control 2009; 20:887-94. PubMed
  • Bennett GG, Wolin KY, Okechukwu CA, Arthur CM, Askew S, Sorensen G, Emmons KM. Nativity and Cigarette Smoking among Lower Income Blacks: Results from the Healthy Directions Study. J Immigr Minor Health 2008; 10:305-11. PubMed
  • Drake BF,Lathan CS,Okechukwu CA,Bennett GG. Racial differences in prostate cancer screening by family history. Ann Epidemiol 2008; 18:579-83. PubMed
  • McPhaul KM, Rosen J, Bobb S, Okechukwu C, Geiger-Brown J, Kauffman K, Johnson JV, Lipscomb J. An exploratory study of mandated safety measures for home visiting case managers. Can J Nurs Res 2008; 39:173-89. PubMed
  • Okechukwu CA, Krieger N, Chen J, Sorensen G, Li Y, Barbeau EM. The association of workplace hazards and smoking in a U.S. multiethnic working-class population. Public Health Rep 2010; 125:225-33. PubMed
  • Okechukwu C, Krieger N, Sorensen G, Li Y, Barbeau E. Testing hypothesized psychosocial mediators: lessons learned in the MassBUILT study 2010.
  • Preeti Patel; Cassandra A. Okechukwu; Jeff Collin; Belinda Hughes. Bringing 'Light, Life and Happiness': British American Tobacco and music sponsorship in sub-Saharan Africa 2009; 30:685-700.