Basic introduction to work disability prevention

Jennifer Christian MD

Dear state RETAIN program people:  

Unless you create a shared vision of what “good” looks like, you may find it difficult to build a common sense of purpose among the participants, collaborators, and contributors to your state’s RETAIN program. 

Attached are two articles I wrote for the IAIABC Journal in the mid-2000’s.   They might serve well (in whole or in part) as basic orientation material for the participants in your RETAIN project – because they DO lay out that vision of “good”. 

  1. A new paradigm – a new way of thinking -- underlies the design of RETAIN.  The “Introduction to the New Work Disability Prevention Paradigm” (fall_2008 Christian_article--attached) will be a good place to get people to understand why and how this approach is different.   It lays out the basic precepts of the paradigm which were first articulated in ACOEM’s report entitled “Preventing Needless Work Disability by Helping People Stay Employed. 
  2. Because RETAIN represents a first bold step in a gradual process of social change, the second article (Opinion-60Summits-Fall 2009--attached) ,“About the 60 Summits Project and Where the Rubber Tree Plant Is Going,” reminds us that cultures evolve and new paradigms emerge through the efforts of committed people who care enough about a particular issue to make new ideas take hold and bear fruit.  This article points out the similarities between the emergence / adoption of the work disability prevention paradigm and other earlier shifts in the way our society has approached issues such as childbirth, drunk driving, and domestic violence.   (Please forgive the constant references to workers’ compensation – which is the IAIAIBC journal’s focus.)


Jennifer Christian, MD, MPH

Moderator, RETAINers List-Serv and Website on

(a volunteer activity – not an officially sponsored group)

Chair, 60 Summits Project

(non-profit organization founded in 2006 and mothballed since 2010)