Join our sensor study!

As researchers, we are constantly thinking of new ways to gather real-time data to help illuminate how the working environment affects the health of flight attendants.

With today’s availability of wearable technology, we are able to take a more hands-on approach to monitor health symptoms in relation to flight. This means that we are aiming to measure participants’ real-time flight experience using wearable sensors, such as Apple watches, in conjunction with a mobile FlightHealth app.

Specifically, we are developing an app, to be released in November, that we will distribute along with wearable sensors to a small subset of Flight Attendant Health Study participants. The app will also be available for free on our website for any interested flight attendant, pilot, former crew member, or passenger with an iPhone and any series of Apple watch. For people downloading the app from our website, optional sensors include a Spire monitor to measure respiration, an iHealth Air pulse oximeter to measure blood oxygenation, and a ResMed S+ sleep monitor to measure sleep quality during layovers.

Our hope is that this research will shed light on subtle, difficult to detect flight-related changes in health markers, sleep, and mood that could in turn potentially increase the risk of adverse health outcomes. Our goal is to leverage our initial findings to distribute the full sensor package to as many flight attendants as possible in future research efforts!

Feel free to spread the word to your friends, co-workers, and union. The more people who volunteer, the greater impact we can make on the flight attendant community and the availability of scientific knowledge for all flight crew and passengers.

Welcome to the FA Health Blog

Flight Attendant Health Is Important To Us

 We understand relatively little about flight attendant health compared to other professions. Yet—flight attendants experience significant exposures on the job: long work hours, frequent time zone changes, air pressure  changes, awkward positions and lifting in tight spaces, turbulence, disrupted sleep rhythms, cosmic radiation, exposure to infectious disease, and psychological demands due to customer demands and need to be vigilant about safety conditions.

This is where we come in.

Our longitudinal study collects data to help understand how occupational exposures impact the health of flight attendants over time. We are a group of researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, led by Dr. Eileen McNeely, implementing an in-depth investigation to ensure the welfare of cabin crew worldwide.

With the support of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), we first launched our survey in 2007, asking U.S. flight attendants about their medical history, job, and overall well-being. Since then, we have recruited over 12,000 participants in two waves from the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. This vast response has made a monumental impact in helping us understand flight attendant health over the last decade.

We are now on our 3rd wave and have officially launched our online survey as of July 31st!
Learn more about the survey and take it here: http://www.fahealth.org/harvard-study-3/

You might wonder, “Why are we doing this study again?” The answer is that we want to understand health impacts associated with long-term exposure. To adequately assess this, we need to ask flight attendants questions every few years to understand how their health is changing in relation to their environment. As interest in our survey is growing worldwide, this time around we are catering our audience to an international base, so we can understand how these trends are spread globally.
We read your comments and will be addressing popular questions of interest.

As part of this blog, we hope to shed light on these flight attendant health topics including, but not limited to:

  • Respiratory issues/air quality
  • Sleep patterns/exhaustion
  • Radiation
  • Uniforms
  • Fertility
  • Hearing loss
  • Stress/anxiety

We hope this blog serves as a resource for you, so check back in periodically to learn more!
Our research is ongoing and we look forward to working with you to ultimately make changes in the flight attendant occupation for overall better health and well-being.

We care about your health and want to learn more about your story. If you would like to share your experiences as a flight attendant on our website, please contact Dr. Irina Mordukhovich via email at imordukh@hsph.harvard.edu

Follow us on Twitter @FAHealthStudy

✈ -Fly healthy- ✈

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