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Thursday May 8

PPG Awarded Grant for Innovation in Occupational and Environmental Health

PPG Industries has received an Innovation in Occupational and Environmental Health Grant for $25,000 to help implement its program to improve the early diagnosis, treatment and management of depression for employees, retirees and family members.

PPG joined Johns Hopkins University as the only organizations to receive the grant sponsored by the Occupational and Environmental Health Foundation, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and Pfizer, Inc., a leading pharmaceutical company. The grant award was presented to Dr. Alberto Colombi, PPG's corporate medical director, at the American Conference of Occupational Health in Atlanta.

According to the grant sponsors, PPG exhibited "exceptional innovation and dedication" in addressing the challenge of depression.

"We are extremely gratified to earn this prestigious grant," said David C. Cannon Jr., PPG's vice president of environment, health and safety. "We at PPG have long recognized that depression has a profound effect on a person's health, quality of life and productivity. We want to do all within our power to help our people combat this insidious disease."

Eliminating the stigma that can accompany depression is part of PPG's program, developed in association with the Pittsburgh Regional Health Care Initiative. It provides early diagnosis and treatment through coordination of PPG's employee assistance program, personal care physicians and specialists.

"The real tragedy of depression is that people can be treated successfully, but often are not because of the historically fragmented medical care system," Colombi said. "Appropriate treatment isn't costly, but not treating depression can cause major disruptions in a person's work and personal life."

PPG's two-pronged "Depression in Primary Care: Worksite Interventions and Coordination of Care" program aims to provide:

  • Worksite intervention through on-site depression education seminars, wellness programs, and online access to self-management support. "The goal is to convince people that screening for depression is just as normal and important as checking for high blood pressure," Colombi said.
  • Coordinated care through consistent screening and treatment by contracted health-care providers. Health-care providers are urged to screen for depression as a routine part of checkups.

Effectiveness of care will be gauged by various means, including health-risk assessments, surveys and medication-use indicators. The overall effect on productivity is determined through medical and mental health claims, absenteeism, workers' compensation, and data regarding employee turnover.

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