Department of Public Health Education

Yorghos Apostolopoulos, PhD
Associate Professor

Yorghos Apostolopoulos, PhD, Associate Professor
Department of Public Health Education
School of Health and Human Sciences
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
PO Box 26170
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170
(336) 256-8682 (office)
(336) 334-3238 (fax)
yorghos.apostolopoulos (Skype)

NIH Biosketch

Education and Experience

I am a population health scientist with interdisciplinary social and health science training (PhD, University of Connecticut, 1994). My areas of specialization include occupational health, social epidemiology, health demography, and research design and methodology in health sciences. Besides my U.S.-based academic experience, I have taught and conducted epidemiological fieldwork in Greece, Cyprus, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates. In addition to my UNCG faculty position, I concurrently hold the posts of clinical associate professor with Emory University School of Medicine and principal researcher with Transportation Health Services, Inc.

Research Interests

Grounded in systems-science thinking and methodologies, my research examines the ways in which the interaction of social structure with meso and micro domains influences health outcomes, with a particular emphasis on occupational health disparities. In my work, I use diverse qualitative and quantitative designs, methodologies, and analytical tools that incorporate surveys, audit instruments, risk assessments, ethnographies, biometry, textual analysis, multivariate statistics, social network analysis, and system-dynamics modeling.

Current Research Projects

My current work has four foci: (1) delineation of excess morbidity among truck and bus drivers and other transport workers; (2) ascertainment of how work conditions and immigrant status influence hotel workers' health and safety; (3) application of systems-science thinking and methodologies in occupational health; and (4) examination of the role of social, corporate, and spatial domains in youth substance misuse. Ongoing and forthcoming collaborative projects are briefly described below:

Wellbeing of transport workers: My work delves into how work environment, community-family interface, and individual health behaviors influence truck drivers' risk for (a) chronic disease (cardiometabolic morbidities, cancer, and sleep disorders), and (b) infectious disease (via substance misuse, social network configuration, and STI/BBI-risk behaviors).

  • Trucker sleep study: In this internally-funded study, specimens, anthropometrics, and surveys are currently being collected to examine how work environment, long workhours and work-induced fatigue affect long-haul truckers' sleep patterns and associated comorbidities.
  • Transport workers' diesel exposure: Grant proposal is currently under preparation, to elucidate how ultrafine particle exposure can elicit vascular and autonomic dysfunction among truck and bus drivers, loading dock workers, and bus garage workers and render them susceptible to atherosclerosis.

Health of immigrant hotel workers: As part of my long-standing interest in and work on the health of blue-collar demographic segments with a particular emphasis on immigrant communities, I am collaborating on an internally-funded study to examine the impact of hazardous work conditions on predominantly immigrant workers' plethora of work-induced health problems.

  • Latina hotel-cleaners' health: We are conducting survey research to ascertain how the intersection of work environment and sociocultural domains (related to workers' immigrant status) impacts Latina hotel-cleaners' excess musculoskeletal and psychiatric disorders.

Systems-science methodologies in occupational health: In light of the inherent limitations of regression modeling and the imperative need for analytical tools that address the complexity of health problems that are present in work settings, I am working on a series of programmatic manuscripts that focus on how social network analysis, agent-based modeling, and system-dynamics modeling can contribute to occupational health research. In addition, I am currently preparing a NIH grant proposal resubmission and conducting social networks analysis (SNA) on a previously NIH-funded dataset:

  • Commercial drivers' cardiometabolic health: Grounded in systems and syndemics thinking, system-dynamics modeling will be employed to disentangle the complex and dynamic web of causation of truckers' cardiometabolic disease.
  • Trucker networks and HIV: Using SNA and mapping approaches, the analysis of a unique dataset on connections between long-haul truck drivers' social networks, drug use, and STI/BBI risk in U.S. inner-city urban milieux is being continued.

Substance use and youth health: I am collaborating on a wide array of issues affecting the health of young adults, to examine how physical settings, legislation, sociocultural factors, and corporate policies can influence risk-laden substance-use patterns and a multitude of associated hazards. I am currently involved in two small-scale internally funded projects:

  • High-risk drinking environments: This project expands and validates an online survey instrument that measures multilevel health and safety risks for young adults in urban and resort nightlife settings.
  • Hookah and marijuana use study: Pilot data will be analyzed to prepare for a large-scale study that examines transitions of high-school students from marijuana use, cigarette smoking, and alcohol drinking to hookah use and associated health ramifications.

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