Library of Congress to Fund Home Health Worker Study

 The Library of Congress is funding research on home health care workers via a study conducted by a University of Oregon team.

UO’s Labor Education and Research Center was one of four recipients of the Archie Green Fellowship in Occupational Folklore, a national fellowship  from the library’s American Folklife Center that funds innovative research.

The award will fund “Taking Care: Documenting the Occupational Culture of Home Care Workers,” a project that surveys home health workers in Oregon and documents the occupational culture of those who are primary caregivers for seniors.

Bob Bussel, a history professor and director of the University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center, will lead the research team, the university announced. Other team members include Helen Moss, a senior instructor at the Center; Nathan Moore, who recently received his master’s degree in folklore from UO; and Ivan LaFollette, the team videographer. 

The fellowship provides nearly $34,000 for UO to interview 35 home care workers throughout the next year. The interviews will be digitally archived at the Library of Congress and will be accessible to other researchers. 

“This is going to have a life beyond this work,” Bussel said in a statement. 

Interviews will be conducted with support from the Service Employees International Union Local 503, says the university. The union chapter represents more than 11,000 home care workers in Oregon. 

The goal of the interviews is to gain insights into the occupational culture of home care workers and expand public knowledge of a job that is beginning to receive greater scholarly and social attention, according to Bussel. 

Written by Alyssa Gerace

Alyssa Gerace

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