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Dr. Peter Schnall MD, MPH

Peter L. Schnall MD, MPH
Director, Center for Social Epidemiology
Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, Irvine
Tel: (310) 301-6040 Fax: (310) 319-6597
email: pschnall@workhealth.org
Twitter: @pschnall

Dr. Peter Schnall MD, MPH, Director of the Center for Social Epidemiology, is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the U. of California at Irvine, Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine (COEH) where he directs the Center’s program in Work organization and Cardiovascular Disease. He is a recognized expert and active researcher on the role of occupational stress in causing hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

Peter’s long-standing interest in the role that work organizations and psychosocial stressors play in the development of hypertension and other CVD risk factors began while practicing medicine for 8 years at the Martin Luther King Health Center (MLKHC) located in the South Bronx. He became aware of a possible role for environmental factors in the etiology of “essential hypertension” when he first noticed as a practitioner and as Co-Director of the Hypertension Surveillance program at the MLKHC that many patients diagnosed with hypertension showed remission of their high blood pressure while off of medication. He applied for and received a 3 year NIH Post Doctoral Fellowship for training in Cardiovascular Epidemiology at Columbia SPH. His doctoral thesis proposal –to study the impact of work stress on ambulatory blood pressure – was submitted in collaboration with Dr. Tom Pickering at Cornell Medical Center in 1984 to the NIHHLBI and was subsequently funded for 15 years (the longest ever longitudinal study of work stress and ABP). The research established that there existed a strong relationship between exposure to job strain (jobs high in demands and low in control) and Ambulatory Blood Pressure, particularly, though not limited to, work time blood pressure. 

Peter currently continues his work as the Director of the UCI COEH’s program in Work Stress which includes conducting research and teaching graduate students about work organization, work stress and CVD risk factors. His current research focuses on the role of working conditions in the development of obesity and hypertension. He is currently working with colleagues on a project examining the impact of working conditions (long hours, long shifts, and psychosocial factors) on obesity of firefighters employed by the Orange County Fire Authority with support from NIOSH. He has conducted related studies during the past 10 years with support from Chrysler/United Automobile Workers to study autoworkers and warehouse workers as well as support from the CWA (Communications Workers of America) to examine the impact of working conditions on cardiovascular risk factors among Verizon employees.

His training and research has led to two major book publications for which he is first author 1) the Workplace and Cardiovascular Disease published in 2000 by Hanley and Belfus which is the standard text in the field and 2) most recently a book summarizing the impact of working conditions on mental as well as physical health titled “Unhealthy Work: causes, consequences and cures” published in 2009 by Baywood. His major professional goal is to increase awareness among students, colleagues and the public as to the important role that work stress plays in the etiology of chronic illnesses.

In addition to research, Peter has multiple teaching responsibilities at the UCLA School of Public Health including the teaching of occupational health nurses and physicians, industrial hygienists as well as students in the graduate school of public health. He teaches an academic course at UCLA SPH which he developed titled  “Work and Health”. He also teaches materials he developed in collaboration with Dr. Karen Belkic on Occupational Cardiology to residents at UCI COEH.

Peter’s work at UCLA also includes outreach to Mexico as well as Colombia through the Fogarty Program to help develop the training of students from those countries in work organization, work stress and occupational health outcomes. He has attended many conferences in Mexico and Colombia, and recently in 2012 completed a 1-year appointment as a Visiting Professor at the U. de los Andes, Bogota and has mentored two doctoral students from Mexico during the past 5 years at UCLA. He has also been active in international organizations including ICOH (the International Commission Occupational Health) chairing the scientific committee on Cardiology and Occupational Health and convening the 4th ICOH conference on Work Environment and Cardiovascular Disease. 


2013 – Keynote Speaker – Globalization, Working conditions and Health at 6th ICOH Japan March 30th 2013

2012 – Jean Spencer Felton Award for Excellence in Scientific Writing. Awarded by the Western Occupational and  Environmental Medical Association. September 12,2102 San Francisco, Ca.

2010– Keynote Speaker Globalization, Work and Health. [Keynote abstract]. In: ICOH – WOPS Conference, The Changing Nature of Work; 2010 Jun 14-17; Amsterdam, Netherlands.

2010- Member, ICOH Scientific Committee Work Organizational and Psychosocial Stress

2010- Member, ICOH Scientific Committee on Cardiology in Occupational Health  

2008- Convener, 5th ICOH Conference on Work Environment and Cardiovascular Diseases, Cracow, Poland, September 27-30, 2009

2005-2010- Chair, ICOH Scientific Committee on Cardiology in Occupational Health  

2003- Director: Southern California COEH STEP (Surveillance, Treatment and Early Prevention) Project (UCLA-UCI initiative) 

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Choi B, Ko S, DobsonM, SchnallP, Garcia-Rivas J, et al Short-term test-retest reliability of the Job Content Questionnaire and Effort-Reward Imbalance Questionnaire items and scales among professional firefighters.   Ergonomics. March 2014, In-Press.

Choi BSchnall P,Dobson MGarcia-Rivas JKim HZaldivar F, et al Very Long (> 48 hours) Shifts and Cardiovascular Strain in Firefighters: a Theoretical Framework. Annals of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2014, 26:5  doi:10.1186/2052-4374-26-5

Landsbergis P, Schnall P. Job strain and coronary heart disease (letter). The Lancet 2013;381(9865):449.

Landsbergis P, Dobson M, Schnall P. Re: “Need for more individual-level meta-analyses in social             epidemiology: example of job strain and coronary heart disease” (letter). American Journal of Epidemiology    2013;178(6):1008–1009 (http://pmid.us/23956099, published online first: [August 15, 2013] DOI:    10.1093/aje/kwt193).

Choi B, Schnall P, Ko SB, Dobson M, Baker D. (2013). Job strain and coronary heart disease [letter]. Lancet, 381 (9865), 448.

Choi BK, Dobson M, Landsbergis P, Ko S, Yang H, Schnall P, Baker D. Re: “Need for more individual-level meta-analyses in social epidemiology: example of job strain and coronary heart disease” (letter). American  Journal of Epidemiology 2013;178(6):1007–1008 (http://pmid.us/23956098, published online first: [August 15, 2013] DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwt192).           

Choi BK, Ko S, Landsbergis P, Dobson M, Schnall P. Job strain and health-related lifestyle (letter). American Journal of Public Health. 2014 Jan 16 [Epub ahead of print]. Available at http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/pdf/10.2105/AJPH.2013.301757

Choi BK, Dobson M, Landsbergis P, Ko S, Yang H, Schnall P, Baker D. Re: “Job strain and obesity (letter). Journal of Internal Medicine (published on-line: December 12, 2013 doi: 10.1111/joim.12173).

Schnall P, Dobson M, Choi BK, Landsbergis P, Ko S, Baker D. Conclusions about job strain and blood pressure findings misleading (letter). PLoS One (posted on-line September 30, 2013, http://www.plosone.org/annotation/listThread.action?root=72523).

Landsbergis, PA, Travis, A, Schnall PL, Working Conditions and Masked Hypertension. High Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Prevention DOI 10.1007/s40292-013-0015-2. 24 May 2013

Landsbergis, PA, Dobson, M, Schnall PL. Job Strain and Ambulatory Blood Pressure: A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print January 17, 2013: e1–e11. doi:10 2105/AJPH.2012.301125

Marnie Dobson, Ph.D., BongKyoo Choi, Sc.D., MPH, Peter L. Schnall, M.D., MPH et al Exploring Occupational and Health Behavioral Causes of Firefighter Obesity: A qualitative study. AJIM January 2013.

Choi B, Schnall P, Dobson M, Israel L, Landsbergis P, Galassetti P, Pontello A, Kojaku S, Baker D.  Exploring Occupational and Behavioral Risk Factors for Obesity in Firefighters: A Theoretical Framework and Study Design. Safety and Health at Work 2011; 2:301-12 http://dx.doi.org/10.5491/SHAW.2011.2.4.301

Choi B, Schnall P, Yang H, Dobson M, Landsbergis P, Israel L, Karasek R, Baker D. Sedentary work, low physical job demand, and obesity in US workers. Am J Ind Med 2010; 53(11): 1088-1101. [PMID: 20737422].

Choi B, Schnall P, Yang H, Dobson M, Landsbergis P, Israel L, Karasek R, Baker D. Sedentary Work, Low Physical Demand and Obesity in US Workers. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 2010 DOI10.1002/ajim. 20886. Published online in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com)

Landsbergis PA, Schnall PL, Belkic K, Baker D, Schwartz JE, Pickering TG. Job stress and cardiovascular disease. In Quick JC, Tetrick LE Handbook of Occupational Health Psychology (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association 2010:243-264.

Choi B, Schnall P, Yang H, Dobson M, Landsbergis P, Israel L, Karasek R, Baker D. (2009). Work stress and overeating coping in the US workforce. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2009; 22(Suppl): 43.

Yang H,  Schnall PL, Jauregui M, Su Ta-chen, Baker DB. Work Hours and Self-reported Hypertension Among Working People in California. Hypertension. 2006; 48: 744-750.

Belkic K, Landsbergis PA, Schnall PL, Baker D. Is job strain a major source of cardiovascular disease risk? A critical review of the empirical evidence, with a clinical perspective. Scand J Work Environ Health 2004;30(2):85-128.

Friedman R, Schwartz JE, Schnall PL, Pieper CF, Gerin W, Landsbergis PA, Pickering TG. Psychological variables in hypertension: The “hypertensive personality” revisited. Psychosomatic Medicine: 2001;63(1):19-31.

Landsbergis PA, Cahill J, Schnall PL. The Impact of Lean Production and Related New Systems of Work Organization on Worker Health. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology; 4 (2): 1-23, 1999.

Schnall PL, Landsbergis PA, Schwartz JE, Warren K, Pickering TG. A longitudinal study of job strain and ambulatory blood pressure: Results from a 3-year follow-up. Psychosomatic Medicine; 60:697-706, 1998.

Landsbergis PA, Schnall PL, Dietz D, Warren K, Pickering TG, Schwartz JE. Job and health behaviors: Results of a prospective study. American Journal of Health Promotion; 12(4):237-245, 1998.


Schnall PL, Dobson M, Rosskin, E. (Eds)  Unhealthy Work: causes, consequences, cures. Baywood Publishers. 2009 PPs. 380

Schnall PL, Belkic K, Landsbergis PA, Baker DB (Eds.). The Workplace and Cardiovascular Disease. Occup Med 15(1). Hanley and Belfus Publishers 2000. Pps. 324

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