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Graduate Student Awarded Professional Training Grant to Study Pesticide Misuse

Rachel Phinney Portrait

Rachel Phinney, a Department of Community and Environmental Health graduate student, has been awarded the Professional Training Opportunities Program grant in occupational health and safety from the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety at the University of Washington.

Phinney received this grant for her research proposal titled “Characterizing and Communicating Lessons Learned from Agricultural Pesticide Misuse Investigations in Idaho.” She will receive $5,860 to support this research project.

Phinney’s project aims to characterize and describe commonalities of pesticide misuse incidents in agriculture and to share the “lessons learned” from this project with licensed pesticide applicators at training sessions offered by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture. To achieve this, Phinney plans to learn more about Idaho’s current pesticide applicator training programs and review pesticide misuse records that have been completed by the state department of agriculture from 2016-2018. She intends to characterize incidents by pesticide, pest type, county and season, and to ultimately better understand pesticide misuse trends in agricultural settings.

Phinney will be partnering with the state department of agriculture and the University of Idaho to achieve her project goals and communicate lessons learned at future pesticide applicator training sessions. Additionally, Phinney hopes to strengthen the relationships between Boise State’s Agricultural Health Lab, the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, and the University of Idaho extension educators to minimize pesticide misuse incidents in Idaho.

“This is a very prestigious award, and Rachel was competing with both master’s and doctoral students from the University of Washington, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland State University, University of Alaska, University of Idaho and others throughout the region,” said Cynthia Curl, director of the Boise State Agricultural Health Lab. “Her receipt of this award demonstrates regional recognition of the importance of the work she has proposed and the quality of the proposal itself.”

Phinney will receive the award in person at the Northwest Occupational Health Conference in Bend, Oregon, in October.