What Amazon's chief health officer says is the biggest workplace health challenge of the century

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Vin Gupta, MD, chief health officer at Amazon, said investing into the top workforce health challenge aside from COVID-19 will have long-term gain, CNBC reported Oct. 22.

Four things to know:

  1. Dr. Gupta, who is also a health data and respiratory disease professor at the Seattle-based University of Washington, said workplaces need to improve their air filtration and ventilation systems. He said air quality will be the biggest challenge for workplaces and public places in the 21st century, CNBC reported.

  2. In the 20th century, workplaces needed to figure out how to enhance sanitization to prevent communicable diseases passed from fecal to oral. This led to important sewer system upgrades.

    "100 years later, it is how do we ventilate public space and workplaces," Dr. Gupta said. "The big challenge of our time is how do we ventilate."

  3. Researchers from Cambridge, Mass.-based Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health found that improving ventilation systems in workplaces improves brain function and productivity, according to the report. Dr. Gupta said HVAC system upgrades are cost effective, have long-term productivity gains and improve employee retention.

  4. Dr. Gupta acknowledged that Amazon is in a better financial position to enhance its ventilation systems than other companies, but he added that businesses investing in health services will be more common in the next decade, CNBC reported.

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