days until our Collective Agreement expires, we are preparing, we are united and we will make change.

Last Call! Harvard FA Health Survey

Last call to participate in the FA health survey! It will close for submissions on September 22nd.

The Union remains in contact with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, regarding their Flight Attendant Health Study. Since 2007, tens of thousands of cabin crew have taken the survey, which has led to significant research into occupational health issues affecting our workgroup. As in previous years, we are informing you of this initiative as it is run by a reputable institution and concerns a topic that is important to all of us.

You may also be interested in the website, which is linked to the survey. It contains a wealth of information regarding cabin crew health, as well as other opportunities run by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and/or Dartmouth College Geisel School of Medicine and/or the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. The Union has no ties or oversight regarding this site or other programs offered on it.

For your convenience, the Union has updated its survey Q&A document, which you will find below. The Harvard Flight Attendant Health Study can be accessed by clicking HERE.

As always, please reach out to us if you have any concerns or questions by emailing

In Solidarity,

Your Component Occupational Health and Safety Committee

– – – –

Q&A Regarding the Harvard Flight Attendant Health Study:

Who can participate? Is the Study open to previous participants or retirees?
The study is open to all current, former and retired cabin personnel from AC Mainline/Rouge or their predecessor airlines, including those who have previously participated in the survey. Those who have participated in the past will notice some repetition in the questions, but also new ones which have been integrated since the last wave.

Why are AC Mainline/Rouge cabin personnel being invited to participate in this survey? 
The Harvard flight attendant health survey was first administered in 2007 with cabin personnel at Alaska Airlines and US Airways represented by the U.S. Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), and with funding from the Federal Aviation Administration. Based on a very positive relationship with the professors conducting this survey and the importance of their work, the AFA referred the Airline Division of CUPE to the project leaders, and a second and third of the study was performed with various CUPE Airline Division members, Southwest Airlines and British Airways. This year, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has reached out directly to solicit further participation from CUPE Airline Division members in the study’s fourth wave.

Why do I have to give my name and other personal contact information to participate in the survey?
This survey and study are being done in accordance with strict Harvard University scientific research protocols. As a result, participants must provide their names and address to give consent to participate in the survey. In addition, the provision of this personal information ensures that the survey is being completed by a legitimate participant, namely an AC or AC rouge flight attendant or in-charge flight attendant, and not someone else.

How will the privacy of my personal information be protected? 
We raised exactly those concerns with regard to protecting our members’ personal information in 2015, and again this year, and were assured that the confidentiality of our members is ensured, in accordance with the University’s Level 3 privacy provisions. As stated in the bulletin at the start of the survey, names/addresses are removed from the medical information once the survey is received and replaced with numerical identifiers. Further questions about provisions for confidentiality may be referred to the study administrators using the contact information below.

I’m still concerned about the privacy of my personal information. What should I do? 
As this is an externally run study, the Union does not have control over its contents. In the past, we worked with the Harvard study administrators to find different ways to get around this name and address requirements but could not. You need to be comfortable with this aspect of the survey. If you are not, remember that participation is entirely voluntary. Further questions about provisions for confidentiality may be referred to the study administrators using the contact information below.

Are all questions mandatory? 
As referenced on the first page of the survey, you may skip questions. However, please keep in mind that the survey is programmed to adapt to your responses, which helps the system decide what follow-up questions need to be asked.

What if I decide to stop filling out the survey at some point? Will what I have put in up to that point be accepted?
Some of the data may be usable, but not all depending on the level of completeness. We suggest that you give yourself sufficient time to complete the entire survey (approximately 20-30 minutes), to ensure that the information is entirely usable.

Why is the survey only available in English? 
The Union’s goal is to advance and improve on causes dear to its members. While the Union’s direct internal communication with members is always made in English and French, participation in endeavours of international scope sometimes involves adapting to the realities of their country of origin.

This study is an initiative of an American research institution, subject to its own applicable language policies and legislation. The core questions were developed in English and have been used for each successive wave of participants from various countries.

The potential for introducing errors or disparities in the data collected due to a possible loss of meaning through the creation of a French version of the survey, compounded by the costs of highly technical translation requirements could render the participation of our members prohibitive to the institution administering the survey. This would not be in the best interest of the Union’s members.

The survey offers a draw for Apple watches. Will I be eligible for this prize?
Because draws are affected by different legislation depending on country and province, the Union is unable to guarantee eligibility for this participation prize. We urge you to consider participating as a goodwill contribution to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s invaluable research into cabin crew health and wellness.

I still have questions. Who do I contact? 
If you have any other questions specific to the survey, please send them directly to the administrators of the Harvard survey as indicated on the website:

Dr. Nidhi Ghildayal

Courtney Leimanis

Ethan M. Lawler

Eileen McNeely
Principal Investigator

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