COVID-19, Masks, Sanitizer

COVID-19 research

COVID-19 Survey for Workers 

Our COVID-19 Survey for Workers was designed for those ​​​​​​working during the COVID-19 pandemic, were unemployed or are transitioned to working their job remotely. With the help of the California Domestic Workers Coalition, a version of this survey was created for home-based workers providing services like cleaning and caregiving. Both of our COVID-19 Surveys for Workers are closed.

What is the purpose of this research project?

Scientists from the University of California-Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center are conducting research through an online survey to learn about the impacts of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak that began early in 2020. The purpose of this research project is to understand how workers have been affected, including those on the frontline, working remotely and who have been laid off, experienced disruptions or been unable to continue with their previous work for whatever reasons.

COVID-19 vaccine

Through research, we would like to understand more about how the coronavirus and shelter-in-place (lockdown) measures are impacting workers and their families at home and on the job. Collecting this information will provide a clearer picture of current concerns, needs and challenges for those at work and out of work. It allows us to better understand factors that might influence COVID-19 susceptibility and how the disease spreads through daily activities. The findings can help employers and policymakers implement changes to ensure workplaces are safe, especially for those on the frontlines.



Who can participate in the COVID-19 Survey for Workers?

Anyone can join the study who is 16 or older and was working prior to the COVID-19 outbreak regardless of the type of work they were doing. We invite all workers to participate, including those not directly affected by COVID-19.

Why should I take this survey?

The impact of COVID-19 is a disaster on an epic scale that has turned our lives upside down. Beyond the numbers of cases, deaths, and unemployed are the real impacts on individuals and their families. A pandemic of this scale and suddenness demands quick action from decision makers, yet information about workers, their health, their economic security,and their needs remains incomplete. Our survey collects data to fill in these information gaps.

What will happen with the data I provide?

Scientists will combine answers from all participants, analyze the data and compare experiences and needs of different groups by region and type of work or workplace (health care, retail, food processing, home care, transportation). The results will help identify unmet needs and highly vulnerable groups. Researchers will make results from the combined data widely available to participants, their representatives and policymakers throughout the country.

Will my answers be confidential?

Yes, any answers you provide will be confidential and any personal information you report will not be shared. With tens to hundreds of thousands of study participants, only the grouped results will be reported.

What will I be asked to do? 

You can use a computer, tablet or smart phone to take the survey, which averages about 10 to 20 minutes to complete. You can skip any questions you wish, and quit at any time. The survey asks questions about your workplace and what’s changed since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Some other questions in the survey include:

  • Whether you have or need personal protective equipment (PPE) at work
  • Whether you’re able to collect unemployment insurance if you’re not working
  • Details about your health and if you have been ill, were tested for COVID-19, or tried to get tested but were turned away
  • How your life, family and financial security may have been affected

At the end of the survey, you can let us know if you’re interested in participating in additional research as we try to track the conditions, challenges and needs of workers over the coming months. If sufficient funding becomes available and we’re able to collect biological specimens for testing, you can tell us if you’re interested in providing that, too.  

How can I contact the research team?

For more information about this research, please contact the UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center's research team at

Irva Hertz-Picciotto, Principal Investigator

Irva Hertz-Picciotto, PhD is Director of the UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center and lead scientist for the COVID-19 Survey for Workers. Hertz-Picciotto is an environmental epidemiologist who specializes in occupational health and studies how exposure to substances like metals, pesticides, air pollutants and endocrine disruptors interact with nutrition, genetics and social factors, especially during pregnancy and early child development.

Irva Hertz-PicciottoBest known for her pioneering work on environmental factors linked to autism, she’s produced seminal papers on the role exposure to pesticides, traffic-related air pollution, low folic acid intake and untreated fever during pregnancy have on the development of autism in children.

More recently, Dr. Hertz-Picciotto has focused her attention on the health impacts wildfires are having on communities affected by climate change. She’s the lead scientist for the WHAT-NOW study, which involves over 10,000 wildfire survivors across California and examines the emotional, social and physical toll these disasters are taking.

About the UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center

The UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center is funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to conduct research about environmental factors that can increase risks for diseases, including illnesses caused by viruses or genetic susceptibility.

We believe in the power of collaboration. Our researchers include epidemiologists, toxicologists, physicians, engineers, chemists, biologists and others working across disciplines to solve society’s most vexing environmental health problems. Using a community-engaged research model, we work with NGOs, unions and local agencies to study the physical and emotional impacts of a range of environmental issues affecting human health.

From pesticides and air pollution to climate change and pandemics, our ultimate goal is to translate what we learn into public health policies that improve the lives of people and the planet.