Mark Purschwitz joined the University of Kentucky in January 2008 as a member of the faculty of the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering. His specific expertise is in agricultural safety and health, and he is Extension Professor and Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Specialist.
Mark came to UK after spending four years as a tenured research scientist at the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Marshfield, WI, where he conducted agricultural safety and health research. Prior to joining the staff in Marshfield, he spent three years on the faculty of Clemson University and 10 years on the faculty of Biological Systems Engineering at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, where he was a tenured associate professor and the Extension agricultural safety and health specialist. He also has six years of experience on the headquarters staff of his professional society, the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).
In August 2012, Mark received the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers 2012 SMV Technologies Ergonomics, Safety, and Health Award. The award recognized his outstanding contributions and service in the promotion of rollover protective structure usage and in advocating agricultural safety and health in national priorities and public policy venues.
In addition to having taught before all university and extension audiences, Purschwitz has developed educational programs for varied groups of people, ranging from farm families to medical professionals. He has been a key leader in national policy issues often resulting in new program initiatives or funding, and his work with such groups as NIOSH, National Farm Medicine Center, National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, and the National Academy of Sciences has clearly demonstrated the impact of his programs. He was the first to recognize and critique the large disparity between federal funding for farm safety and funding for safety in other industries, and his work was a prominent part of a 1989 report that eventually resulted in an annual $24 million Congressional appropriation to NIOSH for a broad agricultural health initiative. As a result of this continuing initiative, agricultural health and safety has become a recognized area of public health research, prevention, and policy at the federal level.
Purschwitz has authored or coauthored more than 125 peer-reviewed journal articles, university and departmental extension publications, technical papers, abstracts, proceedings, book chapters, audio-visual materials, and a physician training module. He has given more than 100 invited presentations to diverse audiences involving agricultural health and safety.A 31-year member of ASABE, Purschwitz has provided expertise to various Ergonomics, Safety and Health, and Power and Machinery division standards and technical committees, and he has chaired the Wisconsin Section. He received a University of Wisconsin College of Agricultural and Life Sciences John S. Donald Short Course Teaching award, and his ASABE awards and honors include a Standards Developer award and four Educational Aids Blue Ribbon awards. His other professional membership activities include having served as president, board member, and twice annual meeting co-chair for the International Society for Agricultural and Safety and Health, formerly the National Institute for Farm Safety.