Northwestern professor advises state on worker health

Rob Karwath for NWHSU | October 02, 2018

NWHSU’s Osterbauer named to panel overseeing workers’ compensation, injury issues.

Paul Osterbauer, an associate professor at Northwestern Health Sciences University and a chiropractor, has been named to the Minnesota Rehabilitation Review Panel, which advises the state and its Department of Labor and Industry on employee health, healing and workers’ compensation issues.

Osterbauer is one of 16 members of the panel, which reviews appeals of orders by the Department of Labor and Industry on certification of rehabilitation consultants and vendors. The panel also advises the state about issues related to injured workers and helps educate employees, employers and others about Minnesota’s workers’ compensation system.

By law, at least one member of the panel must be a chiropractor. Osterbauer fills that role with his appointment, which runs through January 2022.

“Because chiropractors play an important role in caring for injured workers, the state has for many years required that at least one member of our profession is on the board,” Osterbauer said.

He continues a tradition of having a chiropractor connected with Northwestern in that role. For many years, Joseph Sweere, a longtime professor at Northwestern and a chiropractor, served on the panel. Osterbauer said Sweere urged him to take the appointment.

“I am following in his footsteps,” Osterbauer said. “I also can bring my research experience to this position. I believe that we, as chiropractors, have a responsibility to get involved. I also have a professional interest in this area. It seemed like a natural fit, making a contribution by reviewing policies and cases.”

Northwestern interim President and CEO Deb Bushway said, “We congratulate Dr. Osterbauer on his appointment and know he will bring important professional knowledge and experience to this role. The health and safety of Minnesota’s workers and workplaces is essential to our state being a healthy state. A representative from Northwestern, Minnesota’s only higher education institution teaching chiropractic, has important insight to offer.”

Osterbauer received his Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Chiropractic degrees from Northwestern. He also holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Washington in Seattle. His research has focused on care of older patients as well as on treatment of wrist and hand injuries as well as spine function.

For more than 75 years, Northwestern Health Sciences University, based in Bloomington, MN, has provided world-class professional education and research as well as comprehensive health and wellness services. Its more than 130 faculty members annually teach about 6,500 students pursuing degrees and continuing education in accredited programs in chiropractic, acupuncture, therapeutic massage, Chinese medicine, nutrition and other health treatments. Northwestern has more than 7,500 graduates throughout the U.S. and in 21 countries. For more information, please visit