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Environmental Health Sciences

Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology


What Do Environmental and Occupational Epidemiologists Do?

Scientists in this field investigate air pollution, asthma, and cardiovascular disease; gene-environment interactions and the toxicity of metals and pesticides in children, workers, and other adults; the effects pesticides have on humans; male reproductive toxicity; arsenic and bladder cancer; dioxin pollution and exposure; occupation and other risk factors for cancer of the lung, breast, upper aerodigestive tract, liver, and pancreas; climate change and heat-associated morbidity; environmental influences on patterns of infectious disease; exposures to phthalates; asbestos, and much more. 

The Program

The goals of the Occupational & Environmental Epidemiology (OEE) concentration are to provide graduate students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will allow them to study the effects of environmental and occupational exposures on human health, using the best available techniques in environmental epidemiology.  The OEE concentration, a cross-disciplinary program, is designed to accommodate the interests of students in either the Environmental Health Sciences (EHS) or the Epidemiology (EPID) Departments. 

Students who complete the MPH degree with a concentration in OEE will have basic and advanced training in epidemiology; the understanding and skills needed to assess the effects of environmental/occupational agents on health; expertise in exposure measurements, including the ability to interpret sampling results; and an understanding of the strengths and limitations of different environmental epidemiologic study designs.  

Students who complete the PhD degree with OEE as a major discipline will have, in addition, in-depth knowledge of  state-of-the art methods for exposure assessment including the application of biological markers; in-depth understanding of biological pathways linking environmental exposures with disease; and the design and execution of sophisticated cross-sectional and longitudinal epidemiologic studies.  The PhD thesis will be conducted under close supervision and will take advantage of any of the many cutting-edge studies being conducted by OEE faculty.