Environmental Health Risk

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A very well organized curriculum with takeaways that far exceed those any other program can provide. An edge above, a must-attend for professionals in risk assessment.
  • —Anita Muller
  • National Safety Director, Compass Group at Exxon Mobil

Online Program Overview

A Risk Analysis Online Course

Risk analysis is a scientific tool designed to help us determine the existence and extent of threats to human health, provide information about how best to manage these risks, and improve our ability to communicate with the public about the proper response to these hazards.

This online course explores the principles of risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication, ensuring you can identify, explain, and make decisions about risks to public health. You will learn how risk analysis is done, how it is interpreted, how it influences regulatory decision-making, and the role it plays in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. This program will also provide you with the knowledge and skills to analyze how environmental hazards impact human health.

Top Harvard faculty will use case studies, lectures, and small-group work to explore such topics as hazard identification, epidemiology and toxicology in risk analysis, risk perception, risk communication, and the interplay of risk management and the law. You will gain the skills needed to:

  • Perform a broader, nuanced risk assessment
  • Improve the effectiveness of current risk assessment practices
  • Apply these concepts to diverse risk analysis and management issues

During this program, you will explore the legal and policy framework which will inform the direction of risk analysis in upcoming years, gain the skills needed to perform a quantitative risk assessment, discuss key factors influencing the effectiveness of risk assessment and management, and apply these concepts in local, state, federal, or international settings. After completing the course, you will be able to determine whether hazards pose an unacceptable risk to public health, communicate effectively about health risks, and utilize risk analysis to improve decision-making.

What is Risk Analysis?

Risk analysis involves:

  • Risk assessment: identifying and characterizing hazards to public health
  • Risk management: evaluating how to protect public health
  • Risk communication: understanding and explaining health risks

Risk analysis is used to protect the environment and public health by organizing and communicating knowledge about health risks within a framework useful for decision-making. This analysis is used to inform regulatory policy and address concerns associated with health hazards in the environment.

Why is Risk Analysis Important?

The public is increasingly concerned about how their health is impacted by environmental hazards such as chemicals, pollution, and food-borne disease. This increased awareness has repercussions for governments, health organizations, and private companies, all of which have a stake in protecting public health. Risk analysis is a useful framework for managing health risks.

Understanding the nature of risks, how people perceive threats to their health, and how risk information is communicated and understood is imperative to ensuring the proper management of environmental health risks.

Risk assessment has also played an important role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic through its role in modeling infectious disease. Risk analysis for infectious disease differs from that of other hazards because transmission depends on dynamic patterns of contact between people. A key goal of policy that risk analysis informs is to promote COVID-19 interventions that reduce this parameter, such as social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing, vaccination, identification & isolation of infectious people.

It is also important for private corporations to understand and address the impact of their operations and products on consumers to ensure they are not harming public health. Through the effective use of risk assessment methodologies, your organization can reduce the costs associated with regulatory non-compliance, avoid legal issues stemming from consumer liability and safety problems, and build organizational trust through their proactive management of potentially hazardous scenarios.

Risk analysis skills are equally important to public health agencies, as they must be able to review risk assessments conducted by industry or other agencies, interpret their findings, and prioritize governmental response to public health hazards.

Learning Objectives

  • Develop and expand capacity with current and emerging methods for quantifying risks
  • Evaluate exposure assessment protocols
  • Differentiate between key assumptions and uncertainties in non-cancer and cancer dose-response models
  • Understand probabilistic methods in uncertainty analysis and risk assessment
  • Identify key factors that influence risk perception and communication
  • Evaluate alternative approaches for valuation of environmental health risk outcomes
  • Understand the role of risk information in benefit-cost analysis and risk management

Credits and Logistics

Continuing Education Credit

All participants will receive a Certificate of Participation upon completion of the program.

Who Should Participate

Environmental Health Risk will benefit anyone involved in conducting, reviewing, or overseeing risk analysis, risk management, or risk communication activities. Participants come from private corporations across positions, non-profit organizations, and local, state, and national governments. Ideal participants will have the following job functions and organizational affiliations:

Job function:

  • Attorneys
  • Consumer protection
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • Environmental science and policy
  • Epidemiology
  • Food safety
  • Health and safety
  • Public health policy and research
  • Government and regulatory affairs
  • Risk assessment and management
  • Toxicology

Organizational function:

  • Academia
  • Commercial and noncommercial research
  • Environmental protection
  • Food production
  • Health care
  • Manufacturing
  • Public health
  • Regulation of industries or sectors
  • Resource extraction and refining

Local Accommodations

The majority of ECPE programs are held in the Kresge Building at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA. This area is known as the Longwood Medical Area. The Harvard Longwood Campus is home to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and is located 4.5 miles from Harvard Square. There are many options just a short public transit or taxi ride away. Please note that participants are responsible for arranging and paying for their own accommodations. We hope one of the below options will be suitable for you. Please contact the hotels directly for rates, availability, and booking.

By Public Transportation:

Boston Park Plaza Hotel:
Address: 64 Arlington Street, Boston
Phone: 617.426.2000

The Harvard Chan School can be accessed best by public transportation on the Train (Green line, E, Outbound to Brigham Circle).

Boston Sheraton Hotel:
Address: 39 Dalton Street, Boston
Phone: 617.236.2000

The Harvard Chan School can be accessed best by public transportation on either the Train (Green line, E, Outbound to Brigham Circle), or by Bus (39 towards Forest Hills).

Copley Square Hotel:
Address: 47 Huntington Avenue, Boston
Phone: 617.536.9000

The Harvard Chan School can be accessed best by public transportation on either the Train (Green line, E, Outbound to Brigham Circle), or by Bus (39 towards Forest Hills).

Fairmont Copley Plaza:
Address: 138 St. James Avenue, Boston
Phone: 617.267.5300

The Harvard Chan School can be accessed best by public transportation on either the Train (Green line, E, Outbound to Brigham Circle), or by Bus (39 towards Forest Hills).

Hilton Boston Back Bay:
Address: 40 Dalton Street, Boston
Phone: 617.236.1100

The Harvard Chan School can be accessed best by public transportation on either the Train (Green line, E, Outbound to Brigham Circle), or by Bus (39 towards Forest Hills).

Marriott Copley Place:
Address: 110 Huntington Avenue, Boston
Phone: 617.236.5800

The Harvard Chan School can be accessed best by public transportation on either the Train (Green line, E, Outbound to Brigham Circle), or by Bus (39 towards Forest Hills).

The Colonnade Hotel:
Address: 120 Huntington Avenue, Boston
Phone: 617.424.7000

The Harvard Chan School can be accessed best by public transportation on either the Train (Green line, E, Outbound to Brigham Circle), or by Bus (39 towards Forest Hills).

By Taxi:

Holiday Inn- Brookline:
Address: 1200 Beacon Street, Brookline
Phone: 617.277.1200

We recommend using Taxi’s from this location to the onsite programs at the Harvard Chan School.

The Courtyard Marriott Brookline:
Address: 40 Webster Street, Brookline
Phone: 617.734.1393

We recommend using Taxi’s from this location to the onsite programs at the Harvard Chan School.

Walking Distance

The Beech Tree Inn:
Address: 83 Longwood Avenue, Brookline
Phone: 857.267.1783

The programs at the Harvard Chan School are best reached by walking (20 minutes), or by Taxi.

The Bertram Inn:
Address: 92 Sewall Avenue, Brookline
Phone: 617.566.2234

The programs at the Harvard Chan School are best reached by walking (20 minutes), or by Taxi.

The Inn at Longwood Medical:
Address: 342 Longwood Avenue, Boston
Phone: 617.731.4700

The programs at the Harvard Chan School are best reached by walking (10 minutes), or by Taxi.

The Longwood Inn:
Address: 123 Longwood Avenue, Brookline
Phone: 617.566.8615

The programs at the Harvard Chan School are best reached by walking (20 minutes), or by Taxi.

Additional Ideas

Airbnb:

Boston Reservations:
Phone: 781.547.5427

We recommend staying in the Back Bay area for close proximity to the Harvard Chan School programs.

Hostelling International Boston:
Address: 19 Stuart Street, Boston,
Phone: 617.536.9455