Department Overview

Mission Statement

The Department of Environmental Health (EH) believes that the essence of public health is the primary prevention of disease.  EH’s mission is to contribute to the maintenance and improvement of the health of all people through global leadership in research and training in environmental health.


  • To perform research on the pathogenesis and prevention of environmentally-produced illness that will act as a catalyst for scientifically based public health advances in society.
  • To perform research that will range from the molecular to the epidemiological levels and will utilize a diversity of appropriate technologies.
  • To produce well-educated scientists, engineers and professionals with the ability to advance environmental health in all sectors of society both domestically and internationally.


  • Attract and retain a distinguished faculty from a wide range of fields, such as chemistry, physiology, genetics, cell and molecular biology, medicine, engineering, epidemiology, occupational health and risk management.
  • Seek colleagues and collaborations to maximize the department’s resources and impact: establish and strengthen collaborations within Harvard University and Universities throughout the world through exchanges, faculty placement and distance learning.
  • Promote interdisciplinary research and teaching.
  • Recruit and provide financial support for the most qualified graduate students and post doctoral fellows.
  • Increase resources (financial support, space, equipment and opportunities) for the career development of faculty, staff and students.


The Department has 96 students, including 50 doctoral candidates, 26 Master of Science candidates, 7 Doctor of Philosophy candidates, 3 Master of Public Health candidates, and 10 MPH/Medical Residents. We also have approximately 91 post-doctoral fellows and visiting scientists.

  • Students represent 16 nations; 53% of degree candidates are foreign nationals.
  • The Department has 24 primary faculty members. 10 of these primary faculty have tenure; an additional 10 secondary and adjunct faculty are tenured as well.
  • The Department offers 55 regular courses and 12 continuing education courses.
  • The Department’s environmental outreach includes work with New England area schools, communities, workers, unions, and corporations.
  • Collaborative environmental and occupational health studies are taking place in Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Cyprus, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Germany, Ghana, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, Russia and Taiwan.
  • The Department has three endowed senior professorships: 1) the Cecil K. and Philip Drinker Professorship, 2) the Akira Yamaguchi Professorship in Environmental Health and Human Habitation, and 3) the John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professorship. There are also two endowed junior chairs, the Mark and Catherine Winkler Assistant/Associate Professors of Environmental Health.

The following is a breakdown of the students by region and country:

  • North America: USA 40, Canada 5
  • Central/South America: Chile 1
  • Asia: PRC 21, Taiwan 7, South Korea 2
  • Mediterranean/Middle East: Israel 1, Cyprus 4, Egypt 1, Iran 1
  • Southeast Asia: India 1, Thailand 1, Malaysia 1
  • Africa: Ghana 1, Nigeria 1


The Department excels at competing for federal funds, mostly from the National Institutes of Health. In FY13, funding for sponsored research in the Department was about $31 million.