The Department of Environmental Health pursues innovative research and offers interdisciplinary training in environmental health, emphasizing the role of air, water, contaminants in food and consumer products, the built environment, and the workplace as critical determinants of public health. Faculty members study the pathogenesis and prevention of environmentally produced illnesses, injury and disability, ergonomics and safety, climate change, occupational hygiene, environmental management and sustainability, and are leaders in, and facilitators of, scientifically based public health advances. Faculty research areas include a multi-disciplinary approach ranging from molecular and physiologic studies, exposure assessment and control, engineering, epidemiology, risk assessment to policy evaluation.
The department examines complex problems that require the contributions of many specialties. The faculty, research staff, and students reflect the multidisciplinary nature of the field and include chemists, engineers, epidemiologists, practitioners, occupational hygienists, urban planners, climatologists, applied mathematicians, physicians, nurses, physiologists, cell biologists, molecular biologists, and microbiologists.
What are the Areas of Specialization within this Field of Study?
Environmental Health Bioengineering: this area focuses on the biophysical interactions of cells, tissues and organisms with each other and with environmental exposures and agents, and how these physical processes determine biologic responses in tissue development, repair and disease.
Environmental Health Epidemiology: this area focuses on identifying and measuring the influence of physical, chemical, and biological environmental factors on human disease in communities to provide scientific evidence for sound environmental and health policies.
Environmental Health Exposure: this area emphasizes the chemical, physical, microbiological, and engineering aspects of environmental and occupational exposures and the identification and characterization of human and ecological exposures to environmental contaminants, and in modeling their fate and transport, to develop strategies to control environmental hazards, allergens, and pathogens.
Environmental Health Molecular Epidemiology: this interdisciplinary area combines molecular and genetic laboratory assessments with epidemiology to clarify gene-environment interactions, as well as assessment of epigenetic, functional genomic, metabolomic, transcriptomic and other “omic” technologies into environmental epidemiology study designs.
Environmental Health Occupational Health: this area focuses on the anticipation, identification, evaluation, and quantification of diseases and injuries due to workplace exposures and to provide the scientific basis for occupational health and safety policies to control occupational hazards.
Environmental Health Molecular Physiology: this area emphasizes understanding the functional outcomes of environmental and agents exposures on cells, tissues and organs, especially as disease manifestations.
Environmental Health Risk Sciences: this area emphasizes integrated education in risk and decision science in the context of environmental health – including exposure assessment, epidemiology, and toxicology – built on the principles of decision analysis and intended to support and advance decision-making under uncertainty.
Who are the faculty in the department associated with this Field of Study?
Information on the faculty in the Department of Environmental Health.
What are the required courses in this Field of Study?
Click here to view the required courses for the Environmental Field of Study.
Barbara Zuckerman, Environmental Health, Assistant Director of Faculty and Academic Affairs, tel: 617-432-2109
More information on the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.