Credits: 3 credits
The course examines the environmental factors that impact population health. The course focuses on the biological, physical and chemical agents affecting human health. Additional topic areas that will be explored include the regulatory framework for environmental health, workplace health, and contemporary issues in environmental justice.
This is a required core course for students enrolled in the Master of Public Health (MPH) program. The course is designed to provide learners with the essential information about environmental health needed by the Master of Public Health student. Environmental health is framed to provide a permanent awareness of environmental influences, to engage students in environmental health issues that will cross into their professional lives and to instill an appreciation of the ways in which we all make the environment we live in and a sense of how our future choices might differ from past ones. Building on the understanding of behavior and the environment, the learner will start with the scientific and methodologic domains of environmental health including epidemiologic study designs and conceptual models of exposure to environmental hazards. Core principles of community-based research, risk assessment and management and how the precautionary principle is invoked in environmental health and policy will be examined. The interaction of humans within ecosystems that can result in morbidity and mortality are introduced related to infectious diseases, naturally occurring disasters and events. The fossil fuel cycle, its environmental impacts, and its occupational risks in the United States and globally will be discussed. The production of manufactured goods and food including regulation and policy will be examined with discussions of their impact on human health and the environment. The leaner will be able to describe the U.S. regulatory framework for managing the public health risks associated with drinking water, municipal wastewater and municipal solid waste. Environmental health hazards of megacities in less developed countries, the built environment which includes buildings, transportation and public spaces in more developed countries and specific hazards of modern lifestyle will be described. The concept of the ecologic footprint and its implications for resource sustainability as it applies to health disparities, diversity, ethics, and social justice will be addressed throughout the course.
During and upon completion of the learning experiences, students will have the ability to:
- Describe the value of environmental health for understanding and addressing public health problems.
- Identify how epidemiologic study design informs environmental health issues.
- Describe key strategies for reducing transmission of infectious diseases.
- Outline the range of public health impacts brought about by natural disasters.
- Explore the impact of environmental health risks and hazards created by an industrialized society.
- Identify the functions of the U.S. regulatory system as it applies to selected environmental areas including water, air, food production, and occupational safety.
- Evaluate the health impact of the built environment at the community-level.
- Describe the environmental hazards of urbanization, megacities, and specific hazards of developing and developed countries.
- Explain how the concept of the ecologic footprint and its implications for resource sustainability applies to health disparities, diversity, ethics, and social justice.