Environmental Health

  • SPH EH 705: Toxicology for Public Health
    This is a two credit course designed to introduce the basic concepts of toxicology to students from multiple fields and disciplines. The objectives of the first part of the course are to detail the routes of exposure to xenobiotics (chemicals and drugs) and to trace the biochemical and biological pathways through which xenobiotics are absorbed, metabolized, distributed, excreted and biomonitored. In the second section of the course, we examine the effects of molecular/cellular changes on the function of representative organ systems including the respiratory, endocrine/reproductive, immune, liver, kidney and nervous systems. Students are also introduced to regulatory toxicology and food toxicology. At the completion of the course students are expected to have an extensive toxicology vocabulary. Students will also have a working knowledge of: 1) general toxicological principles, 2) inter-species and inter-individual differences in responses to toxicants, 3) the effects of several key toxicants on the normal function of several organ systems, and 4) the basic approach to regulatory toxicology. The overall objective of this course is to provide the student with an introduction to the language and principles of toxicology such that these principles may be applied to public health situations and communicated to the general public.
    This course provides a foundation in the basic mechanisms required for human health. It is designed for students who have little or no background in the biological sciences. Students will learn the fundamentals of human physiology, from the molecular/cellular level to the level of the various organs and organ systems. The integration of organ system functions to maintain homeostasis, or health, is explored in depth. After completing this course, students will be able to participate knowledgeably in both technical and non-technical discussions of public health issues. Moreover, upon entering the workforce as practitioners, they will be able to effectively communicate with and educate the public about actually how public health activities and interventions serve to promote healthy lives.
  • SPH EH 710: Physiological Mechanisms of Health and Disease
    This course provides students with a detailed working knowledge of the normal mechanisms of human body function. It is most appropriate for MS and PhD students, though it is available to all students. Physiological mechanisms are studied from the molecular level to the level of organ systems, and emphasis is placed on understanding how body processes are regulated and integrated so as to achieve homeostasis characteristic of a normal, healthy individual. Students will become acquainted with both the gross and histological anatomy of major organs. For each system covered, a case study of a disease of significant public health interest is used to reinforce basic physiological principles, and to acquaint students with physiological measurements commonly used in clinical settings. This course is recommended for all students who need a substantive understanding of human physiology for subsequent coursework. This course will be of special value to students whom expect their careers to involve close interaction with health care providers.
  • SPH EH 713: Molecular Biology and Public Health
    The last 10 years has seen an explosion in the discipline of molecular biology and in the technologies available for defining the molecular basis of disease and for confirming the role of the environment in those diseases. These stunningly rapid advances have important implications for current and future approaches to public health. Therefore, an understanding of the principal concepts of how molecular biology relates to public health is critical to the modern public health practitioner. The goal of this course is to equip students with the ability to understand the potential applications of genetic engineering for various health specialties. In particular, the course introduces the student to the basic concepts of cellular biology and molecular genetics and investigates the use of a number of powerful molecular techniques including, but not limited to, gene cloning, gene therapy, genetic engineering of animals and plants (GMOs), identification of molecular bio-markers of susceptibility, mapping of the molecular signals that form the basis of cancer, pinpointing the footprints of environmental chemical exposures in cancer and other diseases, and mining of the human genome. The implications of these advances vis-a-vis the right to privacy, discrimination on the basis of genetic makeup, the cloning of humans, and other ethical issues are also addressed. While a background in biology is helpful, this course is negotiable by any student showing a high level of enthusiasm for scientific discovery.
  • SPH EH 725: Analytical Methods in Environmental Health
    Graduate Prerequisites: Required for all EH concentrators who have not completed EH765. EH717may be taken concurrently with or prior to EH725.
    Students in this course learn the skills, methods and critical thinking framework necessary for upper level environmental health courses and for success as public health professionals. Environmental Health is a field of public health in which environmental hazards and health risks to populations are identified, assessed and managed through a data-driven process. This course extends the depth of concepts taught in EH717 and should be taken concurrently for students entering in the fall semester. We take the opportunity to partner with communities to design and conduct a data collection and analysis effort that is suitable for rigorous analyses with the many tools commonly used in environmental health.
  • SPH EH 730: Methods in Environmental Health Sciences
    This course is one of three foundational courses for the Environmental Hazard Assessment (EHA) Certificate. Environmental health is a field of public health in which environmental hazards and health risks to populations are identified, assessed and managed through a data-driven process. This course extends the depth of concepts taught in the Core curriculum and extends the breadth to teach the scientific and policy aspects of relevant environmental health situations. We take the opportunity to partner with communities to design and conduct a data collection and analysis effort that is suitable for rigorous analyses with the many tools commonly used in environmental health. The methods relevant to the field are taught in the context of the relevant environmental health issues of today. Students are well prepared for upper level (Level 3) environmental health courses and for success as public health professionals.
  • SPH EH 735: The Environmental Determinants of Infectious Diseases
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH PH709 or EH710 or one year of college biology within last 5 yearswith a B or better
    The environment is a key determinant of infectious disease burden in a population. This course presents an overview of how existing and, in particular, changing global environmental factors can affect the transmission cycle of infectious pathogens in both developing and industrialized countries. It examines issues of water, sanitation and hygiene in resource-limited settings that contribute enormously to childhood death due to infectious diarrheal diseases, and to morbidity and mortality due to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). It also explores how environmental alterations and natural disasters can result in ecological changes that impact on the maintenance and spread of infectious diseases in a community. Sustainable environmental intervention strategies to reduce the burden of infectious diseases will be considered for each of the major diseases covered in class. This course is appropriate for MPH students and undergraduates, especially those interested in biology, global health, and the environment.
  • SPH EH 745: Wastewater and Health/Sustainable Sanitation
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH environment core course or consent of instructor.
    This course provides students with an overview of the relationship between human health, ecological health, and sanitation. The different disposal and treatment methods for human excreta are described in their historical and political contexts. Related topics such as the land appliation of sewage sludge, the role of government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and public health experts are presented as well as practical solutions toward sustainable sanitation. This course involves a group project and a paper.
  • SPH EH 750: Water Quality and Public Health
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH environmental core course requirement or permission of the instructor. For undergrads, course in biology or chemistry.
    This course is a lecture and methods course on water resources and public health. Water supply and water quality discussions provide an overview of the technical and scientific basis on which public health decisions are made regarding disease prevention and community health. The chemical, physical, and biological processes necessary for designing and managing municipal drinking water treatment plants are analyzed. Water quality topics include standards and regulations; non-point source runoff;point source discharge; and water quality analysis of drinking and surface waters. Students will sample, analyze and use water quality objectives for comparison. Social, political, and economic factors effecting water quality and treatment will be discussed. The course will conclude with historical and international perspectives on water resources and management.
  • SPH EH 757: Environmental Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH PH 717 or SPH EH 717; or consent from instructor.
    This course introduces students to epidemiologic investigations of environmental health problems. Topics include both traditional and innovative subjects and strategies, such as the health effects associated with air and water contaminants, toxic waste sites, lead, and radiation, as well as environmental exposures that have received attention only recently, such as endocrine disruptors and electromagnetic fields. The course emphasizes epidemiologic methods, particularly exposure assessment, modeling, cluster analysis, and sources of bias. Students gain experience in the critical review and design of related epidemiologic studies. This course counts as concentration credit for epidemiology concentrators.
  • SPH EH 768: Introduction to Toxicology
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH PH709 or EH710 or one year of college biology with a grade of B or better within last 5 years, or consent.
    This introductory course presents the basic concepts of toxicology, including dose-response relationships, biological and chemical factors that influence toxicity, types of harmful effects, principles of testing for toxic effects and the underlying concepts behind toxicant-induced disease susceptibility. Toxicants found in the environment, such as metals, pesticides and industrial pollutants, are studied. The course assumes basic knowledge of chemistry and biology, although there are no prerequisites. This course is required of all Environmental Health concentrators.
  • SPH EH 804: Exposure Assessment
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH PH 717 or SPH EH 717; or consent from instructor.
    The process of assessing exposure is a critical component of occupational and environmental epidemiology, of determining compliance with health and safety regulations, and in conducting human health risk assessments. This course in exposure assessment covers the basic concepts and methods of study design, data collection, and data analysis/interpretation. Students analyze relevant case studies and conduct a study in which they develop their own exposure assessment strategy, collect and analyze data, prepare a final report, and present their findings.
  • SPH EH 805: Environmental Health Science, Policy and Law
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH EH717 OR MPH integrated core courses.
    This course uses a case-study approach to discuss current and historic controversies in environmental and occupational health policy making. Our specific focus is on the examination of how scientific information (e.g., risk assessments, exposure analyses, epidemiologic studies, clinical case reports,) is used (or is not used) in policy decisions. Students will learn how environmental health laws and regulations are made and challenged, and gain experience looking up laws, regulations and court decisions. Case studies feature international treaties, federal and state court cases, laws, regulations, and policies. Topic areas include air and water quality, hazardous waste, environmental justice, worker safety, and the precautionary principle.
  • SPH EH 811: GIS for Public Health Data Analytics
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH PH 717 or SPH EH 717; Or consent of instructor.
    This course teaches principles and applications of Geographical Information Systems to analyze public health data. Topics covered include basic mapping, creation and management of geospatial databases, raster and vector data structures, network-based spatial analysis, and spatial statistics tools applied to different disciplines of public health. Class includes lectures, computer lab exercises, and a term project. The course uses ArcGIS software and is held in the computer lab.
  • SPH EH 840: Advanced and Emerging Topics in Toxicology
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH EH 705 and SPH EH 725; Or Consent of instructor.
    This advanced-level course builds on the content of EH768. The course uses a case study approach to teach the molecular mechanisms by which compounds exert their toxicity in addition to dose-response analyses that are applicable to regulatory toxicology. Experimental methods and toxicological data that are generated are presented and discussed for each of the case studies. The most recent literature is consulted to support the most up-to-date analyses of toxic mechanisms. Major topics include cellular mechanisms of action of toxicants as they relate to endocrine/reproductive toxicology, neurotoxicology, and immunotoxicology, and the use of these data in regulatory toxicology. Up and coming areas (e.g. microbiome) and contentious chemicals (e.g. glyphosate) are included each year.
  • SPH EH 866: Risk Assessment Methods
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH PH 717 or SPH EH 717; or consent from instructor.
    Students learn practical application of risk assessment methods to various environmental problems. The focus of the course is on human health risk assessment and teaches students to quantify the risk of adverse health effects from exposures to chemicals in the environment . Students also can apply what they learn to evaluations of biological and radiological exposures. The strengths and weaknesses of risk assessment methods, the inherent uncertainties in each step, and the relationship between risk assessment and risk management are discussed.
  • SPH EH 872: Environmental Data and Modeling
    Suppose you need to analyze the possible risks of a proposed point source or a possible replacement chemical in a consumer product. To do this, you need to know exposures to a pollutant but you can't measure them for everyone. What do you do? Estimation of exposure is an essential skill for evaluating regulatory compliance or permits, risk assessment, examining environmental justice and other purposes. Students will learn how to use publicly available data and models to estimate exposure. This hands-on course develops skills in the assumptions behind and use of equilibrium models, compartmental models and dispersion models--all widely used in the field. Sample problems include estimation of exposure from eating contaminated fish using sediment PCB concentrations, exposure to flame retardants from biomonitoring (blood, urine) data, inhalation of air pollutants emitted by an industrial facility. This course is required of students in the Master of Science in Environmental Health Data Analytics, but is also suitable for PhD students as well as MPH students who meet the prerequisites.
  • SPH EH 875: Case Studies in Environmental Decision Making
    Environmental health decision making frequently occurs in complex situations and in the presence of uncertainty. In this course, students will examine 4-6 case studies about key and current topics in environmental health. Students will apply skills learned in prior courses (e.g., analytical methods for environmental management, risk assessment, exposure modeling) to evaluate and address questions related to these cases. This course will further develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving, data analysis, and communication, and is intended to promote hypothesis generation for projects to be conducted in the Capstone in Environmental Health and Management.
  • SPH EH 880: Capstone in Environmental Health and Management
    The Capstone in Environmental Health and Management course provides a structured learning environment in which students develop, refine, and present a management solution for the student's self-identified environmental health question. The student will leverage publicly available data and information to support a management recommendation that will be shared with multiple audiences, including the legislature. This course integrates tools and methods taught in the required courses for the Environmental Health Data Analytics MS degree program.
  • SPH EH 914: Environmental Health Doctoral Seminar
    Graduate Prerequisites: EH Doctoral students only. Consent of instructor required.
    This is a doctoral-level seminar course. A new central topic in environmental health is covered each semester. Topics include carcinogenesis/mutagenesis, vaccine development and application, molecular epidemiology, microbial pathogenesis, etc. Each semester proceeds from an historical perspective, and includes both basic science and policy issues. Students are assigned readings from the literature for presentation as a formal lecture, with related discussion to be led by the student.