Environmental Health Concentrator’s Guide 2013-14

Overview of the Environmental Health Concentration

Across the world, the environment is a key determinant of health and wellbeing. Unimproved water and sanitation, ambient air pollution, indoor pollution from solid fuels, and lead exposure are among the leading contributors to global burden of disease. Although the twentieth century saw public health triumphs in many parts of the “developed” world, these major contributors to disease burden remain critical public health challenges in many countries. In addition, many current and emerging exposures in food, water, soil, the air, and consumer products adversely affect humans in important ways. For example, particulate matter increases cardiovascular and respiratory morbidity and mortality. Other chemicals adversely affect fertility, child development, brain function, thyroid hormones, and the immune system. Global climate change leads to an array of health challenges, ranging from infectious disease to heat stress to natural disasters.

Research in the Department of Environmental Health addresses the scientific underpinnings of these complex phenomena. Our research has its scientific roots in toxicology and epidemiology, the disciplines that tell us most of what we know about the health effects of environmental hazards. The Department houses research laboratories in immunotoxicology and exposure biology and is home to a Superfund Research Program that investigates reproductive and developmental contaminants frequently encountered in communities near hazardous waste sites. The Department’s research agenda is also firmly rooted in community health and environmental justice, with multiple community-based participatory research projects addressing stressors in low-income communities. For example, a collaborative project with public officials and community groups seeks to better the health of low-income families by improving conditions in public housing.

Members of our faculty are innovative and committed teachers whose doors are open to students in the Master of Public Health, Master of Science, and Doctoral programs. In teaching, we combine a strong foundation in environmental health science with an emphasis on public health practice, bringing the real world into the classroom at every opportunity. Multiple classes offer the opportunity for field projects and engagement with communities or policy makers. Our graduates exemplify the same twin commitments to science and community advocacy as they work to bring about a healthier environment for all.

Environmental Health Communications

There are several ways to stay in touch with faculty and other students and to be informed about events and opportunities in the EH concentration.

  • EH Listserv: You should receive a message in the first week of the semester with upcoming events.  If you do not, please contact Carolyn Weber (carolyn5@bu.edu) to be added to the EH listserv.
  • The EH websitesph.bu.edu/eh
  • Yammer: Join the Environmental Health Concentrators Group and stay informed about EH events, opportunities, and news.

Please contact Carolyn Weber, your Curriculum Coordinator, with any questions.