We strive to improve global environmental health by advancing fundamental scientific and public health initiatives for clean air and water, safe food and workplaces, and sustainable communities.
Examining Environmental Factors, Human Health, and Disease
Who’s making sure our environment isn’t making us sick? Environmental and occupational health scientists study the effects of our surroundings—both natural and manmade—including the air we breathe, the water we drink, the noises we hear, and the stressors we are exposed to during our daily lives at home and in the workplace on individual community health. Our mission in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health is to conduct impactful transdisciplinary research, educate and train future leaders, and engage local and global public health practitioners and communities to promote healthy, equitable living and work environments. Essentially, we explore the relationships between environmental factors and human health. Through our diverse research and educational programs, we seek to assess the health implications of environmental agents and answer the question, how do exposures to certain environmental agents make people more susceptible to acute and chronic human disease?
Our faculty engages in advancing understanding of the health effects of biological, chemical and physical agents. We apply cutting-edge approaches to study environmental and occupational health including environmental health disparities through the lenses of molecular and biochemical toxicology, epigenetics, gene-environment interaction as well as computational and risk assessment methods. This includes the new paradigm of the exposome, which can be defined as all exposures of an individual in a lifetime and how those exposures interact with our own unique characteristics such as genetics, physiology, and epigenetics to impact our health. Our research and teaching do not occur in a vacuum. We actively collaborate with community partners and facilitate practicum experiences to enhance faculty and student learning beyond the confines of the classroom. We collaborate widely with the other departments at Pitt Public Health, the schools of medicine and engineering, as well as centers and institutes across Pitt and other national and global Universities.
Our academic programs include rigorous mentoring and flexible programs of study with comprehensive curricula. Through our scientific research centers and professional practice curricula, the department has forged strong and productive relationships with local and national environmental agencies, nonprofits, and medical institutions. At all levels of study, EOH students have the opportunity to engage in faculty-directed research. We move student learning beyond the classroom, fostering critical thinking, defining personal interests, developing collaborations, and building a community.
An undergraduate or graduate degree in environmental and occupational health can prepare you for a career in public health policy, risk assessment and management, consulting, or research. Our graduates routinely collaborate with other transdisciplinary professionals including chemists, biologists, geologists, physicists, physicians, engineers, and bioinformaticians. EOH graduates pursue careers in government, industry, academia and beyond. EOH alumni are employed at organizations such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, National Institutes of Health, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.