The Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) Department has a sound reputation as a leader in training students to...

  • Identify agents that affect health
  • Study the long-term effects of environmental and occupational health risks
  • Determine the molecular mechanisms of toxic agents that contribute to the development of certain illnesses and diseases.

Environmental health specialists help find ways to promote healthier environments and minimize risks that increase the incidence of respiratory, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal diseases, asthma, lower respiratory infections, road traffic injuries, poisonings, and drownings.
Occupational health specialists study all aspects of health and safety in the workplace. From exposure to toxins on the job, to workplace violence and lifting injuries, occupational hazards create an enormous health burden, unnecessary pain and suffering, and economic loss in the workplace.

Find a research program for your interests

Many EOH faculty members collaborate with basic sciences and clinical investigators throughout other departments at Pitt Public Health, and the University of Pittsburgh schools of medicine and engineering. Students and faculty perform studies on the principles and practice of environmental health ranging from basic research at the cellular and molecular level to applied translational studies of human disease, population exposure, and public health studies.

In addition, faculty and students work with local governmental organizations, such as the Allegheny County Health Department, the Pittsburgh Office of the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority to study and improve the environmental health of southwestern Pennsylvania.

Pursue a career in environmental and occupational health

Doctoral degree graduates are prepared to work in laboratory-based academic settings as faculty or postdoctoral fellows and become prominent members of government agencies and independent industries. Recent graduates have obtained fellowships at top-tier academic institutions, positions with
the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, and in firms conducting chemical and environmental risk assessment.

Master's degree graduates play prominent roles as environmental/occupational health practitioners in various settings, including industry, hospitals, government agencies, and private practice.

Degrees

The EOH Department offers two degrees in the environmental health sciences, providing a broad theoretical and practical education for positions in academia, industry, or government. The multiple tracks provide flexibility in acquiring advance training in toxicology, environmental biophysics, molecular and cellular pathobiology, risk assessment, and exposure science.

Our professional degree program allows students to earn concentrations in environmental health or risk assessment and apply these concepts to public health practice.

 

Praekunatham promoted to chief of Epidemiology and Public Health Emergency Response

Hirunwut Praekunatham (EOH, '...
Praekunatham promoted to chief of Epidemiology and Public Health Emergency Response

Hirunwut Praekunatham (EOH, '18) was recently promoted to chief of the Epidemiology and Public Health Emergency Response unit under the new Division of Occupational and Environmental Diseases in Thailand. Praekunatham's responsibilities include surveillance of environmental/occupational diseases at... (09/09/2019)

EOH alumna Lauren Chubb is looking beyond what the eye can see to keep miners safe.

PITT MAGAZINE - Lauren Chubb,...
EOH alumna Lauren Chubb is looking beyond what the eye can see to keep miners safe.

PITT MAGAZINE - Lauren Chubb, DrPH, MPH (EOH ’16, ’13) occasionally dons a hard hat to see the results of her work in the lab. Her team at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's Mining Program has developed software to analyze respirable dust samples in just a few minutes, rath... (08/05/2019)

Stacy finds correlation between obesity in mothers, childhood cancer risk in children

SPECIALTY PHARMACY TIMES - A ...
Stacy finds correlation between obesity in mothers, childhood cancer risk in children

SPECIALTY PHARMACY TIMES - A new studying has found a correlation between children born to pre-pregnancy body-mass index (BMI) and the likelihood of developing childhood cancer, even after correcting for known risk factors, such as newborn size and maternal age. "My hope is that this study can be, ... (07/23/2019)

Hill, Fabisiak talk to KDKA radio about asthma and the Clairton Coke Works

KDKA RADIO – The Clairton Cok...
Hill, Fabisiak talk to KDKA radio about asthma and the Clairton Coke Works

KDKA RADIO – The Clairton Coke Works is one of the biggest emitters of air pollutants in the area and there is a lot of anecdotal evidence about poor health in that area. EOH’s Jim Fabisiak and Brandy Hill (EOH ‘21) talk about their work and the importance of scientific investigation learning about... (07/03/2019)

Hill on asthma, how residents grapple with life in the shadows of U.S. Steel's Clairton Plant

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE REVIEW - A...
Hill on asthma, how residents grapple with life in the shadows of U.S. Steel's Clairton Plant

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE REVIEW - A study of asthma patients found those living within 10 miles of the plant also reported experiencing more frequent attacks in the weeks immediately following the fire, along with the need to increase medication use, like an inhaler, said Brandy Hill (EOH '21).  (06/24/2019)

 

Thu
9/19
EOH Journal Club
Particle Depletion Does Not Remediate Acute Effects of Traffic-related Air Pollution and Allergen EOH Journal Club
Particle Depletion Does Not Remediate Acute Effects of Traffic-related Air Pollution and Allergen
Thu 9/19 11:00AM - 12:00PM
4140 Public Health, Young Seminar Room

Presenter: Brandy Hill

Paper: Particle Depletion Does Not Remediate Acute Effects of Traffic-related Air Pollution and Allergen. A Randomized, Double-Blind Crossover Study

Authors: Denise J. Wooding, Min Hyung Ryu, Anke Huls, Andrew D. Lee, David T. S. Lin, Christopher F. Rider, Agnes C. Y. Yuen, and Chris Carlsten

Abstract:
Rationale: Diesel exhaust (DE), an established model of trafficrelated
air pollution, contributes significantly to the global burden of
asthma and may augment the effects of allergen inhalation. Newer
diesel particulate-filtering technologies may increaseNO2 emissions,
raising questions regarding their effectiveness in reducing harm from
associated engine output.

Objectives: To assess the effects of DE and allergen coexposure on
lung function, airway responsiveness, and circulating leukocytes, and
determine whether DE particle depletion remediates these effects.

Methods: In this randomized, double-blind crossover study, 14
allergen-sensitized participants (9 with airway hyperresponsiveness)
underwent inhaled allergen challenge after 2-hour exposures to DE,
particle-depleted DE (PDDE), or filtered air. The control condition
was inhaled saline after filtered air. Blood sampling and spirometry
were performed before and up to 48 hours after exposures. Airway
responsiveness was evaluated at 24 hours.

Measurements and Main Results: PDDE plus allergen
coexposure impaired lung function more than DE plus allergen,
particularly in those genetically at risk. DE plus allergen and PDDE
plus allergen each increased airway responsiveness in normally
responsive participants.DEplus allergen increased blood neutrophils
and was associated with persistent eosinophilia at 48 hours. DE and
PDDE each increased total peripheral leukocyte counts in a manner
affected by participant genotypes. Changes in peripheral leukocytes
correlated with lung function decline.

Conclusions: Coexposure to DE and allergen impaired lung
function, which was worse after particle depletion (which increased
NO2). Thus, particulates are not necessarily the sole or main
culprit responsible for all harmful effects of DE. Policies and
technologies aimed at protecting public health should be scrutinized
in that regard.
Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT02017431).

Keywords: diesel exhaust; asthma; filter; genetic susceptibility