Message from the Chair

The Department of Preventive Medicine is committed to the prevention of diseases of environmental origin and encompasses the allied fields of occupational and environmental medicine, biostatics, and behavioral science. Since its creation nearly 50 years ago, the department has been at the forefront of environmental health research, education, and clinical practice, leading to discoveries that have impacted the lives of millions.  We aim to prevent disease before it begins.

Our multidisciplinary team of physicians, scientists, biostatisticians, and social workers remains dedicated to advancing the global knowledge of how factors in the physical, social, and work environments impact health. We are studying individuals’ lifetime environmental exposures, including those that occur even before birth, and how those exposures interact with an individual’s unique genetic, physiological makeup. The causes of many complex medical conditions, such as autism, certain cancers, and neurological diseases, remain largely unknown. These and other conditions are on the rise at a time when never before seen or studied chemicals have been introduced into our physical environments and into the products that individuals, families, and children use daily.  

As one of the leading medical school departments in preventive medicine, we are at the forefront of confronting the challenges that face health care today. Since our founding, the Department of Preventive Medicine has:

  • Established and maintained one of the first Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units. These clinical centers are funded by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and provide clinical and preventive care and counseling to families across New York.
  • Provided laboratory and analytical support to measure environmental and occupational exposure for researchers across the country. We have built one of the nation’s first Exposome research programs. The Senator Frank Lautenberg Laboratory for Environmental Health Sciences is dedicated to developing new methods for measuring the Environment and continues to expand with collaborations nationally and internationally.
  • Established the Selikoff Centers for Occupational Health.  As part of the New York State Occupational Health Clinic Network, our Centers treat work-related health conditions in New York City and the Lower Hudson Valley. Our Centers develop workplace programs that integrate occupational safety and health protection with disease prevention strategies. We also provide critically important medical services to 9/11 workers and volunteers enrolled in the federally funded World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP). As the largest WTCHP Clinical Center of Excellence, we have provided services to more than 22,000 responders since 2002; we are honored to take care of these heroic men and women.
  • Developed a broad range of educational and training programs that include medical school courses, courses in the Mount Sinai MPH program, residency and fellowship training programs, and post-doctoral research fellowships in environmental and occupational health research. In partnership with the Department of Population Health Science and Policy and the Arnhold Institute for Global Health, we are collaborating to build new PhD programs in epidemiology and biostatistics.
  • Provided biostatistical and bioinformatics support to federally-funded research projects across Mount Sinai, including the Tisch Cancer Institute and the WTC Data Center.

As rates of complex diseases such as obesity, learning disabilities, and cancer continue to rise, it is abundantly clear that environmental factors play a major role in their etiology. Now, more than ever, we must focus research efforts on the environmental causes of chronic diseases. On behalf of the Department of Preventive Medicine, I invite you to explore our website and learn more about our innovative programs and groundbreaking research we are conducting.