Occupational and Environmental Medicine

The Occupational & Environmental Health Specialty Track focuses on environmental factors including biological, physical, and chemical factors that affect the health of individuals and communities. You will learn to recognize major environmental and occupational health threats such as organic solvents, heavy metals, pesticides, dusts, and physical hazards that can occur in all settings, with special emphasis on the workplace, where such exposures are often the heaviest. You learn to assess and mitigate these threats through direct intervention and, eventually, policy change. People focusing in this area take a special interest in social and environmental justice.

As a student in the Occupational & Environmental Medicine Specialty Track, you will be able to take advantage of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) facilities, ranging from the Children’s Health Study to the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program. We also focus on new threats, such as global climate change; new infectious agents and environmental pollutants that act as hormones and can disrupt normal human development, present new challenges for tomorrow’s public health practitioners.

You will complete a master’s thesis as your culminating experience. Recent projects include: upper airway health effects of dust produced when the World Trade Center collapsed; surveying for asbestos exposure at worksites; investigating deaths related to metal objects and oxygen canisters exploding in MRI scanner rooms; and examining policy implications of particular OSHA regulations.

Track-specific Competencies

To make sure our students develop the skills necessary to be successful and productive in the field of public health, and especially in the area of Occupational & Environmental Health, we have developed a list of skills and content areas for the students in this Specialty Track:

  • Assess environmental and occupational exposures.
  • Prevent and control environmental and occupational hazards.
  • Identify the adverse effects of chemical, biological, and physical exposures on human health.
  • Interpret epidemiologic and other research findings related to environmental risks, and assist in designing and conducting research.
  • Synthesize relevant information in order to analyze EOH policy implications, participate in policy development, and assess and manage occupational risks.
  • Engage in public health communication and risk communication activities.