Occupational & Environmental Medicine

The Occupational & Environmental Medicine Specialty Track takes advantage of the world-renowned academic talent at Mount Sinai in the environmental and occupational health fields. From the Children’s Health Study to the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program, Mount Sinai offers many opportunities for students interested in environmental and occupational health. Environmental factors are the predominant determinants of health in individuals and communities: providing a safe and clean water supply, cleaning the air, and getting the lead out of gasoline are all public health success stories. Still for many people around the world these advances are not yet a reality in their communities or even in their countries in general. In addition, 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.

The Occupational & Environmental Medicine Specialty Track focuses on environmental factors including biological, physical and chemical factors that affect the health of individuals and communities. Students in this track will learn to recognize the 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.  The track teaches students to recognize these threats, understand their effects on health, and develop competencies in assessing and mitigating these threats through direct intervention and eventually through policy change. The track takes a special interest in social and environmental justice.

Examples of projects undertaken in this track over the past few years include: upper airway health effects of dust produced when the World Trade Center collapsed after the terrorist attacks on  September 11, 2001; working in a major medical center employee health center; working in a private occupational medicine office; participating in surveillance for asbestos exposure at worksites; investigating deaths related to metal objects and oxygen canisters exploding in MRI scanner rooms; examining policy implications of OSHA regulations; working in the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Office of Radiological health.