Message from the Chair

The Department of Environmental Medicine and Climate Science is committed to the prevention of diseases with environmental origins and encompasses the allied fields of occupational and environmental medicine, biostatistics, and behavioral science. Since its creation nearly 50 years ago, our department has been at the forefront of environmental health research, education, and clinical practice, leading to discoveries that have made a positive impact on millions of lives. 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 our physical, social, and work environments affect our health. We are studying the lifetime environmental exposures of individuals, including those that occur even before birth, and how those exposures interact with a person’s unique genetic and 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 as chemicals never seen or studied before are continually introduced into our environments and into the products that children and adults consume or interact with on a daily basis.

As one of the leading environmental medicine and public health departments among medical schools in the United States, we are at the forefront of confronting the myriad challenges that face health care today. Since our founding, the Department of Environmental Medicine and Climate Science has established and maintained one of the first Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units; provided laboratory and analytical support to measure environmental and occupational exposure for researchers across the country; and built one of the nation’s first Exposome research programs.

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 be relentless in our research into the environmental causes of chronic diseases. On behalf of the Department of Environmental Medicine and Climate Science, I invite you to explore our website and learn more about our innovative programs and groundbreaking research.

Robert O. Wright, MD
Ethel H. Wise Professor and System Chair, Department of Environmental Medicine and Climate Science
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai