Research in environmental/occupational epidemiology requires an interdisciplinary approach. To gain this perspective, students cross-train through coursework, research and other enrichment activities in ENVR/OCCUP EPID as well as in other EPID programs areas (for example, Cancer, CVD, Infectious Diseases, Reproductive/Perinatal/Pediatric), or departments outside of EPID (e.g., Geography, Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Toxicology and other departments within public health and medicine).
The overall objectives of the program in Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology are to provide an interdisciplinary education that offers the students a solid foundation in environmental and occupational health, with practicum experiences to enhance applied learning and high-quality research experiences. The learning objectives for the environmental and occupational program area are the same as those for the Department of Epidemiology as a whole with the following additions.
- Apply the competencies laid out in the epidemiology department’s overall learning objectives to the solution of problems in one of more of the program subspecialty areas;
- Enumerate and discuss important health problems, with their descriptive epidemiology and determinants, for one or more of the program subspecialty areas of environmental/occupational epidemiology;
- Identify key surveillance systems and other sources of data relevant to the problem;
- Discuss study design and measurement issues particular to the subspecialty area;
- Appreciate key concepts from such related disciplines as environmental sciences, toxicology and biostatistics;
- Collaborate with experts in the preceding fields to conduct epidemiologic research;
- Appreciate the uses of epidemiologic research in identifying hazardous agents, evaluating environmental injustice, and in setting health and safety standards; and
- Communicate epidemiologic concepts, methods, findings, and recommendations to community groups, labor unions, health professionals, government agencies, employers and other stakeholders.
Students specializing in occupational or environmental epidemiology who satisfactorily complete the PhD also should be able to:
- Understand the principles of exposure assessment and collaborate with specialists from the relevant fields to assess exposure for epidemiologic research;
- Analyze and interpret exposure data in epidemiologic studies.
- EPID785: Environmental Epidemiology
- EPID 787: Advanced Environmental Epidemiology
- EPID 742: Biomarkers in Population-Based Research
- GEOG 541: GIS in Public Health
- PUBH 785: Interdisciplinary Approaches in Occupational Health
- ENVR 468: Temporal GIS and Space/Time Geostatistics for the Environment and Public Health
- ENVR 784: Community-Driven Research and Environmental Justice
- ENVR 575: Global Climate Change
- ENVR 640: Environmental Exposure Assessment
- TOXC 442: Molecular/Biochemical Toxicology
Core Faculty -Research Interests
Dr. Allison Aiello: socioeconomics and health, infectious diseases, minority health, ecologic stressors, mental health.
Dr. Christy Avery: air pollution-CVD outcomes, gene*environment interactions, methods.
Dr. Julie Daniels: flame retardants, persistent organic pollutants, pesticides, metals, and nutrition in relation to perinatal and pediatric outcomes, specifically neurodevelopment and growth.
Dr. Tania Desrosiers: employment and occupational exposures during pregnancy; environmental exposures; perinatal/pediatric outcomes.
Dr. Jessie Edwards: measurement error; exposure mixtures; occupational exposures.
Dr. Michael Emch: medical geography/spatial epidemiology, geographic information systems (GIS), satellite remote sensing, spatial modeling techniques, environmental modeling, and social network analysis to examine risk factors for infectious diseases.
Dr. Larry Engel: environmental/occupational exposures; pesticides; persistent organic pollutants; disaster epidemiology; petroleum-related exposures; cancer; molecular epidemiology.
Dr. Stephanie Engel: environmental pediatric and perinatal epidemiology; child development/maternal/reproductive health; endocrine disruptors, pesticides, molecular epidemiology.
Dr. Alexander Keil: bias in occupational studies; effects of long term ambient exposures; occupational exposures; radiation; arsenic.
Dr. Andrew Olshan: environmental/ occupational exposures; perinatal/pediatric/reproductive outcomes, cancer; molecular epidemiology; racial disparities.
Dr. Charles Poole: EMF; pesticides; cancer; perinatal/reproductive
outcomes; exposure measurement; and other methodologic issues.
Dr. David Richardson: radiation; occupational exposures; cancer, risk modeling. (Not taking students for Fall 2022)
Dr. Melissa Troester: biomarkers of exposure and response; molecular profiling; molecular epidemiology; cancer.
Dr. Eric Whitsel: air/noise pollution; epigenetics; CVD; GIS; exposure measurement.
Dr. Karin Yeatts: air pollution; asthma.
Various research centers across campus also serve as significant resources for our program faculty and students. The UNC-affiliated centers with which program faculty are associated are the following:
- The Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility
- The Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma, and Lung Biology
- The Carolina Population Center
- The Injury Prevention Research Center
- Institute for the Environment
- The Lineberger Cancer Center
- The NC Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology
- The NC Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention
- The NC Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center
September 19, 2023 The Gillings School is one of 13 funded partners working with the CDC’s Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics to establish the Outbreak Analytics and Disease Modeling (ODAM) Network. This funding will support the creation of the Atlantic Coast Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics and Analytics, which will serve as the OADM Coordinating Center and as a Center of Innovation.