EHS 590: Introduction to Environmental Health

Fall 2014, Course: HEHS590
Thursday, 5:30 P.M. to 8:20 P.M.
East Campus George Education Center (GEC), Auditorium
Course Instructors
 Michael S. Bloom, PhD, MS Associate Professor, Departments of Environmental Health
Sciences & Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University at Albany School of Public Health,
GEC Rm. 157 (in the Dept. of Epidemiology & Biostatistics); (518) 473-1821;
[email protected]
o Office hours, Wednesdays, 12:00-2:00, GEC Rm. #157 and by appointment.
 Ramune Reliene, PhD, MS Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Health
Sciences and Cancer Research Center (CRC), University at Albany School of Public Health,
CRC Room 310; (518) 591-7152, [email protected]
o Office hours, Wednesdays, 2:00-4:00, CRC Rm. #310 and by appointment.
 Celeste Butts, MS, Doctoral Student, Department of Environmental Health, Sciences,
University at Albany School of Public Health, GEC Rm. 144 (in the Dept. of Epidemiology
& Biostatistics); [email protected]
o Office hours, Thursdays, 2:00-4:00, GEC Rm. #144 and by appointment.
Text Book: The required textbook is Environmental Health: From Global to Local, 2nd edition,
Howard Frumkin, Editor, 2010, published by Jossey-Bass, ISBN 978-0-470-40487-4
 Available at the University at Albany Bookstore (located in the Student Center on the
Uptown Campus);
 Available at Mary Jane Books (located at 215 Western Ave. #3, Albany, NY 12203 - Corner
of Western Ave. and Quail St.)
 A single copy has been placed on restricted reserve at the Dewey Library on the Downtown
UAlbany campus.
Additional required readings will be distributed electronically via Blackboard.
iClicker2: This class uses the iClicker2 system for in class participation exercises. Purchase of
an iClicker2 is required for completion of this course. You are responsible for registering your
iClicker2 and for bringing it to each and every class throughout the semester; you will not be
able to receive credit for in class exercises if you do not have your iClicker2 with you (you will
not be able to use a friend’s). To use your iClicker2 with this class you will have to register it
online before the course begins. Go to and follow the
instructions to register your device (use your UAlbany NETID as the ‘Student ID’).
 Available at the University at Albany Bookstore and at Mary Jane Books.
Course Description:
This course is designed to provide you an overview of the key areas of environmental health and
to prepare you to succeed in more advanced topic area courses offered at the UAlbany School of
Public Health (SPH). Though the course will be conducted using a ‘traditional’ didactic format,
the Blackboard Learning System will be employed to augment this class; so please be sure to
explore the course Blackboard website. Lecture notes, required readings and additional
supplemental readings and resources can be found on the Blackboard website. Using the
perspectives of the population and community, we will address issues pertinent to the
development of environmental health problems. During our exploration of myriad topics
comprising the environmental health sciences, we hope you will gain an appreciation for, and an
understanding of the interaction of individuals and communities with the environment, the
potential impact on health of environmental agents, and of specific applications of environmental
health concepts.
Course Objectives:
Students who complete this course will be able to:
1. Discuss the history and definition of environmental health;
2. Discuss the association between population growth and dissemination of environmental
3. Describe methods used in toxicology, epidemiology and risk assessment to evaluate
environmental exposures and hazards;
4. Describe policies that have been developed to manage health risks associated with
exposures to environmental hazards;
5. Identify chemical, physical, microbial and nano-agents that originate in the environment and
can impact human health;
6. Describe specific applications of environmental health concepts to fields such as water
quality, food safety, occupational health and injury control; and
7. Interpret peer-reviewed scientific environmental health literature.
Course Competencies:
This course teaches topics and skills that relate to competencies considered critical by the
Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) for all MPH graduates
(, including
 Biostatistics: 5. Apply descriptive techniques commonly used to summarize public health
data; and 9. Interpret results of statistical analyses found in public health studies.
 Environmental Health Sciences: 1. Describe the direct and indirect human, ecological and
safety effects of major environmental and occupational agents; 2. Describe genetic,
physiologic and psychosocial factors that affect susceptibility to adverse health outcomes
following exposure to environmental hazards; 3. Describe federal and state regulatory
programs, guidelines and authorities that control environmental health issues; 4. Specify
current environmental risk assessment methods; 5. Specify approaches for assessing,
preventing and controlling environmental hazards that pose risks to human health and safety;
6. Explain the general mechanisms of toxicity in eliciting toxic response to various
environmental exposures; and 7. Discuss various risk management and risk communication
approaches in relation to issues of environmental justice and equity.
 Epidemiology: 4. Explain the importance of epidemiology for informing scientific, ethical,
economic and political discussion of health issues; 6. Apply the basic terminology and
definitions of epidemiology; 9. Draw appropriate inferences from epidemiologic data; and 10.
Evaluate the strengths and limitation of epidemiologic reports.
 Health Policy and Management: 2. Describe the legal and ethical bases for public health and
health services; and 4. Discuss the policy process for improving the health status of
Social and Behavioral Sciences: 2. Identify the causes of social and behavioral factors that
affect health of individuals and populations; and 4. Identify critical stakeholders for the
planning, implementation and evaluation of public health programs, policies and
Communicating and Informatics: 8. Use information technology to access, evaluate and
interpret public health data.
Diversity and Culture: 1. Describe the roles of history, power, privilege and structural
inequality in producing health disparities.
Leadership: 6. Demonstrate transparency, integrity and honesty in all actions; and 8. Apply
social justice and human rights principles when addressing community needs.
Public Health Biology: 4. Explain the biological and molecular basis of public health; 6.
Explain how genetics and genomics affect disease processes and public health policy and
practice; 7. Articulate how biological, chemical and physical agents affect human health; and
10. Integrate general biological and molecular concepts into public health.
Professionalism: 1. Discuss sentinel events in the history and development of the public
health profession and their relevant for practice in the field; 3. Apply evidence-based
principles and the scientific knowledge base to critical evaluation and decision-making in
public health; 6. Analyze determinants of health and disease using an ecological framework;
7. Analyze the potential impacts of legal and regulatory environments on the conduct of
ethical public health research and practice; 8. Distinguish between population and individual
ethical considerations in relation to the benefits, costs and burdens of public health programs;
9. Embrace a definition of public health that captures the unique characteristics of the field
(e.g., population-focused, community-oriented, prevention-motivated and rooted in social
justice) and how these contribute to professional practice; and 10. Appreciate the importance
of working collaboratively with diverse communities and constituencies (e.g., researchers,
practitioners, agencies and organizations).
Program Planning: 1. Describe how social, behavioral, environmental, and biological factors
contribute to specific individual and community health outcomes.
Systems Thinking: 2. Identify unintended consequences made to a public health system; 6.
Explain how the contexts of gender, race, poverty, history, migration and culture are
important in the design of interventions within public health systems; 7. Illustrate how
changes in public health systems (including input, processes and output) can be measured; 8.
Analyze inter-relationships among systems that influence the quality of life of people in their
communities; 9. Analyze the effects of political, social and economic policies on public
health systems at the local, state, national and international levels; and 10. Analyze the
impact of global trends and interdependencies on public health related problems and systems.
This course also teaches topics and skills that relate to competencies considered critical by the
Department of Environmental Health Sciences including:
 Acquire basic knowledge in the area of environmental health, including two of the three
sciences relevant to environmental health: chemistry, toxicology, and radiation sciences.
Your final course grade will be based on one quiz, two exams, three homework assignments and
class participation:
1. Quiz (10%): There will be one in class quiz on September 18th.
2. Mid-term Exam (30%): A written in class mid-term exam will cover the lecture and assigned
reading material up to the date of the exam on October 16th.
3. Final Exam (30%): A final written in-class exam on December 11th will cover the lecture
and assigned reading material after the mid-term exam.
4. Homework Assignments (15%): Three homework assignments, each worth 5% of your final
grade, will be based on manuscripts in the peer-reviewed literature and assigned on;
September 18th, October 2nd and November 13th. These assignments must be submitted to
the Blackboard site by 5:00 PM on September 25th, October 9th and November 20th,
respectively. Late submissions will be penalized. PLEASE DO NOT CUT AND PASTE
5. Class Participation (15%): Questions will be assigned throughout each class and you will
need your clicker to participate and to receive credit. You will receive credit for each clicker
response you submit. Clicker credit is earned only by clicking during class, so operating
someone else’s clicker instead of or in addition to your own is a form of academic dishonesty
that subjects both offenders to automatic course failure or other disciplinary action. Only
under extreme circumstances will students be excused from in class participation/attendance.
Documented acceptable excuses include hospitalization/medical emergency involving the
student, death/funeral in the immediate family and delay due to a car accident officially
reported to the authorities on the way to class. Unacceptable excuses include transportation
issues (bus delays, flat tires; parking and mechanical problems); timing issues; eye, dental,
medical, or employment appointments which could be re-scheduled; pre-/post-vacation
extensions; and social occasions such as christenings, weddings, reunions, Bar Mitzvahs, etc.
Final Course Grades:
A (95-100%); A- (90-94%); B+ (86-89%); B (81-85%); B- (76-80%); C+ (71-75%); C (61-70%);
D (50-60%); E (<50%).
Course Schedule: Class Topics, Reading Assignments, & Exams
The proposed course outline is subject to change contingent on circumstances.
Introduction to Environmental
Health & Policy
Toxicology & Risk Assessment
Epidemiology & Exposure
Quiz #1 & Toxic Elements
(1st Homework assigned)
No Class - Holiday
Discuss Homework 1 & Toxic
Organic Compounds
(2nd Homework assigned)
Discuss Homework 2 & Radiation
Midterm Exam
Reading Assignments
Introduction, Chapters 1, 9 & 30
Chapters 2, 29
Chapters 3, 6, & pgs. 121-136 & Hill,
Jarup, 2003 & Kile & Christiani, 2008
& Navas-Acien et al., 2008
Pgs. 592-597 & pgs. 609-622; Ibrahim
et al., 2011; Lauby-Secretan et al.,
Chapter 21 & pgs. 439-440
Air Quality & Review Midterm
Food Safety & Water Safety
Reliene &
Waste Management
Vector-borne & Zoonotic Disease
(3rd Homework assigned)
Backenson* &
Discuss Homework 3 &
Occupational Health & Hygiene
No Class - Holiday
Chapters 12 & pgs. 418-439 & pgs.
298-30, pgs. 704-706 & pg. 710
Chapter 15 & pgs. 301-307 & Chapter
18 & Schnoor, 2010 & Scientific
American, 1998
Chapter 16
Pgs. 307-311 & pgs. 597-609 &
Gubler, 1998; Morens & Fauci, 2014;
Rosenberg and Beard, 2011; HW
paper to be determined.
Chapter 20
Injury Control & Nanotoxicology
Final exam
* Guest speaker.
Chapter 22 & BystrzejewskaPiotrowska et al., 2009
Important Due Dates for Class Assignments:
 9/18: Quiz
 9/25: Submit homework assignment #1 using Blackboard (due at 5:00 PM)
 10/9: Submit homework assignment #2 using Blackboard (due at 5:00 PM)
 10/16: Midterm exam
 11/20: Submit homework assignment #3 using Blackboard (due at 5:00 PM)
 12/11: Final exam
Course Policies:
 If your schedule does not permit you to be present for the quiz or one of the exams be sure to
speak with the instructors as soon as possible so that we can make alternate arrangements.
 If an extreme circumstance prevents you from attending class please speak with the
instructors as soon as possible.
 There is NO EXTRA CREDIT available for this course.
 All students need to be aware of the University at Albany's Standards of Academic Integrity
as described in the booklet Community Rights and Responsibilities
( This
document itemizes the standards related to academic dishonesty, provides complete
definitions of each type of misconduct and summarizes the penalties for violations of
academic integrity. Please familiarize yourself with the contents of this document. Should
problems arise during this course, a lack of knowledge of the content of this document cannot
be used as a defense in determining the outcome of possible violations of the standards. We
take academic integrity and honesty very seriously; a ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY with
regard to violations of academic integrity will be strictly enforced. Any violation of
UAlbany’ s Standards of Academic Integrity, including plagiarism, cheating, multiple
submission, sabotage, etc. will result in a failing grade for the course with no opportunity for
withdrawal, and referral to the UAlbany judicial system.
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