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Environmental and workforce health is population health.  If you do not have a healthy environment or workforce, your communities will be unhealthy. The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences looks through the lenses of environmental justice and worker justice to improve population health.  In doing so, the EOHS MPH trains students how to advocate for and protect home, work, and community environments. Coming from the only CEPH-accredited school of public health in Illinois, specific training includes exposure and risk assessment, environmental and occupational toxicity and injury, risk management and evaluation, and policy. Students select a concentration in Industrial Hygiene (ANSAC-ABET accredited), Occupational Safety, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Water Quality and Health or as a Generalist (detailed on this page).

Research and community work led by students, faculty and alumni solve occupational and environmental health problems, prevent acute traumatic injury in the occupational setting, address the effects of climate change and promote environmental justice in Chicago neighborhoods and communities around the globe.

  • Environmental justice

    Environmental justice is based on the principle that all people should be protected from environmental pollution and have the right to a clean and healthy environment.

  • Worker justice

    Worker justice centers on fair and healthy work that features livable wages, safe workplaces, protection from toxic exposures, reasonable hours of work and decent living standards.

EOHS in action Heading link

A school bus drives past the Crawford Generating Station, which is emitting a large cloud of white smoke.
Pollution exposure for Chicago Public Schools students
This report explores how CPS schools in certain geographic areas with distinct racial and ethnic student profiles face a disproportionate burden of emissions from Toxic Release Inventory facilities.
An Amazon company warehouse.
Amicus brief: supporting Amazon warehouse workers
SPH's Linda Forst co-authored a federal amicus brief supporting Amazon workers protesting pandemic work conditions.
Coal miners walk together following a shift of work.
Study reveals bias among doctors for coal miners' black lung claims
SPH researchers and alumni argued in the report that financial conflicts of interest call for substantial improvements in transparency, oversight and objectivity for black lung claims.
Packets of pills.
SPH researchers find undercount of opioid fatalities
Often, people who use opioids do not fit stereotypical profiles of people who use substances, leading to a miscount of fatalities in Cook County.

Global health opportunities Heading link

SPH faculty, staff and students are collaborating to advance public health in 65 nations across the world.  MPH students develop global health skills through SPH’s global health program and global applied practice experiences.  In particular, SPH’s Program in Kenya provides diverse opportunities for students interested in water quality and health to take part in developing and testing novel methods for clean water access.

Learn more

Collaborating in communities locally and globally Heading link

Strengthening the health of precarious workers

A construction worker adjusts a row of metal bars lining a construction site.

The UIC Center for Healthy Work is one of only ten research and education centers nationwide funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.  The Center works to strengthen the health of low-wage workers in the increasingly contingent workforce across Chicago, Illinois and the nation by addressing hazardous and exploitative work, equitable wages and job security.

Climate change preparedness

Floodwaters cover downtown Peoria, Illinois.

While far from hurricanes and wildfires, Illinois is facing its own climate challenges:  extreme precipitation, altered growing seasons and increasing rates of insect-borne illnesses. SPH earned funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to launch a Climate and Health Institute to prepare practitioners to build adaptations and mitigations to climate change.

Reproductive and children's environmental health

Children run in a park at sunset.

SPH’s Great Lakes Center for Reproductive and Children’s Environmental Health is one of ten Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units nationwide in partnership with the U.S. EPA to provide expertise to physicians, parents, schools, community groups and public health agencies to address reproductive and children’s environmental health issues.