New Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Health being offered

July 7, 2015

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington has announced the creation of a new Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) degree in Environmental Health. The school already offers a Master of Public Health degree in Environmental Health as well as a Ph.D.

Environmental health is the branch of public health that is concerned with all aspects of the environment that may affect human health.

Dean Mohammad Torabi

Dean Mohammad Torabi

In the undergraduate program, students will learn to identify, prevent, and control environmental factors that can threaten human health. The coursework introduces students to basic principles of food safety, environmental sampling, environmental epidemiology, toxicology, exposure assessment and management techniques employed to protect the public’s health.

The IU School of Public Health-Bloomington, established in 2012, was formerly known as the Indiana University School Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. As part of the transition to a new school, two new departments were formed, one in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and one in Environmental Health. Both previously only offered advanced degrees. Students completing this degree will be well positioned to directly enter the public health workforce or continue their education in a graduate program.

"Unlike most schools of public health, our school is unique in having a large undergraduate student body of nearly 2,700 students," noted Mohammad Torabi, founding dean and chancellor's professor. "By offering this new degree as well as the host of other degrees at the undergraduate level, we provide a unique opportunity for students to study public health across a spectrum of fields in a way often only reserved for those in advanced degree programs."

Departmental Chair Alan Ewert, Ph.D.

Departmental Chair Alan Ewert, Ph.D.

According to the World Health Organization, maintaining a healthy environment is central to increasing quality of life and years of healthy life. Globally, nearly 25 percent of all deaths and the total disease burden can be attributed to environmental factors. Poor environmental quality has its greatest impact on people whose health status is already at risk. Therefore, environmental health must address the societal and environmental factors that increase the likelihood of exposure and disease.

"An increased awareness of physical, biological and chemical hazards in our world coupled with greater knowledge of their potential effects on human health has led to great demand for trained environmental health professionals," noted Alan Ewert, professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Health at the school. "By offering an undergraduate degree in environmental health, we are directly addressing the critical need for educating tomorrow's work force in an academically robust way."