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Occupational and Environmental Health

Research Highlight: Investigating how injured construction workers can get back to work quickly and safely

Associate Professor Chris McLeod’s project looks at how injured construction workers can get back to work as soon as they are healthy to do so, in a sector with a high incidence of injuries, and a challenging environment for accommodating work injuries.

New tool maps nature across Vancouver to boost mental health

Emily Rugel, a PhD candidate at SPPH, has been studying the link between access to natural spaces and mental health. In a recently published study, Rugel created a Natural Space Index to more precisely measure exposure to nature across Metro Vancouver. Photo credit: 12019/Pixabay

Build bikeways and they will come

Cycling is a fun and healthy way to get to work, combining exercise and the great outdoors with a necessary trip. So what should cities keep in mind when it comes to getting people on their bikes? Credit: waferboard/flickr

SPPH Faculty awarded six CIHR Project Grants, one Bridge Award

School of Population and Public Health faculty have won six Canadian Health Institutes of Research (CIHR) Project Grants and one Bridge Award in the Fall 2016 competition.

Michael Brauer named 2017-2018 Wall Scholar

Professor Michael Brauer is one of 10 Peter Wall Institute Wall Scholars for 2017-2018, and will research the relationships between health and the design of cities, and the delivery of city services.

This Division focuses on health effects and prevention measures related to chemical, physical, biological, and psychosocial hazards, and to the design of buildings, workplaces and communities.

The Occupational and Environmental Health Division represents an interdisciplinary network of faculty, students, and staff with a common vision: a world in which risks from occupational and environmental hazards are minimized by their recognition, evaluation and control, to the benefit of workplace and community health and well-being. Our mission is to assist society in minimizing such risks by providing an outstanding education to students and professionals, generating new knowledge through research, and effectively communicating this knowledge.

The Occupational and Environmental Health Division is the new home of the academic programs, research, faculty, staff and students of the School of Environmental Health, which merged into the School of Population and Public Health on June 1, 2011.

Message from Division Head

Welcome to the Occupational and Environmental Health (OEH) Division! This Division represents a long-standing tradition (25 years) of research, training and practice in occupational and environmental health at the University of British Columbia.

Chris McLeod

This is an exciting time for a career in occupational and environmental health with increasing awareness of the impact of work and community environments and exposures on population-level health outcomes. Three program options are available to students (information below) – all options include required population/public health courses, specialized occupational and environmental health courses, as well as the flexibility to explore other courses to meet student interests and training needs. Our graduates have a successful record of working in diverse occupational and environmental careers spanning industry, government and research organizations (please visit our Careers and Alumni pages).

Our Division encompasses faculty, research staff and trainees with expertise and experience investigating current and emerging environmental and occupational health challenges, including the health impacts of indoor air quality, occupational cancer epidemiology, exposure assessment methods and models, occupational health and safety in health care (protection from blood-borne and air-borne exposures), chemical and biological hazard control, bio-aerosol exposures in work and community environments, health impacts of transportation-related and biomass air pollution, occupational noise and hearing conservation programs, non-auditory health effects of noise, occupational health in low and middle income countries, neighborhood walkability and health outcomes, health and environmental impacts of alternative transportation and land development, surveillance methods for environmental health (temperature-related mortality, radon-related lung cancer, forest fire smoke), industrial and environmental acoustics, acoustical design of ‘green’ buildings; cycling in cities, environmental determinants of health, social determinants of occupational health, and evaluation of workers’ compensation policies and programs.

Our Division also includes other learning opportunities, such as occupational and environmental health seminars, continuing education courses and occupational and environmental health laboratory services.

The Occupational and Environmental Health Division is passionate about making work and community environments safer and healthier places, and our students and alumni play an important role in generating research evidence and developing controls, programs and policies to address occupational and environmental health challenges. Please contact me to discuss training opportunities and a career in occupational and environmental health.

Academic Programs
Career Goal
Project / Thesis
Typical Duration
Occupational & Environmental Hygiene
Professions or research in exposure measurement, exposure control, assessment of health effects
Co-op project
or Thesis
1.7 years
2 to 2.5 years
Population & Public Health
Health research
2 to 3 years
Doctor of Philosophy
Academia, research
3 to 6 years

Special Funding & Conferences