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Program History

Photo above – unloading asbestos in Rogers Pass in the 1960s

A History of the Occupational & Environmental Hygiene Program


  • In June, the School of Environmental Health merged into the School of Population and Public Health and became its Occupational and Environmental Health Theme.
  • Drs. Carolyn Gotay, Mieke Koehoorn, John Spinelli, and Annalee Yassi joined the Theme as full-time faculty members as a result of the merger.
  • Drs. Mike Brauer and Mieke Koehoorn became the theme co-leads.
  • The MSc program in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene became a graduate program in SPPH. The PhD program merged with SPPH doctoral program.
  • Dr. Paul Demers left to become Director of Ontario’s Occupational Cancer Research Centre. SOEH Acting Director was Dr. Kay Teschke.
  • The School of Population and Public Health moved into 2206 East Mall after extensive renovations to the bottom three floors.
  • Drs. George Astrakianakis and Anne-Marie Nicol joined SOEH as Assistant Professors.
  • Dr. Larry Frank jointly appointed in SOEH and the School of Community and Regional Planning.
  • Dr. Paul Demers appointed Director of the School in January.
  • Dr. Susan Kennedy retired, marking the end of an inspiring career.
  • School name was changed to “School of Environmental Health“, maintaining the acronym “SOEH”, but reflecting what the School does using more recognizable terminology.
  • Organized the 12th Conference on Occupational Hazards to Health Care Workers in Seattle, in collaboration with the University of Washington.
  • Dr. Chris van Netten retired, becoming our first Professor Emeritus.
  • Dr. David Bates died; the School lost a source of inspiration and a generous mentor.
  • Hosted Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for Research on Work and Health.
  • Hosted Annual Conference of the Acoustical Society of America and the Canadian Acoustical Association Annual Meeting.
  • School’s second external review conducted. The review was complimentary of the School’s diverse achievements in the areas of research & publications, teaching, its collaborative School administration, committees and staff, and the variety of community involvement of faculty and students, including the successful continuing education program.
  • Dr. Mike Brauer appointed Director of the School in January.
  • 10th Anniversary of School celebrated at Science World.
  • Dr. Hugh Davies recruited to start in July.
  • Dr. Winnie Chu appointed as new Laboratory Manager.
  • Dr. Joel Bert died; the School loses a communicator of calculus, mass balance, and fun.
  • CHER, the Centre for Health and Environment Research, a research center proposed by SOEH faculty, funded by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research ($1,000,000).
  • New PhD program admitted first students in September.
  • Hosted joint conference of the International Society of Exposure Analysis and the International Society of Environmental Epidemiology.
  • The Bridge Program, a research training program proposed by SOEH faculty, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research ($2,100,000).
  • Dr. Karen Bartlett recruited to start in July.
  • Dr. Murray Hodgson appointed Director of the School in July.
  • Program name changed to “School of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene” in recognition of the teaching and research done in the parallel environmental field, and because unit function coincides with the University’s definition of a School: a unit which trains professionals, conducts research related to the education program, maintains a relationship with certifying bodies, and provides continuing education for practitioners.
  • Continuing Education Program began, led by Dr. Lydia Ma.
  • $1,000,000 Memorandum of Understanding with Ministry of Health signed to help the Ministry respond to community issues involving environmental exposures.
  • Dr. Kay Teschke appointed Director of the Program in January.
  • Dr. Lydia Ma recruited to head Continuing Education program.
  • Program underwent first external review. The report emphasized the exceptional work and success of the Program under Dr. Kennedy’s directorship.
  • Dr. Paul Demers recruited to start in March (cross-appointed in Health Care and Epidemiology).
  • Dr. Susan Kennedy’s primary appointment transferred from Medicine to the Occupational Hygiene Program with a cross-appointment in the Department of Health Care and Epidemiology.
  • Dr. Jenny Quintana moved to San Diego State University.
  • Inaugural students complete first summer field co-op placements.
  • Inaugural MSc class started in September.
  • Renovations of the 3rd floor of the Library Processing Centre space carried out in the spring & summer and the premises were occupied in late August.
  • Dr. Jenny Quintana recruited to start in November (cross-appointed in Medical Genetics).
  • Victor Leung appointed as inaugural Laboratory Manager.
  • Coordinating Committee established with faculty members from Medicine, Applied Science, and Science: Gordon Bates (Chemistry), Joel Bert (Chemical Engineering); Michael Brauer (Respiratory Medicine); Kay Teschke (Health Care and Epidemiology); and Chris van Netten (Health Care and Epidemiology).
  • Sessional faculty appointed: John Beckett (Manager, Employee Health and Safety, Vancouver Airport Authority); Dave Bell (Occupational Hygienist, UBC Health, Safety and Environment); Ed Chessor (Ventilation Engineer, Workers’ Compensation Board of BC); and Judy Village (Consultant Ergonomist).
  • Dr. Murray Hodgson recruited to start in November (cross-appointed in Mechanical Engineering).
  • Occupational Hygiene Program” approved by the University Senate.
  • Dr. Susan Kennedy, then in the Respiratory Division of the Department of Medicine, appointed inaugural Director of the Program.
  • $3,000,000 endowment to the University from the Workers’ Compensation Board committed for “Applied Education and Research” in the field of occupational hygiene. Endowment matched 1:1 by the Province of British Columbia.
  • MSc program designed by a multi-disciplinary faculty team, chaired by Dr. John Grace of Chemical Engineering.