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SPPH Division of Occupational and Environmental Health recognizes students in the MSc OEH program

Jul 14, 2022 |

The MSc OEH program was launched  by the Faculty of Graduate Studies in 1992.  Over the years of the program we have been able to recognize student excellence in several ways, most notably with named awards.  Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions we have not been able to hold public receptions for the awardees in the two years, but we still wish to confer the honours due.  Plaques with the names of the recipients are on the entrance wall of the third floor.


A.L. Riegert Award 2021 recipient: Andrew Lichty

About the award: This award was endowed by friends and family of A.L. Riegert in recognition of his contribution to the field of occupational hygiene in Canada.  A.L. Riegert was the Director of the Industrial Hygiene Department at the Workers’ Compensation Board, and later the Director of WCB Research and Standards Department.  This prize is awarded to the student with the highest academic standing upon completion of first year coursework.

Andrew Lichty entered the MSc OEH program in September 2021. He came to OEH with a degree in Human kinetics from the University of Guelph (2019).  He is currently completing his practicum placement with the BC Wildfire Service.  Drew summarized his work ethic and interest in occupational health in the following statement: “Occupational diseases are a serious problem in public health, and prevention is key.  While volunteering in a physiotherapy clinic, I saw patients come in with years’ worth of work-related strain, making treatment an uphill battle.  This prompted me to think critically about more severe occupational diseases such as cancer and COPD, symptoms of which may not manifest for years.  My desire to prevent occupational disease serves as an intrinsic motivator to learn as much as possible and apply myself in hand-on environments.”


Roberta Ellis Award 2022 recipients: Ramandeep Kaur Sohi and Darryl Bannon

About the award: In recognition of the contribution made by Dr. Roberta Ellis to the field of occupational hygiene.  The School of Population and Public Health, Division of Occupational and Environmental Health and with the support of WorkSafeBC, presents the Roberta Ellis Award to a graduating student of the Masters of Science, Occupational and Environmental hygiene program.  The award is given to an outstanding student who best represents an ideal practitioner in occupational hygiene in terms of citizenship, scholarship, and potential to contribute to the betterment of worker health.

Ramandeep Kaur Sohi came into the MSc OEH program in 2020 with a Master of Technology degree in Environmental Sciences and Technology from Thapar University, India (2015) and a Bachelor of Engineering in Biotechnology Engineering from Punjab University (2013). Prior to joining our program she worked in environmental health for three years resulting in two publications, “Public perception about community reverse osmosis-treated water, its acceptability, and barriers in choice of safe drinking water.”  Environment, Development and Sustainability. 2019:1-3; “Anaerobic baffled reactor: a promising wastewater treatment technology in tropical countries.” International Journal on Emerging Technologies (Special Issue on RTIESTM-2016). 2016;7(1):114-7.

Darryl Bannon came into the OEH program in 2020 as a serving member of the Canadian Armed Forces, Bioscience Officer. He holds degrees from the University of Guelph in Psychology (Toxicology) (M.A. 2010), Psychology (B.A. 2005), Engineering (B.Sc. Eng. 2004) and UBC in Experimental Medicine (M.Sc. 2015).  He will be returning to active duty and serving in the Deployable Health Hazards Assessment Team and overseeing the Preventative Medicine Technicians.  In addition to his publication, “How relevant are imaging findings in animal models of movement disorders to human disease?” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports 15(8): 571, he has given over 10 conference presentations.


Graduate Award in Population Health and Engineering recipients 2021/22:

  • School of Population and Public Health awardee: Pratik Singh
  • Mechanical Engineering awardee: Sarah Crosby  


About the award: Also known as the Murray Hodgson and Kay Teschke Award.  Two awards are offered annually by friends and family to honour and remember UBC faculty members in the disciplines of occupational and environmental health and mechanical engineering who dedicated their careers to training and mentoring students to use knowledge from different disciplines with the goal of improving work and community environments.  This award is for graduate students enrolled in the School of Population and Public Health and the Department of Mechanical Engineering who undertake multidisciplinary research or training activities that bridge health and engineering disciplines to improve work or community environments. Dr. Murray Hodgson joined UBC as the first WCB endowed chair in the new Occupational Hygiene graduate program in 1991, and was cross appointed in Mechanical Engineering.  Sadly, he passed away in 2017.  Dr. Kay Teschke, an originating faculty member and director of the Occupational Hygiene graduate program, was a faculty member in the School of Population and Public Health until her retirement in 2017, after a 33-year career at UBC.

Pratik Singh came into the OEH program in 2020 with a Bachelor’s in Engineering, Mechanical Engineering from the University of Mumbai (2015). In addition to his scholastic achievements, Pratik has focused on developing his facility for education and training, often leading by example. He was instrumental in the delivery of the OEH on-line seminar series when the COVID-19 pandemic required creative solutions to maintain our educational programming. He is also a certified yoga instructor with certifications from India and from USA.

Sarah Crosby is an interdisciplinary scholar and PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering. She is researching the indoor environment through the connected disciplines of Mechanical Engineering, UBC Sustainability, and School of Architecture.  Her background includes a BSc (Eng) in 2011, and a MSc in Mathematics & Engineering Physics from Alexandria University (2010).  She was a City of Vancouver Greenest City Scholar in 2019.  She has over 20 conference publications and papers, including Journal of Engineering Research and Technology 5(2); 2016 and Journal of Building Engineering 35 (2020).


Grace and Alexander MacInnes Award in Occupational and Environmental Health 2021/22 recipient: Angelene Forbes-Salmon

About the award: This award has been made available through an endowment established by Grace and Alexander MacInnes to support a graduate student studying in the area of occupational and environmental health. Given the many global challenges we face, there is a pressing need to train researchers who can find solutions to new and existing environmental health issues.  Students must be entering their second year of graduate studies, with preference given to students who have returned to academia after an absence of at least one year and who demonstrate leadership qualities in the course of their studies. Grace MacInnes passed away in 2019 and was predeceased by Alexander in 2009.  Both were ardent supporters of UBC and the power of education to change the world.

Angelene Forbes-Salmon began her MSc OEH studies in 2020. She comes with a BSc in Environmental Health from the University of Technology, Jamaica (2015), and in 2018, was granted a diploma in Supervisory Management from the University College of the Caribbean. She was a public health inspector for the Ministry of Health, Jamaica from 2015 to 2020, where she developed educational materials in addition to her responsibilities for responding to natural disasters in rural Jamaica.


Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation Action Association Bursary recipient: Yijun (Joseph) Lu

About the bursary: This bursary is made available through an endowment established by the Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation Action Association, a group of concerned home-owners who had UFFI installed in their homes. The award is made based on the recommendation of the School of Population and Public Health to a student investigating toxic chemicals and pollutants with particular emphasis on their effects on human health. The award was established in 1989 at the height of awareness of environmental residential exposure to formaldehyde, and continues to the present to encourage studies on other toxic chemical exposure.

Yijun Lu entered the MSc OEH in 2020, completing his first term remotely due to restrictions placed on travel due to COVID-19. Interestingly, his desire to pursue his university studies was due to the morbidity and mortality he observed in China due to SARS CoV-1.  He obtained a BSc in Clinical Medicine in 2008 and MSc in Clinical Medicine in 2010 from Zhejiang University, China.  He was a visiting scholar at University College, London in 2018.  He has authored 5 published papers, including Journal of Internal Medicine Research. 2018 Aug;46(8):3200-3208; and Cancer Management Research. 2019 Feb 7;11: 1231-1236.  He says, “After working in the hospital for many years, I have realized the fact that environmental pollution and the toxic and hazardous substances emitted by factories have caused severe damage to our living environment and the increase of incidence of malignant tumors and respiratory and digestive diseases. At the same time, the protection and control of occupational diseases are usually overlooked. The employers do not provide sufficient resources for occupational protection; the employees lack relevant awareness, causing a high incidence of pneumoconiosis in China; even the medical staff do not have adequate protection tools, resulting in a high prevalence of occupational exposure.”  Yijun studied exposure and control to isocyantes, a particularly hazardous class of chemicals used in the construction industry for his MSc OEH practicum.