An Examination of Environmental Health Education in U.S. Medical Schools

Thapar, Isha
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The field of environmental health has risen to prominence in recent decades as research has illuminated the intrinsic connections between the environment and human health outcomes. Medical practitioners can play a vital role in the response to environmental health crises in terms of treating patients suffering from environmental disease, advising patients on preventative measures to reduce environmental exposures, and advocating for policy change to protect patient health and well-being. However, environmental health education is severely lacking in the United States, causing practitioners to be ill-equipped to be effective clinicians and patient advocates. A potential solution is to increase opportunities to pursue joint medical-MPH degrees with a concentration in environmental health, as well as increase advocacy/environmental health coursework in the medical school curriculum. In this paper, a detailed analysis of existing medical-MPH programs in the United States as well as related environmental health coursework in the standard curriculum was conducted. Through this paper, we hope to underscore the need for environmental health education in medical schools across the nation to enable the improvement of public health outcomes.

Environmental Health, Medical Education