180.609.01 | AY 2013-2014 - 1st Term | 4 Credit(s)
MW 1:30:00 PM
  • Contact Information
    Ernst Spannhake
    Katelyn Stafford
    Location: E7645
  • Course Description

    The course presents concepts, principles, and applications of the core natural and social science disciplines that form the basis of the field of environmental health. Topics include the sources, pathways of exposure and methods of control of the principal physical, chemical, biologic and psychosocial factors within the environment that impact human health. Through discussions and exercises focused on current environmental health issues, students will examine the components of the environmental health paradigm and the opportunities it presents for the development and application of effective preventive and interventive strategies. The course consists of lectures and discussion and the review, evaluation and discussion of current environmental health literature.

  • Course Learning Objectives

    Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

    • describe the field of environmental health and its interdisciplinary nature
    • describe the sources and range of hazards to human health that exist within the environment and explain the means through which they interact with humans to induce adverse health effects in healthy and susceptible populations
    • develop and discuss application of strategies that effectively intervene to mitigate and prevent the risks of adverse health effects caused by environmental agents and conditions
    • interpret, evaluate and summarize articles from the current environmental health literature and apply their findings to related environmental situations and conditions
    • identify and describe important current and emerging environmental problems that pose a risk to public health
    • develop and express an understanding of the contribution that environmental health practice makes within public health
  • Methods of Assessment

    Student evaluation based on the level of active participation in class discussions and exercises (10%), individual/group assignments (50%) and two examinations (40%).

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    The final grade in the course will be determined as follows:

    Class Participation:           10%

    Assignment 1:                  5%

    Assignment 2:                  15%

    Assignment 3:                  15%

    Assignment 4:                  15%

    Exam 1:                           20%

    Exam 2:                           20%


  • Intended Audience
    Degree candidates at SPH
  • Prerequisites
  • Required Text(s)

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    There are no required texts; however, the following are worthwhile references that are on reserve at thie library:

    • Environmental Health - From Global to Local. Howard Frumkin (Ed.).  John Wiley & Sons (Jossey-Bass), San Francisco, 2005.
    • Moeller, Dade W. Environmental Health. Revised Edition. Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge , 1997.
    • Yassi, Annalee; Kjellstrom, Tord; de Kok, Theo; Guidotti, Tee L. Basic Environmental Health. Oxford  Univ. Press, New York , 2001.
    • Lippmann, Morton; Cohen, Beverly S.; Schlesinger, Richard B.  Environmental Health Science. Oxford Univ. Press, New York , 2003.
    • Life Support.  The Environment and Human Health.  Michael McCally (Ed.).  MIT Press, Cambridge , 2002.
  • Course Schedule

    Please see the course Session for a full list of dates and items for this course.

  • Academic Ethics Code

    Students enrolled in the Bloomberg School of Public Health of The Johns Hopkins University assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the University's mission as an institution of higher education. A student is obligated to refrain from acts which he or she knows, or under the circumstances has reason to know, impair the academic integrity of the University. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating; plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information to any agent of the University for inclusion in the academic record; violation of the rights and welfare of animal or human subjects in research; and misconduct as a member of either School or University committees or recognized groups or organizations.

  • Course topics
    • Modification of the Environment by Human Populations
    • Determinants and Assessment of Health Effects
    • Reducing the Threats to Health
    • Sources of Health Risk within the Environment
  • Contact Information

    Ernst Spannhake, PhD
    Office: E7533
    Tel: 410-614-5441

    Katelyn Stafford


  • Course Objectives

    Section Learning Objectives – Modification of the Environment by Human Populations – students will:

    ·        Be able to define Environmental Health and describe the disciplinary components and philosophy upon which the field is based.

    ·        Understand the processes that drive pollution of the environment.

    ·        Understand the factors that control the movement of toxins through the environment and the approaches used to measure their levels.

    ·        Understand the general strategies for limiting the entrance of pollutants into the environment.



    Section Learning Objectives – Determinants and Assessment of Health Effects – students will:

    ·        Understand the manner in which measures of exposure, dose, toxicology and health effects link together to form a continuum of knowledge in a problem-solving paradigm.

    ·        Become knowledgeable in the basic principles of toxicology and carcinogenesis.

    ·        Understand the relationship between genetics and environmental factors in determining susceptibility and health risk.

    ·        Become familiar with the approaches and tools used to study the influence of the ambient, built, social and work environments on the health of populations and individuals.

    ·        Understand the role that psychosocial factors and issues of environmental equity play in determining exposure and risk.

    ·        Discuss the environmental health issues associated with preparedness, response and recovery in disasters.



    Section Learning Objectives – Reducing the Threats to Health students will:

    ·        Understand the strategies for identifying and assessing the physical and psychological consequences of exposures to factors in the environment that pose a risk to health.

    ·        Develop a broad sense of the roles that problem-solving and risk management strategies play in mitigating the effects of pollution and other health affectors.

    ·        Understand the important roles that risk perception and communication play in an effective program of risk-reduction.

    ·        Become familiar with the pathways that lead from risk assessment to the legislative process.

    ·        Building upon previous lectures, to understand how the disciplines that constitute the science and practice of Environmental Health link together in an “Environmental Health” paradigm with which to address environmental threats to health.



    Section Learning Objectives – Sources of Health Risk within the Environment – students will:

    ·        Become familiar with the evolution of the current standards for air quality and with the health risks associated with exposures to airborne pollutants in the ambient and indoor environments.

    ·        Understand the sources and types of contaminants present in water and food that pose special threats to health.

    ·        Learn about the approaches used to limit the presence of these contaminants and the regulatory processes involved.

    ·        Develop a sense of the threats posed by accumulation and processing of various types of waste and the alternatives available to mitigate these threats.

  • Disability Support Services
    If you are a student with a documented disability who requires an academic accommodation, please contact the Office of Student Life Services at 410-955-3034 or via email at