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Viewing: ENVS 406 N: Comm Based Envir Health

Last approved: Thu, 18 Apr 2019 16:21:12 GMT

Last edit: Fri, 28 Sep 2018 14:18:40 GMT

First Name Last Name Userid Title Home School Org Short Name
Marilyn Howarth marilynh ADJUNCT ASSOC PROFESSOR Perelman School of Medicine PH-Pharmacology
Spring 2019
Fall 2018
Comm Based Envir Health
From the fall of the Roman Empire to Love Canal to the epidemics of asthma, childhood obesity and lead poisoning in West Philadelphia, the impact of the environment on health has been a continuous challenge to society. The environment can affect people's health more strongly than biological factors, medical care and lifestyle. The water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the neighborhood we live in are all components of the environment that impact our health. Some estimates, based on morbidity and mortality statistics, indicate that the impact of the environment on health is as high as 80%. These impacts are particularly significant in urban areas like West Philadelphia. Over the last 20 years, the field of environmental health has matured and expanded to become one of the most comprehensive and humanly relevant disciplines in science. This course will examine not only the toxicity of physical agents, but also the effects on human health of lifestyle, social and economic factors, and the built environment. Topics include cancer clusters, water borne diseases, radon and lung cancer, lead poisoning, environmental tobacco smoke, respiratory diseases and obesity. Students will research the health impacts of classic industrial pollution case studies in the US. Class discussions will also include risk communication, community outreach and education, access to health care and impact on vulnerable populations. Each student will have the opportunity to focus on Public Health, Environmental Protection, Public Policy, and Environmental Education issues as they discuss approaches to mitigating environmental health risks. This honors seminar will consist of lectures, guest speakers, readings, student presentations, discussions, research, and community service. The students will have two small research assignments including an Environmental and Health Policy Analysis and an Industrial Pollution Case Study Analysis. Both assignments will include class presentations. The major research assignment for the course will be a problem-oriented research paper and presentation on a topic related to community-based environmental health selected by the student. In this paper, the student must also devise practical recommendations for the problem based on their research.

Sector Requirements

Your department or program fields a variety of courses to meet distinct educational needs. Please explain how this course fits into your department's plan for participating in the general education curriculum of the College. The sector panel will want to know what is distinctive about this course along with the other courses your department lists in the sector that makes them suitable for the sector requirement.
Course usually offered in Fall term
Natural Science & Math Sector
Marilyn Howarth
Standing Faculty
Adjunct Faculty
This ABCS course is grounded in basic science principles as it explores the pollutants in air water, and soil. It couples the science with community considerations of housing, waste water management, transportation, legacy pollution, and others that combine to impact environmental health. While teaching core principles of science it pushes students to analyze data and explore the practical realities of mitigation of exposure in communities.
1. Develop an understanding of the environmental science and health challenges in the local communities and determine potential adverse effects to affected population;
2. Incorporate group fieldwork activities into research projects;
3. Encourage conceptual thinking about environmental health challenges through deliverables that eliminate, minimize, or mitigate risks to affected populations;
4. Provide opportunities for perfecting and practicing presentation and communication skills in several different situations
5. Deliver oral presentations and encourage class discussion that can be adapted into problem-solving experiences;
6. Prepare data-driven research reports on a problem-statement.

Methods of Assessment

3-4 page paper describing the students individual project proposal
Group project Environmental Assessment (approximately 3 pages for each student)
Group Final Environmental Health Assessment (approximately 5 pages for each student)
Individual final research paper 8-10 pages
Quiz (midterm) in class closed book to assess fundamentals of science learning
15 minutes group presentation update on progress on project
30 minutes final group presentation
Each student will identify and meet/communicate with community resources 3-5 (facilitated as needed by instructor)
One or more student groups will provide content to an elementary school class in a Philadelphia School and design and implement an Anti-idling campaign there.
Students not participating in an Anti-idling campaign will through their resources identify a deliverable for a community resource (social media campaign, data analysis and recommendations, soil lead testing and communication etc.)

Sector I - Society


Sector II - History and Tradition


Sector III - Arts & Letters


Sector IV - Humanities and Social Science


Sector V - Living World


Sector VI - Physical World


Sector VII - Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Environmental Science and Environmental Health are the primary science disciplines. Every lesson will incorporate both of these disciplines. Ex. Students will learn principles of air pollution chemistry while learning how air pollution impacts health. They will learn about heavy metal deposition in soil and lack of migration posing opportunities for human exposure through direct contact, ingestion in gardening and re-suspension of particulate tracked into homes. In addition, students will have the opportunity to meet with community resources in allied science fields. Recent community resources have included the following disciplines: Medicine, Industrial Hygiene, Sustainability, Waste water treatment engineering, Air pollution science, Regional transportation planners, Zoning Board Members
A key element of the course is the focus on evidence based practice. Theory and evidence are presented in didactic sessions and conversations and interactions with community resources provide the insight into practice. The deliverables for the community resources represent practical application of academic research, conversation with professionals and an understanding of mitigation strategies.

Administrative Field

Key: 541