Epidemiological methods are useful not only for investigating chronic and infectious diseases and other traditional applications, but also for exploring and understanding problems of substance abuse and interpersonal violence that plague American society. Epidemiologists have had a long-term interest in determining etiology or disease causation. Their methodological approaches can provide the knowledge for preventing illness through the design of intervention programs. As the crisis in health care intensifies in the United States, the goal of primary prevention becomes more important for society. Environmental epidemiology provides a refined capability for scientists in epidemiology to relate exposure of populations to the causation of disease, and thus provides enhanced capabilities for designing primary prevention programs.
Environmental Health Sciences
As technology advances and the importance of national boundaries diminish, there is a growing need to understand the interactions of biological, chemical and physical agents with the environment. In the past, interaction of these agents has manifested itself in outbreaks of disease in human, animal and plant communities. Today, with the threats from man-made changes in both the atmosphere and from pollution of the environment on the earth, scientists, professionals, and citizens must be trained to appreciate the complexity of modern environmental problems. Researchers within the Environmental Health Sciences Program conduct research on questions of vital importance to the public and private sectors associated with environmental analysis and evaluation, environmental design and behavior, and on related questions for the formulation of environmental and health policy. These questions reflect an overarching concern with the effects of the natural and built environments on the health and social well-being of humans.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
The Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine is a core program of the UCI Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. The primary research interests of the program's faculty include environmental and occupational asthma, neurological and immunological effects of pesticides, cardiovascular effects of occupational stress, and delivery of occupational health services. The Division's major teaching activity is the UCI Occupational Medicine residency program. For more information about the Occupational and Environmental Medicine program, please visit the Division's web site.
Toxicology involves the scientific study of the entry, distribution, biotransformation, and mechanism of action of chemical agents harmful to the body. The Program interprets environmental toxicology as the study of the effects and mechanisms of action of hazardous chemicals in food, air, water, and soil, in the home, workplace, and the community, and considers experimentally and theoretically such diverse research problems as (1) toxicological evaluation of environmental chemicals such as air and water pollutants, food additives, industrial wastes, and agricultural adjuvants at the molecular, cellular and organism levels; (2) mechanisms of action in chemical carcinogenesis and mutagenesis; (3) the molecular pathology of tissue injury in acute toxicity; and (4) scientific principles involved in extrapolating from laboratory animal data to expected effects on human health in environmental exposures.