The UCLA Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH) is housed within the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, the School of Nursing, and the David Geffen School of Medicine.
It is one of three centers created by 1978 legislation which mandated that the State of California establish education, research and service centers to protect people from work-related hazards. The 1978 legislation was a response to the outbreak of sterility in workers who manufactured the pesticide dibromochloropropane (DBCP) in Lathrop, California. The 1970s were a period of considerable expansion in occupational and environmental health legislation, including passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and a host of other environmental laws at both the federal and state levels, and the creation of federal agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), and the environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Recognizing a need for professionals to protect the public and workers health from emerging threats and to implement the new legislation, the centers were established to develop University of California faculty specializing in occupational health.
Since the 1970s there have been significant changes to the landscape of environmental and occupational impacts as the workforce has changed dramatically. One of the most important changes in occupational health has been the recognition of the integral relationship between environmental and occupational health problems, which led the centers to expand the scope of their activities to incorporate environmental health and broader health disciplines in the 1990s. Today faculty are contributing to research, training, and service in diverse areas of Community Health Sciences, Epidemiology, Environmental Health Sciences, Health Policy and Management, Biostatistics, Occupational Nursing, and Occupational-Environmental Medicine. COEH connects multi-disciplinary faculty, offering:
Educational opportunities in Occupational and Environmental Health
COEH faculty represent a wide-array of disciplines and schools with associated degree programs. COEH faculty merge multi-disciplinary perspectives to educate students to be able to identify and prevent the ever-changing exposures, illnesses and injuries associated with occupational and environmental health. Learn more about degree programs where COEH faculty teach by visiting our Education page and the COEH faculty and associated members by visiting our People page. COEH hosts annual symposia to engage experts, students, and the public in learning around critical health topics. We also host a YouTube channel featuring recordings of lectures, seminars, and symposia speakers.
Research opportunities in Laboratory and Field settings
At a world-class research institution like UCLA, opportunities to engage in ground-breaking research abound. Whether in a lab-setting, applied field research, or internships with COEH affiliates, students can gain skills which prepare them for careers in government, industry and academia. Learn more about research and centers associated with COEH faculty by visiting our Research page. COEH also offers an annual competitive Student Project Award to allow students to engage in novel research with COEH faculty.
Service to the Public and State Workforce
A number of training and continuing education programs are offered by COEH-associated centers such as the Southern California NIOSH Education and Research Center (SCERC) and Labor and Occupational Safety and Health Program (LOSH). The Community Scholars program connects UCLA students, labor leaders and the public through a seminar series that explores current issues in local occupational and environmental health. The weekly Environmental Health Sciences 411 seminar offered in fall and spring offers students and the public lectures in important topics ranging from molecular toxicology to unnatural disasters. Browse COEH publications and check our calendar for upcoming seminars and events.
Just the Facts about UCLA COEH
- Director: Michael Jerrett, PhD
- Established as a permanent part of the University of California in 1980.
- Home to one of 18 regional Education and Research Centers funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP).
- Involves approximately 27 faculty, plus dozens of researchers and other professional staff from many schools and disciplines on the UCLA campus.
Download COEH-at-a-Glance flyer.