FIU Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work

Florida International University - Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work
Florida International University - Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work

Environmental & Occupational Health


Bridging the Gap between Public Health and Environmental Challenges

From Genomes to Environments—Global Impact
As an emerging leader in environmental and occupational health in South Florida, the mission of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health is to advance our understanding of the environmental determinants of health, from the level of the genome to populations; and to educate and train the next generation of scientists and environmental public health leaders. 

Mission Statement

“The solution to solving the world’s environmental health issues lies with understanding the underlying mechanisms.”

Departmental Goals

We have goals in two inter-related areas: Translational Research and Teaching.

1. Translational Research

Since 2005, a major theme of the department has been Environmental Molecular Epidemiology, which combines a range of investigative approaches. These include: the study of genome-environment interactions, and molecular toxicology approaches to investigating and preventing environmental and occupational human diseases. Originated by Faculty in our Department, this fundamental paradigm shift is of paramount importance for solving environmental public health challenges ranging in scale from molecular to global. We have the following research goals:

  • Identify and understand fundamental common biological and environmental pathways contributing to a broad range of diseases, in order to develop broadly applicable prevention and intervention strategies.
  • Understand individual susceptibility, across the life span, to diseases resulting from environmental factors, to facilitate prevention and decrease the public health burden.
  • Transform exposure science by enabling consideration of the totality of human exposures (a.k.a. the Exposome) and links to biological pathways to create a blueprint to better incorporate exposure science into human health studies.

Through our programs, students have the chance to undertake groundbreaking research in state-of-the-art laboratories, with internationally renowned scientists. More about our research can be found here, and at our site.

2. Teaching

The goal of our teaching is to prepare professional practitioners to apply the highest quality performance of mechanism-based and evidence-based research to help detect, prevent and control adverse influences of the environment on human health, based upon understanding the complex interactions between genetic variation and environmental stresses.  The department focuses on graduate training in the areas of Toxicology, Environmental and Occupational Toxicology, Global Environmental Health, and Occupational Hygiene and Management.

We are advocates of research-led teaching, so our students get the most up-to-date information, and share our passion for the field. Our multidisciplinary faculty of physicians, chemists, toxicologists, cancer scientists, molecular biologists, environmental/water resource scientists and other public health scientists gives great breadth to our teaching and research, providing an excellent opportunity to help reduce risk and improve public health at the local and global level. 

About the Department

I’ve not been here long (since July 2014), but I was quickly made to feel welcome and part of this close-knit team – as you will too.  I see a Department proud of its significant achievements, which are perhaps the best-kept secret on campus!  

What qualities summarise the Department? 

Well, there is a collegial atmosphere, with mutual respect between Faculty, staff and students and everyone’s opinion is valued, and listened to.  We keep clear the lines of communication and, where at all possible, decisions are mutual, reasoned and transparent.  Everything is approached with a real sense that we own the Department, and together the Department will continue to go from strength to strength, on the basis that “the whole is more than the sum of its parts”.  As you will hopefully discover, this is all supported by a keen sense of humour.

There is no other Department in which I’d rather be!

Marcus S. Cooke, Ph.D., F.R.C.Path.

Professor and Chair

Did You Know?

The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics lists Environmental and Occupational Health as one of the fastest growing segments of the job market and offers diverse career paths. Our graduates are in demand not only in academia, but also in government, donors, international organizations, NGOs and areas of private industry, including biotechnology and pharmaceutical research firms. For more information, visit our Career Opportunities page.


The RSCPHSW is accredited by the Council of Education for Public Health (CEPH), and the college is home to ACEND and CSWE accredited programs. The College is also a member of the Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health.


Department of Environmental & Occupational Health

Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work
Florida International University
Modesto A. Maidique Campus, AHC5 355
11200 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33199

Phone: 305-348-7778
Fax: 305-348-1996

Marcus S. Cooke, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair