• Environmental Health Home Page


    This course is a comprehensive introduction to environmental health concepts, including regulatory controls, and to pollutants’ sources, fates, and impacts in environmental media (air, water, food, and soil) and in occupational settings. Human hazard recognition, evaluation, and management are introduced in terms of toxicology, epidemiology, exposure assessment, prevention, risk assessment, and emergency response.

    This Environmental Health course was developed in partnership with the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Peoples-uni. This course is co-sponsored by: the International Society of Doctors for the Environment, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Simon Fraser University's Faculty of Health Sciences, and the University of the Incarnate Word. Like all NextGenU courses, it is competency-based, using competencies from the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. This course covers the CEPH-related competency “Advocate for political, social, or economic policies and programs that will improve health in diverse populations [D2:14].” This course uses learning resources from world-class academic and governmental organizations such as the International Labour Organization, the University of WashingtonYale School of Public Health, the World Health Organization, the U.S. CDC, and the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Our original course developer was Lindsay Galway, and our Advisory Group was: Ryan Allen, PhD; Kristian Dubrawski, PhD; Sylvia Struck, PhD; and Tim Takaro, MD, MPH, MSc. The course was redesigned by Kathleen Capone EdD, MS, RN, CN; Valeria Reynolds MD; Hugo Rojas MD, MSc; Pablo Baldiviezo MD, Juan Bravo MD, Sergio Arancibia MD and Madison Cox MSN, RN with the collaboration of Peoples-uni Subject Matter Experts Richard F. Heller, MB, BS, MD, FRCP, FFPH, FRACP, FAFPHM,  and Magali Collonnaz, MD, MSc.

    For a publication on this course’s efficacy, see “A Novel Integration of Online and Flipped Classroom Instructional Models in Public Health Higher Education,” (2014), BMC Medical Education, https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6920-14-181; see also “Building Public Health Capacity through Online Global Learning,” (2018), Open Praxis, https://openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/article/view/746/427; to see more research related to NextGenU.org’s educational model, have a look at NextGenU.org’s publication page.

    There are 5 modules to complete, which provide

    1. our introduction to the study of environmental health; 
    2. an overview of major environmental and occupational agents;
    3. an overview of environmental hazards, exposure assessment, toxicology, and risk management and communication; 
    4. skills to develop an environmental and occupational risk assessment;
    5. skills to advocate for environmental health advocacy;
    6. an optional module about Disaster Planning and Management for students interested in taking the ABPM certification exam, and for other motivated learners.


    The completion time for this course is estimated at 135 hours: 45 hours of didactics through narratives and curated resources and 90 hours of work studying the resources and participating in activities to assist the student in synthesizing the materials. This course is equivalent to 3 credit hours.

    You'll have the opportunity to connect with a mentor with professional health care training who has both a bachelor’s/college degree, and a Master of Public Health (MPH) or equivalent, to assist you as you engage in activities that are designed to fulfill the requirements of master's-level competencies. We hope this is a wonderful learning experience for you, and the feedback you provide after completing the course will help us improve the course for future students. 

    The course requires the completion of all peer activities. At the end of each lesson, there is a practice quiz. At the end of the course, after you’ve completed each lesson, quiz, and activity, you’ll have access to a final exam, and a chance to evaluate this course. Once you’ve passed that last test, you will be able to download a certificate of completion from NextGenU.org and our course’s co-sponsoring organizations (listed above). We keep all of your personal information confidential, never sell any of your information, and only use anonymized data for research purposes, and we are also happy to report your testing information and share your work with anyone (your school, employer, etc.) at your request. We hope that you will find this a rewarding learning experience, and we count on your feedback to help us improve this training for future students.

    Engaging with this Course

    You may browse this course for free to learn for your personal enrichment; there are no requirements. To register in this course, it is required that learners have obtained a college-level/bachelor's degree.  

    To obtain a certificate a learner must successfully complete

    • all the reading requirements,
    • all quizzes and pass with a 70% with unlimited attempts,
    • the 6 peer activities,
    • the final exam with a minimum of 70% and a maximum of 3 attempts, and
    • the self and course evaluation forms.

    Evaluation is comprised of the following components

    • White Paper successful completion (10%),
    • Peer/Mentor Activities successful completion (25%),
    • Quiz completion with 70% or higher (15%) and,
    • Final exam (50%).


    To obtain credit 

    • complete all requirements listed above for the certificate;
    • your learning institution or workplace should approve the partner-university-sponsored NextGenU.org course for educational credit, as they would for their learner taking a course anywhere.

    NextGenU.org is happy to provide your institution with

    • a link to and description of the course training, so they can see all its components, including the cosponsoring universities and other professional organization cosponsors; 
    • your grade on the final exam;
    • your work products (e.g. peer and mentored activities), and any other required or optional shared materials that you produce and authorize to share with them;  
    • your evaluations -- course, self, and peer assessments;
    • a copy of your certificate of completion, with the co-sponsoring universities and other organizations listed.

      We hope that you will find this a rewarding learning experience, and we count on your assessment and feedback to help us improve this training for future students.

      To obtain a degree, NextGenU.org co-sponsors degree programs with institutional partners. To obtain a full degree co-sponsored with NextGenU.org, registrants must be enrolled in a degree program as a student of a NextGenU.org institutional partner. If you think that your institution might be interested in offering a degree with NextGenU.org contact us.

      Next Steps
      • Complete the registration form.
      • Take the pre-test.
      • Begin the course with Module 1: Introduction to environmental health. In each lesson, read the description, complete all required readings and any required activity, and take the corresponding quizzes.


      Information for students enrolled in the former version of this course:

      The previous version of the course is still available to you, and all of your work has been preserved. If you wish to continue in the old version of the course you can do so at this link. If you were just starting with the former version of the course, you may consider enrolling in the revised course by clicking here. Since all of the content in the revised version is new, all course participants who enroll in this version will need to complete all of the new activities, quizzes, and the new final to receive a certificate of completion.

    • Prescription

      Competency covered in this module:
      • Describe federal and state regulatory programs, guidelines, and authorities that control environmental health issues

    • Learning Objectives
      • Evaluate the concepts of environmental health and occupational health
      • Analyze core concepts of environmental health 
      • Understand the relationship between human health and the environment
      Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute):  446 mins

      Click here to start this lesson

      10 URLs, 2 Forums, 1 Quiz
    • Learning objectives:

      • Understand how governments, social and cultural determinants, and globalization influence the interaction of human health and the environment.
      • Explain how globalization influences the interaction of the environment with the human health
      Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute):  200 mins

      Click here to start this lesson

      7 URLs, 2 Forums, 1 Quiz
    • Prescription

      Competency covered in this module:

      • Describe the direct and indirect human, ecological, and safety effects of major environmental and occupational agents.


    • Learning Objectives
      • Understand the major environmental agents and their direct and indirect human and ecological effects.
      Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute):  337 mins

      Click here to start this lesson

      3 URLs, 1 Forum, 1 Quiz
    • Learning objectives:
      • Understand the major occupational agents that influence human health.
      • Understand the human, ecological, and safety effects of common occupational agents.
      • Evaluate how environmental medicine can help to prevent and control occupational agents.
      • Understand the definition of aerospace medicine and its relationship with environmental health.
      • Analyze the role of environmental health on travel safety.
      Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute):  380 mins

      Click here to start this lesson

      14 URLs, 2 Forums, 1 Quiz
    • Competencies covered in this module:
      • Specify approaches for assessing, preventing, and controlling environmental hazards that pose risks to human health and safety.
      • Explain the general mechanisms of toxicity in eliciting a toxic response to various environmental exposures.


    • Learning Objectives
      • Analyze approaches of environmental hazards assessment.
      • Understand approaches to prevent and control environmental hazards that pose risks to human health and safety.
      Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute):  131 mins

      Click here to start this lesson

      6 URLs, 1 Forum, 1 Quiz
    • Learning objectives:

      • Evaluate the role of toxicology in environmental and occupational health.
      • Understand the major types of toxic substances and common potential sources of these substances.
      • Understand approaches to assess, prevent, and control health and safety risks related to common sources of toxic substances.
      Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute):  83 mins

      Click here to start this lesson

      8 URLs, 1 Quiz
    • Competencies covered in this module:

      • Specify current environmental risk assessment methods.
      • Describe genetic, physiologic, and psychosocial factors that affect susceptibility to adverse health outcomes following exposure to environmental hazards.
      • Develop a testable model of environmental insult.
      • Discuss various risk management and risk communication approaches in relation to issues of environmental justice and equality.
    • Learning Objectives

      • Evaluate exposure assessment strategies used in environmental and occupational health.
      • Understand assessment tools and methods to identify risk factors that adversely affect human health.
      • Analyze genetic, physiologic, and psychosocial factors that influence the risk of exposure and the susceptibility to adverse health outcomes following exposure to environmental hazards.
      • Analyze the concepts of hazard identification, exposure assessment, and dose-response assessment and their role in risk assessment and management.
      • Create a risk assessment plan for a given community.
      • Understand the concept of environmental insult and what is a testable model of environmental insult.
      • Create a testable model of environmental insult related to an environmental risk identified in their communities.
      Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute):   677 mins

      Click here to start this lesson

      26 URLs, 1 Quiz, 1 Assignment
    • Learning objectives:

      • Understand how to create goals, objectives, and strategies for environmental health interventions and the role of the precautionary principle on them.
      • Understand evaluation strategies for environmental health interventions.
      • Analyze the components and activities of an environmental health intervention.
      • Understand the importance of collaboration with key stakeholders to conduct an environmental health intervention.
      Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute):   569 mins

      Click here to start this lesson

      8 URLs, 5 Forums, 2 Interactive Content, 1 Quiz
    • Learning objectives:

      • Understand the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration to improve populations' health.
      • Advocate for political, social, or economic interventions to improve health in diverse populations.
      • Understand the importance of considering environmental justice and equality while communicating and advocating for environmental health interventions.
      Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute):   730 mins

      4 URLs, 2 Forums, 1 Quiz
    • Instructional goals covered in this module:

      • Describe the role of public health in disaster in disaster management.
      • Utilize mapping in mitigation planning and response operation.


      This module's content is not covered by the ASPPH environmental health competencies or the CEPH competency addressed in this course. However, this module contains essential knowledge required for students preparing for the American Board of Preventive Medicine certification exam. We also recommend this module to other motivated students interested in learning more about disasters in environmental health. 
    • Learning Objectives
      • Understand common natural disasters at a global and local level and their consequences on environmental health services
      • Apply their knowledge on risk assessment, communication, and control on a natural disaster case study.
      • Understand the relationship between climate change and natural disasters
      Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute):  183 mins

      Click here to start this lesson

      12 URLs, 1 Quiz
    • Learning Objectives
      • Evaluate the differencies between natural and man made disasters.
      • Apply their knowledge on risk assessment, communication, and control on a man made disaster case stud.
      Approximate time required for the readings for this lesson (at 144 words/minute):  375 mins

      Click here to start this lesson

      4 URLs, 1 Quiz, 1 Interactive Content, 1 Forum, 1 Assignment
    • In this section, you can provide feedback about this course to help us make NextGenU.org better. Once evaluations are completed, you will be able to download your certificate of completion. 

      Click here give your feedback