Environmental Health: Safeguarding Our World for a Healthier Future

Environmental health pertains to the branch of public health focused on the relationships between people and their environment. It seeks to understand how environmental factors, both natural and man-made, can affect our health and well-being.

Why is Environmental Health Crucial?

  1. Direct Health Impacts: Poor environmental quality can lead to immediate health issues, from respiratory problems due to air pollution to gastrointestinal diseases from contaminated water.
  2. Long-term Implications: Chronic exposure to environmental hazards may result in long-lasting health complications, including cancers and neurodegenerative diseases.
  3. Ecosystem Balance: A healthy environment supports biodiversity and ecosystem services essential for life on Earth.

Key Areas of Focus in Environmental Health

  1. Air Quality: Polluted air from industrial emissions, vehicles, and more can lead to respiratory diseases and other health complications.
  2. Water Quality: Clean water is essential. Contamination can lead to diseases like cholera or lead poisoning.
  3. Toxic Substances and Hazardous Wastes: Exposure to chemicals, either by direct contact or through the food chain, can have detrimental health effects.
  4. Climate Change: Rising temperatures and extreme weather events can cause heat-related illnesses, vector-borne diseases, and more.
  5. Built Environment: Urban planning, infrastructure, and housing can influence physical activity, exposure to hazards, and mental well-being.

How Can We Enhance Environmental Health?

  1. Prevention: Reduce, recycle, and reuse. Minimize waste production and mitigate sources of pollution.
  2. Public Awareness: Raise awareness about the importance of a clean environment and the steps individuals can take.
  3. Legislation and Policy: Implement and enforce laws that ensure industries and communities uphold environmental standards.
  4. Research and Monitoring: Continuously study environmental factors and their health impacts to stay ahead of potential threats.

Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine's Role

At the Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine:

  • Research and Application: Our experts delve into the intricate links between the environment and health, driving initiatives that align veterinary practices with environmental preservation.
  • Community Engagement: We offer resources, seminars, and programs educating about the symbiotic relationship between environmental health and the well-being of animals and humans.
  • Collaborative Efforts: We work alongside environmental scientists, urban planners, and other professionals, championing multidisciplinary approaches to challenges.


Laurent L. Couëtil

Dr. Laurent L. Couëtil

Professor, Large Animal Internal Medicine; Section Head, Large Animal Internal Medicine; Director, Equine Research Programs; Director, Donald J. Mccrosky Equine Sports Medicine Center

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Dr. Lynn F. Guptill

Associate Professor, Small Animal Internal Medicine; Co-Section Head, Small Animal Internal Medicine

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Dr. Stephen B. Hooser

Dr. Stephen B. Hooser

Professor Of Toxicology; Head, Toxicology Section, ADDL; Diplomate, And Past President, American Board Of Veterinary Toxicology

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Dr. Deborah Knapp

Dr. Deborah Knapp

Dolores L. Mccall Professor Of Comparative Oncology; Director, Evan And Sue Ann Werling Comparative Oncology Research Center (WCORC); Co-Section Head, Oncology

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Dr. Christina Wilson

Dr. Christina Wilson

Clinical Associate Professor Of Toxicology; Head Chemist, ADDL

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