Environmental health policy consists of the laws, regulations, public initiatives and investments that a society and its governmental and non-governmental bodies pursue in order to balance the sometimes competing aims of economic development, environmental sustainability, and human health and wellbeing. Few areas of public policy are as controversial or undergo such wide swings in priorities depending on who controls political power.

Our research seeks to impact environmental health policy by developing rigorous evidence on a wide range of environmental factors affecting human and planetary health, including climate change and economic development. We explore the equity of environmental policies and their differential impacts on under-represented populations. We also emphasize the need for effective dissemination of such research, not only in peer-reviewed journals and international conferences, but also though innovative channels using social media and policy partners.

Our teaching familiarizes students with the core US and state environmental and occupational health laws and administrative agencies, as well corresponding international commitments and the UN and other organizations that administer them. We develop skills in policy analysis, including mapping of stakeholders and interests, to identify potential opportunities for re-aligning objectives and building consensus. We also emphasize negotiation, cooperation and compromise as essential tools for achieving progress in environmental health.

Examples of Departmental Research in Environmental Health Policy:

  • Working with the World Health Organization to develop the evidence base for its Guidelines on Sanitation and Health
  • Providing technical assistance to the governments of Vietnam, Ghana, Kenya and Vietnam to develop standards and strategic plans for household water treatment
  • Advocating for greater integration of core environmental health interventions in water/sanitation, air pollution and vector control
  • Collaborating with World Health Organization to write guidance document on methods for evaluating household energy interventions
  • Translating research into Lancet commentaries on gender priorities in environmental health

Policy Faculty & Research Interests

Tom Clasen, PhD, JD, Professor, Rose Salamone Gangarosa Chair, Sanitation and Safe Water.
Environmental epidemiology, global health, infectious disease, water and sanitation, indoor air pollution

Stefanie Ebelt, ScD, Associate Professor
Cardiovascular and respiratory effects of ambient air quality, air pollution policy, climate change

Noah Scovronick, PhD, Assistant Professor
Climate and health, environmental health, air pollution

Robert Breiman, MD (Global Health)

Bethany Caruso, PhD (Global Health)

Michele Marcus, PhD (Epistemology)

Eri Saikawa, PhD (Environmental Sciences)

Patrick Breysse, PhD (CDC)

Rick Doner, PhD (Political Science, Emory University)

Timothy Frederick, MPH (U.S. EPA)

Ciannat Howett, JD (Director of Sustainability Initiatives, Emory University)

Flemming Konradsen, PhD (University of Copenhagen)

Richard Lemen, PhD (CDC)

Stanley Meiburg, PhD (Wake Forest)

Melvin Myers, MPA (CDC)

EH 543 Sustainability Fall
EH 570 Environmental Health Law and Policy Spring
EH 571 Global Environmental Health Policy: Power, Science and Justice Spring
EH 581 Public Health Consequences of Disasters Fall
EH 584 Built Environment and Public Health Fall
EH 590R Environmental Justice: Theory and Praxis Spring
EH 590R Politics of Public Health Spring


Pittluck, Rachel - "Factors influencing the implementation and adoptions of water and sanitation interventions in urban slums in low and middle income countries." Advisor: Tom Clasen

Rees, Erika - "Enhancing Environmental Public Health Tracking with Satellite-Driven Particle Exposure Data." Advisor: Jeremy Sarnat

Vattel, Jennifer - "Equity of Coverage and Utilization of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Infrastructure by Measures of Vulnerability: A study in rural Ethiopia." Advisor: Matthew Freeman

 Electronic Theses and Dissertations 

Wilson, Karlyn - “Gap Analysis of Corporate Health Policy for ISO 14001 Environmental Management Certification"

Rangarajan, Arjun- "Economic analysis and modeling to inform program and policy for global immunizations"

Romesh, Anurati- "A breath of fresh air: recommending policy system environmental (PSE) changes for lung cancer prevention in the revision of Georgia's five-year Cancer Plan"

Mister, Tori - "Training Manual to Identify Illicit Spills in the West Atlanta Watershed"

Georgia Department of Public Health, Intern (Atlanta, GA): Conduct policy evaluation of HPV vaccination for youth in Georgia state and assist the Georgia Cancer Control Consortium (GC3) develop a strategy to increase Georgia's HPV vaccination rates. 

Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Environmental & Community Health Researcher (Anchorage, Alaska): Conduct community-based research, assist with educational and outreach programs, synthesize emerging scientific information and preparing informational materials to inform and engage people in Alaska, national, and the international policy work, while also offering information about safe alternatives to prevent harmful exposures to toxic chemicals. Apply public health training and experience to real-world issues to help better understanding and contextual public health work.

Hands of Peru, Intern (Trujillo, Peru): Create and moderate focus groups of women, adolescents and children for weekly meetings discussing anti-violence via environmental education. Develop educational materials and programmatic policy tailored to each group. Understand the mechanisms behind running a clinic that promotes education and preventative health.

Atlanta Regional Commission, Intern (Atlanta, GA): Research best practices associated with urban transportation planning processes. Compare different health effect models for ambient fine particulate matter pollution to influence traffic planning policy making. 

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Intern (South Sulawesi Province, Indonesia): Investigate the drivers and barriers to the sustainability of a community-led sanitation project in the South Sulawesi province by examining the effects of a village development fund. Provide feedback and findings to the relevant stakeholders to refine and finalize projects. 

AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Associate for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves - United Nations Foundation

Program Manager - Sustainable Atlanta

Health Scientist, President Management Fellow - Office of Policy, Planning and Evaluation - CDC

Programs Manager - Wholesome Wave Georgia

CDC, National Center for Environmental Health: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/

EPA: https://www.epa.gov/

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/medical_devices/policies/en

Center for Global Safe Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene at Emory University: http://www.cgswash.org/

Center for Behavioral Health Policy Studies: http://cbps.emory.edu/

Environment Georgia: https://environmentgeorgia.org/