Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Catherine Karr
ENV H 517
Seattle Campus

Children's Environmental Health

Discussion of environmental health issues as they pertain to children's health. Topics include historical perspective of public health research and policies directed at protecting children's health and emerging scientific and public health issues such as the risks and benefits of seafood consumption during pregnancy; the use of pesticides on food and in the home; air pollution and childhood asthma, and childhood injuries and the built environment. Offered: Sp.

Class description

Children’s Environmental Health is a large and growing interdisciplinary field. The overall goal is to provide a solid primer to the core concepts and complexity of this area with respect to the evidence base, regulatory frameworks, and programmatic services. Students will participate in case study modules that highlight key exposures (e.g. indoor and outdoor air pollution, lead, pesticides, water contaminants, hormonally active agents), influential environments (home, school, workplace) and leading health conditions (asthma, adverse birth outcomes, neurodevelopment, and obesity).

Student learning goals

Assess the effects of environmental factors on the child across the lifespan (fetal, early childhood, school age, adolescent, young adult)

Recognize key chemical and non chemical stressors on child health and their relationship to core pediatric morbidities with a focus on chronic disease

Undertake critical review and synthesis of scientific evidence in children's environmental health

Develop children's environmental health risk communication for a range potential stakeholders

Understand existing intervention and prevention strategies in children's environmental health

Evaluating regulatory and legislative components relevant to children's environmental health

General method of instruction

The instructive strategy is problem based learning where students are introduced to core concepts and pediatric environmental hazards through active involvement in Case Study Modules. Students will work individually and as interdisciplinary teams to address pediatric environmental hazard scenarios. Perspectives from clinical and population health sciences, exposure sciences, social sciences, global health, and the regulatory and policy arena will be examined. The modules will involve students in developing skills in environmental health problem characterization, assessment, and problem solving. Class time will be used primarily for student led active group learning, discussion, and presentation. Packaged lecture and reading materials for core content will be accessed by students outside the classroom.

Recommended preparation

No specific prerequisites required. The class is designed to model real world scenarios that bring together professionals (in this case students) representing the clinical (nursing, medicine) and public health sciences (exposure, toxicology, epidemiology, biostatistic) as well as policy and legal experts to address children's environmental health problems.

Class assignments and grading

Students will be asked to prepare for class discussions using discussion questions and readings provided in advance. Students will be asked to prepare a variety of communication materials related to case study modules. These include individual assignments and small group assignments, approximately one per week. Assignments may be selected from options that may include writing an op-ed, press release, project pre-proposal to a funder, fact sheet/pamphlet for a general community or for health professionals, and/or public health brief. Students may also select to lead discussion of a journal article or prepare a peer topic brief.

Grading will be based on participation in class discussion, assignments, and a Final Exam.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Catherine Karr
Date: 03/13/2014