University of Nebraska Medical Center

Opportunities for Applied Field Experience in Public Health

Education Highlight –Chandran Achutan, PhD, joined the UNMC Department of Environmental, Agricultural, and Occupational Health in 2008. Dr. Achutan began his career as an analytical chemist, attaining an MS in Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health and a doctorate in Industrial Hygiene from the University of Iowa. Before coming to UNMC, Dr. Achutan worked as an industrial hygienist with CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he performed workplace health hazard evaluations across the country.

Dr. Achutan teaches the UNMC College of Public Health Course, Environmental Exposure Assessment ENV 816/CPH594. The course focuses on exposure assessment methods for airborne chemical and biological pollutants and invokes the experiential education philosophy of engaging students in direct experience to develop skills and increase engagement with the community. Students hone technical and interpersonal skills at their study site. Projects have led to publications and presentations at national and international conferences.

Past projects include radon measurements in underground office spaces, chemotherapy drug sampling in hospitals, solvent exposures at an art restoration laboratory, indoor air quality in office spaces, and bioaerosols in petting zoos. Students have used their project as a stepping stone to their capstone and dissertation research.

Taught in a flipped-classroom model, students listen to lectures outside the classroom and participate in hands-on activities during class. Activities include visiting workplaces, performing quantitative analysis, working with equipment, and discussing journal articles.

The course is offered in-class and online during the spring semester.

Leave a comment