Epidemiology, human genetics & environmental sciences

Understanding and reducing the burden of disease and mitigating man's impact on the environment through research, education and service.

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From genetic predisposition to environmental exposure

The Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences encompasses every facet of life that can affect a population’s health.

The fields covered by our department offer a different angle from which to assess and tackle pressing health issues affecting communities and populations. Our epidemiology students learn to bring the full context into view, in order to understand the patterns and relationships in chronic and infectious diseases and other health outcomes such as injuries, aging and mental health in populations. Our human genetics students immerse themselves in genetics and genomic research to help guide decisions regarding the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Additionally, our environmental and occupational health students investigate environmental and occupational exposures to determine how they affect health and to ensure healthy workplaces and communities.

Welcome to the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences (EHGES). The faculty, students, staff, and alumni of EHGES have a shared mission to reduce the burden of disease in human populations. Our department accomplishes this goal through excellence in research, education and service.

Although teaching and academic programs are the engines that drives our department, research is the fuel that keeps the intellectual engines running. EHGES is committed to excellence in research and affecting positive changes in the quality of health around the world. Some of our research enterprise is conducted in specialized research centers. The Center for Infectious Disease (CID) has a commitment to conquering the emerging infectious diseases that result from close contact between humans and other species, or the result of poor sanitation and inappropriate food handling. The Human Genetics Center (HGC) is utilizing the latest genomic technology to understand the genetic etiology of many of the common chronic diseases that plague human populations. The Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (SWCOEH) is addressing the threats to health and well-being posed by occupational and environmental factors through multidisciplinary and innovative approaches to research.

As you consider your options, I encourage you to explore our website and learn more about how our graduate programs can help launch you on the path of a successful public health career. For more information, please feel free to contact us at sphehges@uth.tmc.edu

Dr. Alanna Morrison
Department Chair


The foundation of public health.

Epidemiologists play a vital role in disease prevention through their study of detecting determinants and patterns of disease in vulnerable populations. Through rigorous coursework, we prepare our students to confront some of the most common, and deadly, health conditions affecting communities around the globe. Students work alongside our world-renowned faculty on cutting edge research covering cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer, among other issues, and alumni from our program go on to become leading experts in both chronic and infectious diseases. This research provides our students with the knowledge and skills needed to extend life expectancy, advance health equity, improve quality of care and pave the way for innovations in how we control health events in the future.

Environmental Sciences

Protecting our environment to preserve public health.

Environmental and occupational health scientists study physical, biological and chemical exposures encountered by the public to provide solutions to natural and man-made problems in our environment. Through interactive field and laboratory work, our students learn to identify and address the potential effects of exposures from activities and settings we experience each day. Examples include establishing and implementing safer workplace operating standards and procedures that promote health and safety, developing emergency management plans for improved response to environmental disasters and monitoring the quality of our air, water and food to minimize health risks. By better understanding our surroundings, we are able to foster thriving communities through the prevention or mitigation of exposure to environmental hazards.

Epidemiology, human genetics and environmental sciences research

We offer a supportive and thriving research culture, including many grant-funded projects and high-profile partnerships with other health and community organizations. Our department collaborates with the Center for Infectious DiseasesHuman Genetics Center and the Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health on a wide range of topics. 

Our research interests and efforts include: 

  • Cancer Epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes  and other Chronic Diseases
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response Training
  • Environmental and Occupational Exposures (Waterborne Diseases, Air Quality)
  • Ergonomics
  • Genetic Epidemiology
  • Genomics and Bioinformatics
  • Human Genetics
  • Human Health Risk Assessment
  • Industrial Toxicology
  • Infectious Diseases & Immunology
  • Injury, Violence & Substance Abuse
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Epidemiology 
  • Nutrition & Obesity
  • Pediatric, Perinatal & Reproductive
  • Physical Activity
  • Total Worker Health®

Certificates offered

The Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences offers the following certificates:

For degree-seeking and non-degree seeking students:

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Epidemiology Admissions

JR Bright

EPI Academic and Admissions Advisor II


Eric L. Brown, PhD

Epidemiology Faculty Admissions Representative

Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Admissions

Mark Yeh

EOHS Academic and Admissions Advisor II


Lawrence Whitehead, PhD

EOHS Faculty Admissions Representative


    John “Wesley” McWhorter, DrPH, MS, RDN, LD, CSC

    Dr. McWhorter, assistant professor in health promotion and behavioral sciences, recently wrote a guest blog for the de Beaumont Foundation about implementing virtual culinary medicine courses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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    Wes McWhorter, HPBS Faculty

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