Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health

Academic Programs : Industrial Hygiene


Industrial Hygiene


Industrial hygiene is the science devoted to anticipating, recognizing, evaluating, and controlling environmental factors posing risk to workers and the community, which arise from the workplace. The Industrial Hygiene (IH) curriculum offered through UTHealth School of Public Health degrees of Master of Public Health (MPH) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The industrial hygiene curriculum for the MPH is accredited by the Applied and Natural Science Accreditation Commission of ABET.

A high level of faculty/student interaction is emphasized and students typically gain practical experience through summer internships. The locations of the Public Health Region VI - Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas - offer a wealth of opportunities for training in industrial settings, healthcare, petroleum and petrochemicals, agriculture, and public and private business and government sectors.

Industrial hygiene is a discipline within occupational health and safety (OHS), which is a professionally exciting and rewarding field of public health that includes all other aspects of public health such as epidemiology, health promotion, management, global health and wellness, and other disciplines. Being an OHS practitioner helps to save lives of working people and promotes a grounded quality of life for their families and communities.


The interdisciplinary curriculum is based on a public health model for practice. Graduates are prepared to participate in a multi-disciplinary approach to planning, implementing, managing, and evaluating programs and services for worker health and safety.

The curriculum includes industrial hygiene technical and public health cores, as well as electives offered within the UTHealth School of Public Health.

Learn more, IH Program Outcomes and Objectives and Enrollment Information

Fall 2023 to Summer 2024 MPH EOHS Degree Planner

Stipends, Tuition Support, and Benefits

The Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at the UTHealth School of Public Health is one of 18 CDC/NIOSH Education and Research Centers in the United States, supported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The SWCOEH is comprised of academic degree programs in occupational medicine, industrial hygiene, occupational epidemiology, and total worker health. The SWCOEH also supports active continuing education, outreach and pilot project research training programs.

Traineeships are available (full tuition and fees support and a monthly stipend) are available to full-time students on a competitive basis as part of the SWCOEH (trainees must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents). Requirements for the traineeships include acceptance into the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences academic program, maintenance of a minimum course workload, and satisfactory academic progress.

How to Apply

How to apply for the programs, admission requirements and application deadlines can be found online.

Students should apply for the appropriate degree within the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences.

For More Information

Wei-Chung Su, PhD
Assistant Professor and Interim Program Director
Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health
UTHealth School of Public Health
1200 Pressler, W634
Houston, TX 77030
Phone: 713.500.9251
Email: [email protected]


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Wei-Chung Su, PhD

Wei-Chung is the Interim Program Director of Industrial Hygiene for the Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health.  His research interests are centered on airborne particulate matter (aerosol) related to environmental and occupational health. His expertise is aerosol respiratory deposition experiments particularly for airborne particles with irregular shapes such as fibers, nanomaterials, and ultrafine particles. Built on his prior research experiences, he has established an Aerosol Lung Deposition Lab in UTHealth focusing on studying work-related aerosol respiratory deposition issues. He is a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH), and the past chair of the Aerosol Technology Committee in the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). As a faculty member in EHGES and the SWCOEH, he provides several core and elective courses to the environmental and occupational health program, such as Fundamental of Industrial Hygiene (PH 2245), Occupational Health Controls (PH 2250), and Risk Analysis (PH 2135).

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Robert Emery, DrPH

Dr. Robert Emery is Vice President for Safety, Health, Environment & Risk Management for The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Professor of Occupational Health at the University of Texas School of Public Health. Bob has over 37 years of experience in health & safety and possesses master’s degrees in health physics and environmental sciences, and a doctorate in occupational health. Bob holds the unique distinction of holding national board certification in seven main areas of health & safety; health physics [Certified Health Physicist, CHP], occupational safety [Certified Safety Professional, CSP], biological safety [Certified Biological Safety Professional, CBSP], industrial hygiene [Certified Industrial Hygienist, CIH], hazardous materials management [Certified Hazardous Materials Manager, CHMM], security management [Certified Protection Professional, CPP] and risk management [Associate in Risk Management, ARM].

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Anna Gitter, PhD

Dr. Anna Gitter is an Assistant Professor in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences for the Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. She received her B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Michigan and both her M.S. and Ph.D. in Water Management and Hydrological Science from Texas A&M University. During her Ph.D., she also worked as a Research Specialist for the Texas Water Resources Institute and addressed water quality issues throughout the state. Dr. Gitter was also a postdoctoral research fellow with UTHealth Houston School of Public Health, where she developed methods to inform public health decision-making using environmental data. Dr. Gitter’s research includes human health risk modeling to interpret environmental exposures and water resource management for public health. Her current work includes public health preparedness through wastewater epidemiology, evaluating health effects and adaptations for climate change, and advancing human health risk modeling.

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Jooyeon Hwang, PhD, MS

Dr. Jooyeon Hwang is an Associate Professor in Industrial Hygiene for the Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (SWCOEH) at the UTHealth Houston School of Public Health. She received her Ph.D. in Industrial Hygiene and M.S. in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Hwang was as a postdoctoral fellow at the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. Her research has focused on evaluation of the relationship between occupational exposure to specific contaminants and adverse health effects in several different industries including mining, agricultural, and public safety including firefighters. In particular, her research conducts the development of new exposure-associated microbiomes and multi-omics assessment methods to characterize occupational and environmental exposures for health studies.

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Kristina Mena, PhD

Kristina D. (Crabtree) Mena, MSPH, PhD is the Regional Dean of UTHealth Houston School of Public Health in El Paso. She is a Professor and Department Chair of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. Dr. Mena earned a BA in Biology at Franklin College (Indiana), a MSPH at the University of South Florida, a PhD in environmental microbiology at The University of Arizona, and completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Kansas State University. Dr. Mena has over 25 years of experience addressing disease transmission through water and food using risk assessment and epidemiological studies. Dr. Mena was re-appointed by former USEPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to serve second terms on both the USEPA Chartered Science Advisory Board and the USEPA Drinking Water Committee.

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Mary Ann Smith, PhD

Mary Ann Smith is an Assistant Professor in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences for the Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. Her training is in Pharmacy and in Pharmacology/Toxicology. Her interests focus on understanding mechanisms of xenobiotic-induced toxicity as they relate to environmental & occupational exposures and subsequent adverse health effects. In addition, she has an interest in the translation of complex scientific information to language which is accessible to the general lay public, with a particular emphasis on accessibility to underserved communities.

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Lawrence W. Whitehead, PhD, CIH

Dr. Lawrence W. Whitehead, BA, B.Arch., M.Arch., PhD, CIH, FAIHA, is an Associate Professor in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences for the Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. He has taught at the UTHealth Houston School of Public Health since 1986. He is a Certified Industrial Hygienist, and directed the ABET-accredited graduate academic curriculum in industrial hygiene at the U.T. School of Public Health. Through 2019, and is now Assistant Director. He teaches Occupational Health Controls, Occupational Health Field Trips, Public Health Ecology, and co-teaches Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene. His research has primarily been involved with exposure assessment for epidemiology projects, and studies of the need for professional industrial hygienists across industry, and projection of such needs. Dr. Whitehead was a member of the American Board of Industrial Hygiene from 1987 to 1992. He was elected a Fellow of the AIHA in 1999.

Industrial Hygiene Trainees

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Spencer Chichester, BS
SWCOEH Trainee

Spencer Chichester is a first-year MPH student in Industrial Hygiene at UTHealth Houston School of Public Health. A greater Houston-area native, Spencer received his B.S. in Forestry with a minor in Spatial Science from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. Spencer’s research interests include environmental toxins, pesticide persistence, and bio-safety, particularly laboratory sterilization techniques for prions. He aims to become a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) in the future.
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Youngjin Kim, BS
SWCOEH Trainee

Youngjin Kim is a first-year MPH student at UTHealth Houston School of Public Health, specializing in Industrial Hygiene. Youngjin attained his B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from Texas A&M University and is now pursuing his master's degree in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, specializing in Industrial Hygiene. Youngjin is interested in the field of Industrial Hygiene because he values employee health and minimizing hazardous workplace conditions. Youngjin hopes to work as an Industrial Hygienist and eventually become a Certified Industrial Hygienist.
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Nhu Nguyen, BA
SWCOEH Trainee

Nhu Nguyen is a first-year MPH student at UTHealth Houston School of Public Health, specializing in Industrial Hygiene. Nhu obtained her B.A. in Biology from the University of North Texas. After working for a few years in the healthcare and revenue cycle management industry, she decided to return to school and aspires to be a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH). Nhu is excited about this new journey.
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Lucy Watson-Cook, BS
SWCOEH Trainee

Lucy Watson-Cook is a first-year MPH student at UTHealth Houston School of Public Health, focusing on environmental health and Industrial Hygiene. Lucy recently received her B.S. in Public Health from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin where she concurrently participated in the accelerated master’s program with UTHealth. In the future, she hopes to earn her Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) credential and begin working in the field.