Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health

Academic Programs : Occupational Epidemiology


Occupational Epidemiology

Occupational Epidemiology Doctoral Training Program

With its focus on disease and injury causation and prevention, epidemiology is a fundamental science of public health; occupational epidemiology is a fundamental science of occupational health and safety.

Occupational epidemiologists are commonly employed in government, academia, corporate settings, or as private consultants. In these capacities, they provide key scientific information in: the assessment of health and safety risks from occupational exposures, disease outbreak investigations, data to support the scientific basis for regulation, and control of chemical and physical agents. Increasingly, occupational epidemiologists are being asked to extend their reach to the community to address public health concerns arising from occupational exposures.

Choosing a career in occupational health and safety (OHS) promises to be a professionally exciting and personally rewarding field of public health that includes all other aspects of public health such as health promotion, management, policy, 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 includes acquiring an understanding of the principles of both epidemiology and occupational health, as well as their integration. The curriculum includes biostatistics, environmental and occupational health, epidemiology, as well as electives offered within the School of Public Health.

The most updated curriculum is available online here. 

Fall 2023 to Summer 2024 PhD Epidemiology Degree Planner

Stipends, Tuition Support, and Benefits

The Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at 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). SWCOEH is comprised of academic degree programs in occupational medicine, industrial hygiene, occupational epidemiology and total worker health, and supports active continuing education, outreach and pilot project research training programs.

Traineeships are available (Full tuition and fees support and a generous monthly stipend) are available to full-time students on a competitive basis as part of our NIOSH-funded Education and Research Center (ERC) (trainees must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents). Requirements for the traineeships include acceptance into the Epidemiology 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 Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences.

For More Information

Jenil R. Patel, MBBS, MPH, PhD
Assistant Professor and Program Director
Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health
UTHealth School of Public Health
Dallas Campus
Phone: (972) 546-2957
E-Mail: [email protected]


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Jenil Patel, PhD

Jenil Patel is the Director of the Pilot Projects Research Training Program at Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. He led the first virtual joint Southwest Centers Occupational Health Research Symposium in June 2021. He received his PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston. Dr. Patel is a trained physician from India and received his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) degree from Smt. B. K. Shah Medical Institute and Research Center, Gujarat University. He holds an MPH in health education from Western Kentucky University. Dr. Patel is also a UW Collaborative Center for Health Equity’s HELI program Scholar.

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George Delclos, MD, MPH, PhD

George Delclos, MD, MPH, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston, Texas and Senior Researcher in the Center for Occupational Health Research at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Barcelona in 1981 and completed residency training in internal medicine and pulmonary diseases at the Baylor College of Medicine. He has an M.P.H. degree from the University of Texas School of Public Health, a Ph.D. in Health and Life Sciences from Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, and is board-certified in internal medicine, pulmonary diseases and occupational medicine. At UTSPH, he is past Principal Investigator of the Southwest Center of Occupational and Environmental Health (1997-2006), Director of the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Science (2004-2008) and Director of the Occupational Medicine Residency Program (1993-1998, 2008-2020).

Dr. Delclos remains active in clinical practice, which he combines with teaching and research. In 2015 he received the University of Texas Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award and was inducted in 2016 into The University of Texas Kenneth I. Shine, MD Academy of Health Science Education. With over 200 peer-reviewed publications, his research presently focuses on 3 areas: a) occupational and environmental asthma, b) national surveys of working conditions and health, mainly conducted in emerging countries and c) determinants of sickness absence and disability at an international level. Dr. Delclos’ research is conducted mainly in Texas, Spain and Latin America (Colombia and Central America). Dr. Delclos' research publications are available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/1FWc9gTMiMm5l/bibliography/public/?sortby=pubDate&sdirection=ascending

Occupational Epidemiology Trainees

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Aro Choi, MS
SWCOEH Trainee

Aro Choi, MS, is a third-year PhD student in Epidemiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health. She earned a Master of Science in Biostatistics at Duke University. She has been working as a statistician in the division of infectious disease at UTHealth San Antonio. Aro has extensive experience of data analytics from her previous roles at Duke Clinical Research Institute, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), NC Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS), and the Center for Research to Advance Community Health (ReACH). Her research interest is to develop measurement for occupational determinants of health.

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Alvin Estacio, MS
SWCOEH Trainee

Alvin Estacio, MS, is a second-year PhD student in Epidemiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health in San Antonio. He earned his Master of Science in Epidemiology also at UTHealth in 2019 and earned his Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering at the Florida Institute of Technology in 2016. His research interests include improving vaccination coverages in vulnerable populations, identifying occupational health inequities and preventing work-related disease incidence and injuries.

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Anna Holdiman, MA
SWCOEH Trainee

Anna Holdiman, MA, CCC-SLP, is a first-year PhD student specializing in Epidemiology at the UTHealth School of Public Health Austin Campus. Drawing upon her background as a medical speech-language pathologist and clinical researcher, Anna's research interests center around maternal child health, opioid use disorder, workplace violence amongst healthcare workers, and environmental and occupational exposures. Presently, Anna works as a research specialist for Texas Health and Human Services.

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Kelly Oyer-Peterson, JD, MPH, RN
Occupational Epidemiology Student

Kelly Oyer-Peterson, JD, MPH, RN, is an epidemiology PhD student at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health. Ms. Oyer-Peterson is an occupational epidemiology trainee with the Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (SWCOEH). Her research interests include occupational and environmental exposures, military worker populations, mental health in the workplace, and workplace violence. She earned degrees in psychology and nursing before earning her law degree.