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Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health

Occupational Epidemiology


Occupational Epidemiology Doctoral Training Program

occ-epiWith 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 2022 to Summer 2023 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, 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]

Meet our team here

SWCOEH Homepage


Occupational Epidemiology Trainees

Aro Choi Circle cropped head shot
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.

Estacio headshot circle    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.

Ann H headshot high res    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.  

Oyer Peterson circle headshot  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.