Pinion, C. Jr., Mitchell, L.D., & Marion, J.W. (2018). It's about communities: the commitment to promoting a culturally competent environmental health workforce. Journal of Environmental Health, 81(2), 35-39.
Environmental health and public health are profoundly local. The Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs (AEHAP) firmly agrees and for this reason, it is important to have local environmental health experts who know the pulse of their communities. AEHAP believes in supporting the advanced scientific education of environmental health in these communities through people from these communities. Accordingly, AEHAP has sought to promote and support accredited environmental health programs among a diverse cross-section of the U.S. higher education landscape. AEHAP’s students are diverse in many ways, including socioeconomically, racially, ethnically, and culturally. The value of this approach enhances the overall education of both the students and the faculty, while better positioning students and alumni to serve their own communities where they are better equipped to aid in the development and implementation of local public health programs and responses. Summarizing the annual undergraduate and 3-year graduate program survey data provided by the National Environmental Health Science & Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC), racially and/or ethnically diverse students represent 37% and 48% of enrolled undergraduate and graduate students, respectively. For the 2017–2018 enrollment year, 39% of undergraduates were described as contributing to diversity. In addition, 56% of the student population from the undergraduate and graduate programs is female. Female students have been the majority since 2008. The demographics of EHAC-accredited program graduates are closely aligned with the current U.S. population; however, demographics will change as our nation becomes pluralistic. AEHAP and EHAC will continue to promote cultural competency of graduates and assist accredited environmental health programs in producing cohorts reflective of the needs of their local communities.
Journal of Environmental Health
Community Health and Preventive Medicine Commons, Educational Leadership Commons, Environmental Health Commons, Environmental Public Health Commons, Health and Physical Education Commons, Medical Education Commons, Occupational Health and Industrial Hygiene Commons, Public Health Education and Promotion Commons, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Commons, Science and Mathematics Education Commons