Environmental Health

Students will consider how HealthyPeople 2020 environmental health themes impact their community, and apply concepts such as “social justice” and “the greater good” in evaluating public health initiatives.

Learning Objectives

1. Describe the impact of various environmental public health hazards.

2. Investigate strategies that address solutions to environmental public health hazards.

3. Explore policy and legislation related to environmental health issues in the community.

Background

Students should familiarize themselves with HealthyPeople 2020’s Environmental Health objectives, which focus on 6 themes: 1) outdoor air quality; 2) surface and ground water quality; 3) toxic substances and hazardous wastes; 4) homes and communities; 5) infrastructure and surveillance; and 6) global environmental health.

Students can access https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/environmental-health for more information.

Instructions for Individual Activity

Choose one of the HealthyPeople 2020’s Environmental Health themes to investigate and explore how the community (Norwood Park community) is affected and impacted by this theme, as well as what is being done to address this environmental health theme to safeguard or improve societal and environmental health. Students should search relevant public/governmental agency websites and media/newspaper publications to help understand the situation from historical, present, and future oriented perspectives. The EPA’s My Environment website may also be helpful (https://www3.epa.gov/enviro/myenviro/).

Students will then create a 2-page paper (approximately 500 words) that addresses the following:

· Briefly describe the selected environmental health theme.

· Discuss how the community is affected/impacted by this environmental health theme.

· Explore the selected environmental health situation from historical, present, and future-oriented perspectives.

· Discuss any strategies that are planned or have been implemented to address this environmental health theme to safeguard or improve societal and environmental health. Consider the barriers and facilitators for success of these strategies. Propose strategies if none are found.

· Within the paper, students should consider and address population health concepts such as “social justice” and “the greater good.”

· Student should utilize and appropriately cite relevant public/governmental agency websites and media/newspaper publications to substantiate their writing.

· Students should submit their APA formatted paper.

Group activity (one page)

Together, group members will discuss their findings and the significance of the environmental health issues explored.

· After hearing from your classmates, how do you rate the overall quality of the environmental health of your chosen community? Would you choose to live here? Why or why not?

· Which environmental theme presented was most concerning to you? Why?

· How will this information influence you, both personally and professionally? Do you plan to change any practices?

· What can we do as health care professionals to promote environmental health? Think about the different care areas where nurses practice: how can we make an impact in each of these settings?

· Acute care hospitals

· Long term care facilities

· Schools

· Jails/Prisons

· Other outpatient settings