Environment & Health
|Models and methods for research and policy on environment and health.
|One lecture/seminar (three hours); one term
|Prerequisite(s): One of ENVIR SC 3EP3, GEOG 3EP3,3HH3; or permission of the instructor
|Cross-List(s): ENVIR SC 4HH3, HLTH AGE 4M03
Time/Term Offered: Term Two Winter 2012-13
Instructor: Niko Yiannakoulias
Room: General Science Building Rm. 204
Tel:(905) 525.9149 x20117
Office hours: Mondays 10:00 to 11:30 am
Scott Bennet, Email: email@example.com
In this class students will develop their ability to
• Understand the methods used in environmental health research and practice
• Understand the nature of uncertainty in environmental health research and strategies for making decisions under conditions of uncertainty
• Interpret and critically assess research in environment and health, as well as understand the process of site-specific health risk assessments
Class times: M, W 8:30 to 9:20, F: 10:30 to 11:20
Class location: BSB 106
Required Text Books/Course materials:
There is no textbook for this course. Students will be expected to identify key reading material in the writing of their assignments, and in particular, for their final project.
Avenue 2 Learn
In this course we will be using Avenue 2 Learn. Students should be aware that when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names associated with McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure, please discuss this with the course instructor.
Questions related to course content (for example, about lectures and reading material) should be posted online. All students registered in this course should have access to the online system. Speak to the instructor if you have difficulties with access.
Seminar presentation (25%)
• Class participation (5%)
• Media scan (10%)
• HRA (Health Risk Assessment) proposal (10%)
• HRA final report (30%)
• Final Exam (20%)
Seminar presentations (25%)
Students will organize into seminar groups of 2-5 (depending on class size). Each student group will be assigned a topic, and a date of presentation. Groups will be graded on the content of the presentation (15%), the quality of presentation (5%) and their ability to facilitate class discussion (5%)
Class participation in the seminars (5%)
Seminar presentations should be viewed as opportunities for students to have discussions about topics related to course material. For this to work, students must attend and participate in seminars. Students should expect to ask questions that facilitate positive and useful discussion.
Media scan (10% due January 25th)
Students will find a news media article (either a story or commentary) written in the past 5 years about an environmental health issue. The article must refer to a specific city, neighbourhood or region, but no geography as large as a province, state or country. Identify and briefly describe the hazard, route of exposure and health outcome associated with the issue in the article. In addition, find one academic peer-reviewed publication that you think would be useful for helping to understand the issue, and explain why.
The media scan should be roughly 500 words in length. Be sure to print out 1) the news article and 2) the abstract of the peer reviewed publication and submit them along with your assignment.
Term project (10% proposal due February 15th + 30% final project due March 27th)
The term project is an opportunity for students to produce a major report on an issue of environment and health. This assignment is not a research paper; it is a health risk assessment. Your objective is not to ‘prove’ a relationship between a hazard and health outcome, your objective is to use evidence gathered from authoritative sources to assess risks posed by a potential hazard to a particular study region.
To help frame the assignment, imagine that you are a consultant hired to write this report for a group of public and/or private stakeholders. Your job is to synthesize available research and provide information that will help make a decision. We expect a high quality, well researched and well-written report that shows evidence of effort and focus. Please do not put this project off until the week before it is due.
The proposal provides an opportunity for students to get feedback on their project before the final due date. Much of the material included in the proposal can also be included in the final term assignment
The proposal should be a description of: the study region, hazard, route of exposure, likely potential health issues/problems associated with exposure to hazard. It should be about 750-1000 words in length.
Final report requirements must be in the following order:
1. Title page (include title, student name and word count)
2. Executive summary (250-500 words)
3. Table of contents
4. Introduction & objectives (250-500 words)
5. Description of the study region of interest (250-500 words)
6. Description of the hazard (250-500 words)
7. Description of the exposure (route of exposure AND variation in levels of exposure in your study region) (250-500 words)
8. Description of the health outcome of concern and population(s) at risk (250-500 words)
9. Analysis of health risks based on the evidence, including a recommendation as to whether there are reasons for concern in your study region. This section establishes the site-specific risks. This should include a health risk assessment table (will be discussed in class). (750-1000 words).
10. Limitations and uncertainties (250-500 words)
11. Key recommendations (250-500 words)
12. Conclusion (250 words)
13. Tables and figures (if applicable)
Other final report requirements
• 12 pt. black Times Roman font, 1.5 inch margins on the right side, 1 inch margins everywhere else
• Double spaced pages, include page numbers; please ensure good pagination.
• All graphics must be of high quality, and referenced appropriately.
• Students must retain an electronic copy of their final report that is identical to the one submitted for marks. The instructor may request this electronic copy of the final report, and failure to provide a copy may result in a mark of zero.
Final exam 20%)
The format for the final exam will be determined later in the term.
Academic dishonesty consists of misrepresentation by deception
or by other fraudulent means and can result in serious consequences,
e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation
on the transcript (notation reads: “Grade of F assigned for
academic dishonesty”), and/or suspension or expulsion from the
The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:
Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s
own or for which other credit has been obtained.
Improper collaboration in group work.
Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.
It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes
academic dishonesty. For information on the various kinds of academic
dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at http://www.mcmaster.ca/policy/Students-AcademicStudies/AcademicIntegrity.pdf
The instructor and university reserve the right to modify elements of the course during the term. The university may change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances. If either type of modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. It is the responsibility of the student to check their McMaster email and course websites weekly during the term and to note any changes.