Our History 

The History of the Department of Environmental Health
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The origin of the Department of Environmental Health began about 70 years ago with Dr. Robert  A. Kehoe’s research in the late 1920s under the aegis of the General Motors Research Corporation, on the newly developed industrial compounds, tetraethyl lead and Freon. Dr. Kehoe was a pioneer in Occupational and Environmental Medicine in two ways: he was the first to assemble a multidisciplinary team of physicians, analytical chemists, toxicologists, industrial hygienists, and engineers to study occupational and environmental health problems and was the first to appreciate the linkage between pollution in the workplace and the environment.

The first building of the Department of Environmental Health’s present complex was completed in December, 1930 and named the Kettering Laboratory of Applied Physiology to honor the head of the General Motors Laboratory, Charles Kettering. It was an independent unit within the University of Cincinnati until 1949 when the second building was completed and the Kettering Laboratory was combined with the Department of Preventive Medicine to form the Department of Preventive Medicine and Industrial Health in the College of Medicine under Dr. Kehoe’s chairmanship. The year before Dr. Kehoe’s retirement in 1965, the third wing of the present complex was dedicated as Robert E. Kehoe Hall and the Department assumed its present name, the Department of Environmental Health.

Under the next director, Dr. Edward Radford, the Department began its close and sustained linkage with the then newly formed National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, one of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Raymond Suskind was Director from 1969 to 1985 during which time the size of the Department and the range of its activities in environmental health increased to its present scope.

Dr. Roy Albert succeeded Dr. Suskind as Director in 1985. During his stewardship, the Department’s research budget tripled to $15 million annually. Its national ranking moved to the top 10% of comparable departments and it became the largest research department at the University of Cincinnati. During these years, the transition to molecular research began with the recruitment of Drs. Nebert, Loper and Dixon, which stimulated greater integration of activities within the College of Medicine and other components of the University.

The fourth wing of the Kettering Complex, initiated during Dr. Suskind’s directorship was completed in 1992. The funding provided by the State of Ohio recognized the dominant role in Environmental Health that the Department plays in the State of Ohio and nationally. This state-of-the-art research building is an important step in the long range plan to modernize the facilities of the Department.

Dr. Marshall Anderson succeeded Dr. Roy Albert as director in 1996. Under his leadership, the research area of Environmental Genetics and Molecular Toxicology has expanded rapidly with an increasing emphasis on the genetic basis for individual susceptibility to toxic agents. The research budget has risen to about $21 million annually. The Department of Environmental Health in collaboration with the Medical Center, has recently expanded its research and teaching efforts in the area of statistical genomics with the creation of a new Center for Genome Information.

The emphasis on integration of activities in the College of Medicine continues to increase. The Department of Environmental Health now has a number of multi-college and multi-departmental centers, including: The Center for Occupational Health, the Hazardous Waste Research Center, the Center for Environmental Genetics, the Educational and Research Center in Occupational Health and Safety, the Hazardous Waste Worker Training Center, the Superfund Basic Research Program, the Genetic Epidemiology of Lung Cancer Consortium, and the new Center for Genome Information.

The Department of Environmental Health has 44 full-time faculty members and currently consists of four division, including Occupational and Environmental Health, Environmental and Occupational Hygiene, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Environmental Genetics and Molecular Toxicology. The Department pioneered in the training of occupational physicians and industrial hygienists and has more recently developed a strong teaching program in toxicology and epidemiology/biostatistics. It has the largest graduate program in the Medical College, including about 150 students at both masters and PhD levels. The graduates, called the Academy of Kettering Fellows, number over 1,400.

Past Directors
Director Name Years
Edward P. Radford, MD 1964-1967
Ernest C Foulkes, PhD 1967-1969
Raymond R. Suskind, MD 1969-1985
Roy E. Albert, MD 1985-1994
Marshall W. Anderson, Ph.D. 1996-2003
Robert L. Bornschein, Ph.D. 2003-2005
Current Director
Shuk-mei Ho 2005-


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