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
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.
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