Master’s at UC Berkeley School of Public Health

PlantsAll OEM trainees without an MPH or equivalent degree attend the UC Berkeley School of Public Health to obtain a master’s degree (MPH) through its Interdisciplinary Studies track (in some cases an MPH in Epidemiology or an MS or MPH in Environmental Health Sciences, but such exceptions should be discussed and approved by the Residency Program prior to application to the School of Public Health for its December 1 deadline).

For the MPH, a minimum of 42 units and a passing score on the comprehensive exam is required for graduation. The curriculums for the MS degree is similar, but with fewer credit hours required and trainees are expected to complete a research project rather than take an examination. The research project can be completed in the summer or fall following the academic year, if needed.

Sample MPH Curriculum

PH 142A Probability & Statistics (Required) 4 units
PH 200 C1 Health Policy and Management (Required) 2 units
PH 250A Epidemiologic Methods (Required) 4 units
PH 270 Introduction to Environmental Health Sciences (Required) (Required) 3 units
PH 297 Field Study (Clinic) 3 units
3 additional units of electives

PH 200 C2 Health and Social Behavior (Required) 2 units
PH 270B Toxicology (Required) 3 units
PH 269C Ergonomics (Required) 4 units
PH 297 Field Study (Clinic) 3 units
PH 271E Science and Policy for Environmental Health 3 units
A course in health services organization and administration, and 3 additional units of electives

Advanced Courses/Electives:
(Notes: electives must include at least 1 additional unit of behavioral health and 1 unit of health care management/organization)
PH 269E Topics in Environmental Medicine 2 or 3 units
PH 254B Advanced Occupational & Environmental Epi 3 units
PH 270A Exposure Assessment and Control 3 units
PH 220 Health Risk Assessment 4 units
PH 272A GIS and Remote Sensing 4 units
PH 272B Case Studies in Occupational and Environmental Epi 2 units
PH 288C Prev Med Seminar Clinical Preventive Medicine 1 unit
PH 288D Prev Med Seminar Health Care Management/Organization 1 unit

Summer Didactics

Site visitPrior to the start of the fall semester at Berkeley, there is a program of site visits in August in which both first and second year trainees participate, as do Medical Toxicology trainees and other guests such as Occupational Health Nursing students, medical students, and visiting scholars, depending on site availability. The site visits rotate on a 2-year cycle. Summer session content taken over the two years of the program also fulfills graduate level coursework requirements and address benchmarks in industrial hygiene and in risk/hazard control and communication.

Weekly Clinic, Rounds, and Seminars

Trainees participate in clinic for a half-day per week throughout both years of the program. Clinic is typically at the Occupational & Environmental Medicine Clinic at Mount Zion, although sessions the Kaiser Permanente Occupational Medicine Clinic in San Francisco may also fulfill this commitment depending on scheduling needs. Occupational & Environmental Medicine Clinic at UCSF Mount Zion

Cases include referrals for occupational and environmental exposures, toxicology, and complex musculoskeletal disorders. Some families and pediatric cases are seen in collaboration with our Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit. Industrial hygiene and nursing students also participate in patient evaluations, as does our faculty Industrial Hygienist.

Trainees also attend Grand Rounds, Journal Club, and Clinical Practice Presentations on every 2nd and 4th Thursday morning. In addition, case conference occurs midday Mondays at the Mount Zion clinic.

Trainees also are on call to cover the UCSF needle stick hotline for 4-6 weeks during both years of training. Calls are taken from home at night and on weekends.


OEM on site in hardhatsThe Following Provides Background on the Variety of Clinical Rotation Experiences Available to Residents

A minimum of four months must be devoted to clinical rotations in each of the two years of residency. The weekly continuity clinic contributes approximately one month of such clinical time; needlestick coverage contributes additional clinical time.

Kaiser Permanente Medical Group — Occupational Medicine Clinic
General primary occupational medicine services with an emphasis on musculoskeletal evaluations and ergonomic issues. Location: Opera Plaza, San Francisco, CA.

UCSF and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Occupational Health Services
Hospital- and university-based employee health services at UCSF-Mt Zion and Zuckerberg San Francisco General (ZSFG) covering a range of services including health surveillance, infection control, preplacement (including drivers’ examinations), and policy development and implementation. Location: San Francisco, CA.  

San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center (SFVAHCS)
A variety of clinical experiences including general occupational medicine; compensation and pension determinations; post-traumatic stress disorder clinic; rehabilitation medicine; and environmental medicine (including Agent Orange and Gulf War Syndrome). Location: SFVAHCS, San Francisco, CA.

UCSF Needlestick Hotline
First pager calls for the assessment and acute management of needle stick and related biohazard exposures among UCSF and UC Hospital employees under the directions of Drs. Robert Kosnik and Robert Harrison.

Multispecialty Rotation
A month-long multispecialty rotation that provides an opportunity to experience a half-day, once a week outpatient exposure to pulmonary, allergy, ophthalmology, neurology, ergonomics, dermatology, and complementary medicine at a number of different practice settings. Locations: UCSF Mt Zion, Kaiser San Francisco, UC Berkeley Tang Center, and a SF-based private practice neurology setting. Locations: San Francisco and Berkeley, CA.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Health Services Department (LLNL)
LLNL is a Research and Development Laboratory with a focus on national security issues. The Health Services Department serves over 7000 employees and provides comprehensive clinical and consultative services, including medical surveillance, ergonomic, safety, and industrial hygiene evaluations, health promotion, employee assistance programs, and workers compensation management. LLNL has many interesting and unusual occupational health issues ranging from beryllium to biological agents and radiation. Rotation includes clinical service at their occupational clinic in addition to administrative activities. Location: Livermore, CA.

Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU)
This program is part of the OEM Division at SFGH, in partnership with the Northern California Poison Control Center and the UCSF Department of Pediatrics. The PEHSU responds to calls from clinicians and the public about pediatric environmental exposures, performs outreach and education to primary care pediatrics providers, and participates in the multidisciplinary clinic at Mount Zion when children or families with environmental exposures are evaluated. Location: San Francisco, CA and Oakland, CA

San Francisco Regional Poison Control Center (PCC)
Physician and pharmacologist teams advise physicians and the public regarding toxic ingestions (including medication adverse effects), and skin and inhalation exposures; consult on in-patient toxicology cases at San Francisco General Hospital; and provide telephone consultations on toxicology cases at other hospitals. Location: ZSFG, San Francisco, CA.

Concentra, formerly U.S. Healthworks
Concentra offers both urgent care walk in and pre-placement and surveillance services to employers, which includes agricultural and other vulnerable workers. There are also several large industrial employers in the area. Location: East Bay , CA.

WorkWell Medical Group
Work Well Medical Group offers both urgent care walk in and pre-placement and surveillance services to employers in the Salinas Valley including a substantial segment of agricultural workers. These at risk populations provide a potentially unique opportunity for residents to address health care disparities in minority populations. Location: Salinas, CA.

The Following Provides a Summary of Public Health Oriented Rotations

A minimum of two months of the second year must be devoted to public health rotations. Trainees may elect to spend two sequential months at one site, or may rotate through two different sites. Trainees interested in public health may spend additional elective months at any of these sites.

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
The goal of this NGO is to preserve the environment and protect public health through education and advocacy. Areas of focus include diesel exhaust exposure reduction; reduction of greenhouse gases and conventional pollutants from stationary and mobile sources; reducing lead and mercury pollution; pesticide policy reform; drinking water regulation; and identification and elimination of endocrine disrupting chemicals in consumer products. Location: San Francisco, CA.

Center for Environmental Health
The goal of this NGO is to protect public health, the CEH emphasizes toxicant exposures in consumer products and related regulations. It provides experientially-based learning including important elements of risk communication, public engagement, and regulatory operations.. Location: Oakland, CA.

California Dept. of Industrial Relations, Division of Workers Compensation
Trainees rotating at the California State Division of Workers Compensation will develop an understanding of the California workers’ compensation system and its role in the provision of care for ill and injured workers. Trainees will interact with a multidisciplinary team, including medical, legal, and other professionals, and will participate in a wide range of activities, including – but not limited to – internal, interdepartmental, and external stakeholder meetings, literature review, evaluating medical and claims data, and phone consultation and site visits as relevant. Location: Oakland, CA.

California Department of Public Health — Occupational Health Branch (OHB) and Environmental Health Investigations Branch (EHIB)
The OHB identifies and evaluates workplace hazards, tracks patterns of work-related injury and illness, develops training and informational materials, provides technical assistance to prevent work-related injury and illness, and recommends protective occupational health standards. Programs include the: (1) Hazard Evaluation System and Information Service (HESIS) which evaluates hazards and provides information and technical assistance on new or unappreciated hazards; (2) Occupational Health Surveillance and Evaluation Program (OHSEP) which conducts research on work-related illness, injury and death in California; (3) Occupational Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (OLPPP) which provides information and assistance to identify lead hazards and prevent work-related lead poisoning; and (4) California Safe Cosmetics Program (CSCP) which collects and provides information on hazardous ingredients in cosmetic products sold in California. EHIB studies how the environment affects health and by educates and informs the public. EHIB units include: (1) Community Participation and Education Section; (2) Exposure Assessment Section; (3) Environmental Epidemiology Section; (4) Site Assessment Section. Location: Richmond, CA.

California EPA — Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA)
OEHHA is responsible for developing and providing risk managers in state and local government agencies with toxicological and medical information relevant to decisions involving public health. OEHHA’s responsibilities include: (1) Developing health-protective exposure standards for different media (air, water, land) to recommend to regulatory agencies, including ambient air quality standards for the Air Resources Board and drinking water chemical contaminant standards for the Department of Health Services; (2) Carrying out special investigations of potential environmental causes of illness, diseases and deaths; (3) Making recommendations with respect to sport and commercial fishing in areas where fish may be contaminated; (4) Assessing health risks to the public from air pollution, pesticide and other chemical contamination of food, seafood, drinking water, and consumer products; (5) Providing guidance to local agencies with specific public health problems, including appropriate actions to take in emergencies that may involve chemicals; (6) Implementing the provisions of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). Location: Oakland, CA.

California Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA)
State consultation and enforcement services for California OSHA regulations with offices throughout California. This rotation is often done in sequence with the Health Department rotation Location: Oakland, CA.

Labor Occupational Health Project (LOHP) UC Berkeley, Berkeley CA
LOHP is a community service program of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of California, Berkeley. It works with unions, labor/management groups, community organizations, worker centers, small businesses, schools, academia, government agencies, and the general public addressing a variety of occupational health and safety issues. This rotation will include elements of policy, risk assessment and communication, and community outreach to at risk populations. Location: Berkeley, CA.

The Following are Various Corporate/Consulting/Administrative Rotation Opportunities

Site visitA minimum of two months of the practicum year must be devoted to rotations in this category. Trainees interested in this type of practice may spend additional elective months at any of these sites.

Richard Cohen, MD
Consultant to companies in biotechnology and pharmaceutical research and manufacturing, semiconductor equipment and microprocessor production, healthcare supplies and equipment manufacturing, and electronic equipment research and development. Location: South San Francisco, Peninsula, and North Bay areas, CA.

Michael Fischman, MD, MPH
Dr. Fischman is a consulting physician to semiconductor, chemical and photovoltaic panel manufacturing, and motion picture companies, and on medical/legal work in occupational toxicology at various sites in the Bay Area Rotations will provide exposure to a variety of settings and to a common model of corporate service for occupational health by private providers rather than full-time, in-house occupational health services. Location: South San Francisco, Peninsula, and North Bay areas, CA.

The Permanente Medical Group—Kaiser Permanente Northern California Administrative Offices
A non-clinical rotation that focuses on learning how Worker’s Compensation Utilization Review is performed, and how MPN networks are developed, managed and sold from inside a large HMO. Location: Oakland, CA.

Zenith Insurance
Residents become familiar with the role of a Workers Compensation insurance company in preventing injuries and illnesses and facilitating the provision of medical care for injured workers. Location: Pleasanton, CA.

Thomas Allems, MD MPH
Dr. Allems is a private practice occupational medicine consultant who provides experience in medical-legal assessments and related reporting. Location: San Francisco, CA

Distant Rotations

With special approval, residents have arranged distant rotations. These do require identification of additional sources of support for travel and housing and are limited to one month away. A pre-established formal affiliation with UCSF is required. Currently approved potential sites (which also require separate application processes for the hosting sites) are below.

Federal OSHA
Trainees rotating at the Federal OSHA develop an understanding of the OSHA process at the national level. Location: Washington, DC.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Trainees rotating at the NIOSH develop an understanding of the Federal agency that provides the research informing health and safety controls Location: Cincinnati, Ohio.

Research Project

Projects typically span most of the course of the year with a full-time block for in-depth work. A research mentor is selected before the start of the second year. It is expected that research results will be submitted for peer review as an abstract for a presentation at an occupational or environmental health conference and residents are encouraged to develop a manuscript for publication in a scientific journal. The full-time research month(s) should be completed in time to ensure that the project can be completed before the end of training. Training in clinical research methods is provided through a summer workshop.

Examples of research projects carried out by residents in recent years include:

  • Apatira, L. “Physical Inactivity and the Workplace: Using Conceptual Models to Examine Occupational and Personal Risk Factors.”
  • Berenji, M. “Occupational Cancer Risk Among Firefighters.”
  • Dinenberg, E. “Social Support and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.”
  • Kaitz, M. “Hazard Analysis of Consumer Product Chemicals in U.S. Indoor Dust.”
  • Khafagy, A. “High-altitude Alpine Therapy and Lung Function in Asthma: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.”
  • Lin, K. “Reviewing Acute Cardiopulmonary Effects from Wood Smoke Exposure in Controlled Exposure Studies.”
  • MacIsaac, J. “Triclosan Exposure in Healthcare Workers.”
  • McLaughlin, E. “Anaphylaxis Following a Laboratory Mouse Bite.”
  • Murphy, C. “Planning for Long Duration Space Flights: Validation of Model Predictions of Alertness, Performance, and Sleepiness.”
  • Petersen, Scott. “Chromium 6 and Stomach Cancer: a Meta-Analysis.”
  • Puri, R. “Occupational Radiation Exposure and Breast Cancer: Case Report of a Dental Worker.”