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Critical Competencies in Children’s Environmental Health


Competency in children’s environmental health allows for the development of interventions that can prevent the long-term and irreversible health outcomes that result from early environmental toxic exposures. Health effects that are thought to be at least partially influenced by early exposures include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), lower IQ, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Despite the value of children’s environmental health, there are still gaps in workforce training for those interested in children’s environmental health. These gaps in knowledge and training highlight the need for improved ways to build the capacity of children’s environmental health professionals. Our work focused on creating a set of competencies for public health professionals interested in children’s environmental health careers as a way to meet the demand for children’s environmental health specialists. We identified 12 competencies that individuals can adopt to build their capacity as children’s environmental health professionals. 

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Volume: 85
Number: 6
Pages: 26–29
Published: January/February 2023


  • Michelle Del Rio, MPH, PhD, School of Public Health, Indiana University–Bloomington 
  • Patricia Lasley, MPH, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago 
  • Lindsay Tallon, MSPH, PhD, CPH, School of Arts and Sciences, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences 
  • Jean-Marie Kauth, MPH, PhD, College of Liberal Arts, Benedictine University 
  • Gina Bare, RN, National Environmental Health Association 
  • Leyla Erk McCurdy, MPhil, Children’s Environmental Health Committee, Environment Section, American Public Health Association 
  • Ruth A. Etzel, MD, PhD, Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University 

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