Environmental Health and Land Reuse Certificate Program
New Certificate Program Offered From NEHA: Environmental Health and Land Reuse
Brownfields: An Introduction
Beginning in 2016, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) launched a partnership to create a free, online, asynchronous course with the goal of building capacity within communities to help remediate and redevelop many of the brownfields sites around the country. Brownfields are land reuse sites often contaminated by harmful chemicals or redeveloped without proper environmental oversight, such as former gas stations, manufactured gas plants, factories, dry cleaners, and abandoned properties. Due to their potentially hazardous status, brownfields sites can lead to harmful exposures in humans while accentuating, and often exacerbating, socioeconomic disparities within their communities. These sites, therefore, have unique funding eligibilities and regulatory steps for developmental processes.
Striving for Healthier Communities
ATSDR is a federal public health agency headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, responsible for evaluating and protecting community health from the effects of exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. The agency has been working diligently with brownfields since the mid-1990s, and in 2006, launched the National Land Reuse Health Program that focuses on incorporating community health considerations into land revitalization activities. This program promotes a well-rounded, healthful approach to redevelopment; measures changes in community health; encourages community involvement in public policy; and improves ways to discuss health and environmental risks. Collaborating with NEHA to transport ATSDR’s expertise to an online learning space, the Environmental Health and Land Reuse (EHLR) Certificate Program (a.k.a. Brownfields Course) provides all the information needed to build “healthfields” or other health-focused redevelopments in communities.
Education for Development
Based on a NEHA survey, environmental professionals working in local health departments (LHDs) reported varying levels of education in environmental health and land reuse/redevelopment in the areas of risk assessment, risk communication, epidemiology, land reuse and redevelopment, and toxicology. A varying range of LHD employees (5–75%), however, were asked to perform tasks in any of the five areas without any formal education. Among LHD respondents who indicated working on land reuse/brownfields issues, almost 75% indicated having either no formal education or only continuing education courses related to land reuse and/or brownfields.
The EHLR Certificate Program was created to fill that knowledge gap. This holistic training course consists of six modules:
- Prerequisite: Introduction to the Environmental Health and Land Reuse Certificate Program
- Module 1: Engaging With Your Community
- Module 2: Evaluating Environmental and Health Risks
- Module 3: Communicating Environmental and Health Risks
- Module 4: Redesigning With Health in Mind
- Module 5: Measuring Success
The wealth of knowledge contained in these modules will provide environmental or health professionals the information, procedures, and resources needed to identify, cleanup, and redevelop land reuse sites.
Participants can receive either
- a Community Engagement and Risk Communication Certificate upon completion of the prerequisite and modules 1 and 3 (aimed at public health professionals such as nurses) or
- an Environmental Health and Land Reuse Certificate upon completion of the prerequisite and all five modules (all audiences).
The course can be accessed with a MyNEHA account through NEHA's online E-Learning. Click below to enroll and take the next step to enacting lasting, positive change in areas needing it most.