Diversity in OEHS Symposium

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Increasing Diversity in Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety: A Virtual Symposium on Graduate Training Opportunities


This virtual symposium is designed for students from historically underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds and structured to provide resources and information to support the pursuit of graduate training opportunities in Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS). We will provide an introduction to OEHS, explore related graduate programs, examine the importance of diversity in OEHS, and discuss academic funding opportunities available through the 18 NIOSH Education and Research Centers (ERCs) around the country. Students will also have an opportunity to participate in industry panels highlighting faculty and practitioners of color, and to receive career guidance and feedback from HR and Diversity & Inclusion professionals responsible for hiring at their respective organizations. 

This event is hosted by the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH), located in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. COEH's mission to protect workers and communities from occupational and environmental health hazards through teaching, research, and service.


  • Too much screen time in 2020? Need to listen on the go? Each video is available in an audio-only version to accommodate students' needs.

  • To view closed captioning most efficiently, please use the full-screen video mode. If we can assist with any other accessibility issues, please contact us at coehce@berkeley.edu and we will do our best to accommodate your request.


Join event organizers Michelle Meyer, Jesus Alfaro, and Jessica Gorsuch as they welcome attendees to the first annual Diversity in OEHS Symposium. This brief introduction includes information on how COEH hopes to increase field diversity through access to information on OEHS academic programs, graduate student funding, mentorship and internship opportunities, and career pathways to working in OEHS. 

Welcome to the 2020 Diversity in OEHS Symposium

Environmental Health Sciences Panel Discussion

Environmental Health Sciences Academic Panel: Discovering Pathways to Academia through OEHS Research

COEH moderator Jessica Gorsuch leads a discussion on higher education representation, overcoming adversity, and diversity through the lens of OEHS with this impressive team of university faculty, post-doctoral scholars, and current OEHS students. This panel dives into the need for more diversity in the research and professional fields of OEHS, the value of mentorship & networking, and advice on securing funding and program placement as URM-identified students. 


Dele Ogunseitan, PhD, MPH | View Profile

Founding Chair, Department of Population Health and Disease Prevention, UC Irvine

Dr. Dele Ogunseitan is University of California Presidential Chair and Professor at UC Irvine. He is interested in environmental and human health effects of industrial development within respect to pollution prevention and remediation. His laboratory is focused on the microbiological basis of pollutant detection and elimination. Dr. Ogunseitan’s research in industrial ecology is focused on interdisciplinary approaches to environmentally-benign product design and life cycle assessment of materials that affect human health and the environment. His work in the interface of health and development is focused on understanding the burden of disease associated with environmental pollution and specific industrial development projects. 

Marissa Baker, PhD | View Profile 
Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety, University of Washington

Dr. Marissa Baker is an Assistant Professor in the UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS). She also serves as program director of the industrial hygiene training program at the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety, housed at DEOHS. She is an affiliate faculty in the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies at UW.Dr. Baker's current research mostly centers on occupational experiences of vulnerable or underrepresented groups. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been working closely with a variety of worker organizations, government, and industry partners to characterize physical and mental health outcomes experienced by workers due to the pandemic, characterize their risk perceptions and needs, and propose and evaluate interventions for safe work. Dr. Baker also studies the experiences of women in the workplace.

Lesliam Quirós-Alcalá, PhD | View Profile

Assistant Professor, Environmental Health and Engineering, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Dr. Quirós-Alcalá is an exposure scientist and environmental epidemiologist. Her research focuses on characterizing environmental exposures to endocrine disrupting agents and examining their potential health effects on highly vulnerable, low-income and minority populations underrepresented and understudied in public health research, including occupational populations, pregnant women and women of reproductive age, and children. She has examined determinants of exposure and health outcomes associated with chemicals in personal care products, cleaning agents, pesticides, and flame retardants; and validated biomarkers of exposure. Her research also seeks to integrate qualitative research methods to design and implement culturally-appropriate interventions to reduce environmental health disparities among Latino, African American, and other minority populations. Dr. Quirós-Alcalá is currently investigating the role of environmental exposures on asthma morbidity among inner-city children, assessing occupational exposures among hairdressers, examining the impacts of environmental agents on male hormones, and assessing environmental exposures in a U.S.-based Central American population. She is also a Co-Investigator for the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Data Analysis Center at Johns Hopkins.

Jacqueline Ferguson, PhD | View Profile

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Stanford University

Dr. Jacqueline Ferguson is a postdoctoral research fellow working with Dr. David Rehkopf and Dr. Donna Zulman at the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences through the Big Data-Scientist Training Enhancement Program (BD-STEP) at the Palo Alto VA. She is an epidemiologist who specializes in leveraging secondary data sources such as employment records and electronic healthcare records to assess environmental and social exposures that interact to influence human health. Jacqueline’s doctoral research examined the impact of specific components of shift work on worker health, and has contributed to the understanding of night and rotational work as risk factors for hypertension and Type II diabetes. Her current research at the Palo Alto VA focuses on how co-occurring social determinants of health and multiple chronic conditions affect the health of veterans. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has examined COVID-19 testing disparities among socially marginalized Veterans and how the rapid shift to virtual care has impacted Veterans’ access to care.

Jacqueline received her doctoral degree in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley and a MHS in Environmental Health Sciences from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

Erika Garcia, PhD, MPH | View Profile

Assistant Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of USC

Erika Garcia is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Environmental Health of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. She is an environmental epidemiologist whose research focuses on the role of airborne environmental contaminants in the development of human disease and applies both traditional epidemiologic as well as advanced causal inference methodologies. She has published studies conducted in both occupational and community exposure settings. Her early research involved examination of the healthy worker survivor effect and application of g-methods in cancer studies of autoworkers exposed to metalworking fluids. More recently, her research has focused on the effects of early-life air pollution exposure on pediatric respiratory and metabolic health outcomes, including new-onset asthma, lung function, and childhood obesity. As part of these studies, she uses causal inference methods to estimate effects of policy-relevant air pollution interventions. Dr. Garcia received a PhD and MPH in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley.

Judith Okoro | View Profile

Student Researcher, UC Ergonomics Research & Graduate Training Program, University of California, Berkeley

Judith Okoro is a 2nd year MPH candidate in Global Health & Environment with a concentration in Human Factors and Ergonomics. Her interests are environmental determinants of health, global health, and occupational health. She is currently working on a project dedicated to designing interventions to increase physical activity in underrepresented elementary school students during the COVID-19. Once she completes her MPH, she plans to use her learned-skills in providing equitable interventions for patients as a future physician.

Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety Panel Discussion

Occupational/Environmental Health & Safety Panel: Exploring Career Pathways with Industry Professionals

Join COEH moderator Jesus Alfaro as he discusses OEHS career navigation with our panel of senior industry professionals and a current NIOSH trainee. This panel highlights how URM-identified students can utilize mentorship opportunities, industry cross-training, and non-traditional academic journeys to lead them toward successful & lucrative careers in occupational and environmental health and safety fields.