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JBS is featured on BrandeisNOW. Check it out!

Hanna Wellish '12, a student in the JBS Environmental Health and Justice Program, creates a short video about the students' work with Worcester Roots.

Philip Lu '11 writes about his experience in The Justice.

2010 students created impressive study posters. Click on the images below to enlarge.

Environmental Study
Environmental Study


The following courses will run concurrently for eight weeks throughout the summer.

1. AMST 102aj Environment, Social Justice, and Empowerment

Taught by Professor Laura Goldin

This community-engaged course involves students first-hand in the legal, policy, science, history and social impacts of current environmental health issues challenging individuals and families and communities today, with a particular focus on low-income, immigrant communities and the profound and unique roles played by women. 

Students will engage directly in the topics through field trips, visiting speakers and discussions with stakeholders themselves. They also will address the issues by assisting low income residents in Waltham at the Tenant Advocacy Clinic, and collaborating in projects with EPA, DEP and local organizations such as Healthy Waltham, the Waltham Family School, Waltham Family YMCA, Jewish Family and Children's Service, Joseph Smith Community Health Center and others. Six credits (Yields six semester-hour credits towards rate of work and graduation)


  • Elective in legal studies
  • Women's and gender studies elective
  • Oral Communication
  • SS School of Social Science distribution requirement
  • International global studies/Global environment: Elective
  • Social justice and social policy elective: Dynamics of Discrimination and Inequality
  • Writing Intensive

Throughout the JBS program, students also will address the particular challenges of toxic exposures in low-income housing in Waltham through twice-weekly work at the Waltham Alliance to Create Housing's (WATCH) "Tenant Advocacy Clinic," organized and staffed by Laura Goldin's classes in collaboration with the Boston College Law School Legal Assistance Bureau and Greater Boston Legal Services.

All students will become trained advocates at the Advocacy Clinic, meeting in teams with clients to hear concerns, provide assistance, furnish information on basic legal rights and provide targeted referrals to other needed social services.

Students will learn the applicable substantive housing and discrimination law and the relationship between toxic exposure and housing conditions, as well as critical skills such as interviewing, legal research and application of facts to law, negotiation, written and oral advocacy and case management, and working with low income and multi-ethnic communities.

Students may also see selected housing cases as they proceed through the court system, and work in collaboration with the Harvard Law "No One Leaves" eviction prevention program and local organizations on direct intervention initiatives with low income tenants in the Boston area to prevent homelessness and sub-standard housing conditions due to foreclosures.

2. BISC 6bj Environmental Health

Taught by Professor James Stewart, Joseph G. Allen, and Matt Fragala

This course will introduce students to the science and tools of environmental health, and give students hands-on skills to explore directly exposure issues experienced by local, primarily low-income communities through fieldwork and studies.

Students will be introduced to the tools of toxicology, epidemiology and risk assessment as applied to specific environmental issues such as air and water quality and chemical contamination, and the impact on human health of environmental contamination with toxic, carcinogenic, or pathogenic agents. Six credits (Yields six semester-hour credits towards rate of work and graduation)


  • Environmental studies elective: Natural Sciences Group
  • HSSP elective: Focal Area A Biological Dimensions of Health and Illness
  • SN School of Science distribution requirement

One specific focus of study will be on understanding environmental exposure issues in residential settings, and in particular within low income communities. Students will learn the potential environmental health effects of particulate exposures (fine, ultrafine, etc.) nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, lead, hormone disruptors, mold and aldehydes.

In addition they will be trained on current equipment, sampling techniques and sampling strategies used to characterize potential residential hazards. They will learn how to use indoor air monitoring equipment and x-ray fluorescence, analyze lead in paint, conduct surface and air sampling for mold, collect heavy metal samples and learn related sampling handling procedures and documentation requirements, i.e. maintaining field sampling records and chain of custody.

This will prepare them for their field practicum in which they can put this knowledge and training into direct use to assist the Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Public Health, other partner agency or organization for this aspect of the JBS work.

Students will also use their environmental health monitoring and assessment and other tools in a supervised setting in the field along with community partners or government agencies. Student fieldwork might involve calibrating equipment, planning inspections, accompanying inspectors, taking measurements, participating in evaluation of worker protection at remediation sites, analyzing sampling data, participating in the regulatory enforcement process or other tasks.

Potential partners include environmental health specialists from the Boston Public Health Commission, Department of Public Health, Department of Environmental Protection, a municipal Public Health department or residential lead inspectors.

With these partners, students may address a range of possible community hazards such as lead, mold, formaldehyde, unknown chemicals smell reports, radon, carbon monoxide, infectious diseases, diesel exhaust and cat or other allergens.

Appropriate partnership arrangements are being developed with these agencies based on their needs in summer 2010.