Students identify key environmental health needs in Northampton County on Virginia's Eastern Shore and propose practical low-cost solutions that are executable at either the individual household or community level. This initiative will likely focus on Potable Water Quality in rural areas of the county but could — based on student research and partner preferences — focus on Water Quality in areas prone to flooding or inadequate wastewater treatment facilities for local residences. Potential partners include: The Rural Health Initiative, Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission, VIMS, and the Eastern Shore Health District.

Students first study methods for needs assessment and the principles of environmental health. They will gain foundational skills and knowledge through local experiences. During this formative time, the initiative facilitator will work with student leaders to confirm local partners and select the exact target for the initiative.

Students:

  • State the key areas of environmental health.
  • Describe normal approaches to addressing needs in the various areas of environmental health.
  • State the goals and processes of needs assessment.
  • Define the chemical, physical and biological factors affecting human health with an emphasis in the application of controls to prevent disease and maximize environmental quality.
  • State the official roles of the principal agencies and branches of government and go over trending/major Federal and State level Environmental Statutes, where applicable, that affect human health and protect the environment.
  • State the control procedures utilized to protect public health and maintain environmental quality — water quality testing, air pollution, green energy, etc.
  • Define and distinguish between risk assessment, risk communication and risk management and the uses of each as they all apply to future patients and hospital settings.
  • Define the on-scene environmental health needs in objective terms.
  • Propose defensible solutions to challenges discovered; or, if no significant need is discovered, develop a defensible solution to a documented environmental health challenge.
  • Develop a step-wise action plan to address any demonstrated environmental health challenge.

For more information, contact Service Learning.