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School of Community & Environmental HealthAbout Us

Chair's message

Welcome to the School of Community and Environmental Health, where you can study environmental health, public health, and allied health sciences. Our students embark on a fascinating, multi-disciplinary, and impactful career choice. Most environmental and public health professionals will tell you that the positive impact you can have on entire communities and populations is one of the best rewards of working in the environmental and public health profession. We do not have to look far to find countless examples of this positive impact, whether we look at the recent COVID-19 pandemic, improvements in childhood nutrition, reductions in smoking, or improved air quality through reductions in criteria air pollutant concentrations. Throughout history, environmental and public health interventions have saved countless lives including such notable successes as the eradication of smallpox, significant reductions in disease by chlorinating drinking water, and safer workplaces. However, many challenges still need to be addressed including alcoholism, the opioid epidemic, gun violence, war and conflict, and future pandemics. All of these pressing issues significantly impact millions of people daily and it is up to the modern environmental and public health professional to utilize their intellect, training, and energy to work diligently for the next success. People are counting on public health and the need cannot be overstated. From a professional perspective, this is a very satisfying and meaningful endeavor, as Benjamin Franklin once said, "The noblest question in the world is: What good may I do in it?". And as the famous sociologist Margaret Mead said, "Don't ever doubt that the efforts of a small group of concerned citizens can change the world: Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." Insightful comments that summarize the goal and drive behind the hard work to become an effective environmental and public health professional. Welcome to the profession!!

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To be a center of excellence in the advancement and the application of knowledge in public health.


To improve public health in the region, the nation, and around the globe through innovative and transdisciplinary, teaching, research, practice, and service.


Equity: We believe in the right to the opportunity for an inclusive participation for a healthy life

Respect: We believe mutual respect and personal trustworthiness

Professional ethics: We believe in collective commitment to principles and values guiding the practice of public health

Inclusiveness: We believe in encompassing all backgrounds and communities

Diversity: We believe in acceptance and respect the uniqueness, recognize our individual differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment.

Human Rights: We believe in progressively improving the enjoyment of all people to the right to health

Be part of the community: We believe in existing to serve and service through transformational efforts to improve overall health

Health Sciences Building

Our History

Old Dominion University, founded in 1930 as the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary, is located in Norfolk, Virginia, in the center of Hampton Roads, the hub of the world's largest natural harbor. Old Dominion College was granted independence from William and Mary in 1962 and became Old Dominion University in 1969.

From its institution, the School of Community and Environmental Health has had an interesting and diverse organizational history. Our accredited BS in Environmental Health was established in 1971. The first degree in Environmental Health appeared in the 1973 University Undergraduate Catalog, as the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health, housed in the Biology department. This was in the College of Sciences, which became the College of Sciences and Health Professions around 1976.

When the College of Health Sciences was founded in 1986, the first version of the department was formed as 'Community Health Professions', which offered degrees in Environmental Health, Ophthalmic Technology, and Community Health Education. The BS in Health Sciences degree (BSHS) was established in 1985. A Master of Science degree in Community Health was added in 1987.

The department's name was changed in 1987 with the addition of the physical therapy program to 'Community Health Professions and Physical Therapy.' The current designation as the 'School of Community and Environmental Health' occurred around 2002. In 1998, ODU entered into a joint agreement for a Master of Public Health program with Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS), and ODU began offering the MPH in 2002.

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Experience Guaranteed

Enhance your college career by gaining relevant experience with the skills and knowledge needed for your future career. Discover our experiential learning opportunities.

First Fridays

Get an inside look into your major of interest when you speak to professors and current students at our monthly First Friday events.

Spring Open Houses

Explore our beautiful campus and its community! Join us for our Spring Open House events in February and March.