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Our History

The History of the Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences

The origin of the Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences began about 70 years ago with Dr. Robert A.Kehoe’s research in the late 1920s under the aegis of the General Motors Research Corporation, on the newly developed industrial compounds, tetraethyl lead and Freon. Dr. Kehoe was a pioneer in Occupational and Environmental Medicine in two ways: he was the first to assemble a multidisciplinary team of physicians, analytical chemists, toxicologists, industrial hygienists, and engineers to study occupational and environmental health problems and was the first to appreciate the linkage between pollution in the workplace and the environment.

Kettering lab north wingThe first building of the Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences’s present complex was completed in December, 1930 and named the Kettering Laboratory of Applied Physiology to honor the head of the General Motors Laboratory, Charles Kettering. It was an independent unit within the University of Cincinnati until 1949 when the second building was completed and the Kettering Laboratory was combined with the Department of Preventive Medicine to form the Department of Preventive Medicine and Industrial Health in the College of Medicine under Dr. Kehoe’s chairmanship. The year before Dr. Kehoe’s retirement in 1965, the third wing of the present complex was dedicated as Robert E. Kehoe Hall and the Department was renamed to the Department of Environmental Health.

Under the next director, Dr. Edward Radford, the Department began its close and sustained linkage with the then newly formed National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, one of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Raymond Suskind was Director from 1969 to 1985 during which time the size of the Department and the range of its activities in environmental health increased to its present scope.

The fourth wing of the Kettering Complex, initiated during Dr. Suskind’s directorship, was completed in 1992. The funding provided by the State of Ohio recognized the dominant role in Environmental Health that the Department plays in the State of Ohio and nationally. This state-of-the-art research building is an important step in the long range plan to modernize the facilities of the Department.

Dr. Roy Albert succeeded Dr. Suskind as Director in 1985. During his stewardship, the Department’s research budget tripled to $15 million annually. Its national ranking moved to the top 10% of comparable departments and it became the largest research department at the University of Cincinnati. During these years, the transition to molecular research began with the recruitment of Drs. Nebert, Loper and Dixon, which stimulated greater integration of activities within the College of Medicine and other components of the University.

Kettering lab additionDr. Marshall Anderson succeeded Dr. Roy Albert as director in 1996. Under his leadership, the research area of Environmental Genetics and Molecular Toxicology has expanded rapidly with an increasing emphasis on the genetic basis for individual susceptibility to toxic agents. The research budget has risen to about $21 million annually. The Department of Environmental Health in collaboration with the Medical Center, has recently expanded its research and teaching efforts in the area of statistical genomics with the creation of a new Center for Genome Information.

In 2020, the department was renamed to the Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences, and the emphasis on integration of activities in the College of Medicine continues to increase. The Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences now has a number of multi-college and multi-departmental centers.


Past Directors

Director NameYears
Edward P. Radford, MD1964-1967
Ernest C Foulkes, PhD1967-1969
Raymond R. Suskind, MD1969-1985
Roy E. Albert, MD1985-1994
Marshall W. Anderson, Ph.D.1996-2003
Robert L. Bornschein, Ph.D.2003-2005
Shuk-mei Ho, Ph.D.2005-2019
Glenn Talaska, Ph.D.2019-2022
George D Leikauf, Ph.D.2022-2022
Current Director
Alex Lentsch, Ph.D. 2022-
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Department of Environmental & Public Health Sciences
Kettering Lab Building
160 Panzeca Way
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0056
Mail Location: 0056

Phone: 513-558-5701