What is Occupational and Environmental Medicine?

What is occupational and environmental medicine?

Occupational and Environmental Medicine encompasses the workup and treatment of exposures to hazards such as chemicals, pollution, and unsafe conditions in the workplace and in communities. Patients are referred to Occ/Env Med physicians with pneumoconioses such as black lung and asbestosis, symptoms caused by exposures to substances such as pesticides and mold, and poisonings from toxicants such as lead and mercury.  ‘Occ Med’ docs and nurses treat patients in workplace clinics, in health departments, or in private practices. We are experts at evaluations for impairment and disability, drug screening, medical surveillance, and travel medicine. Browse the recent interesting cases to get a better idea of the types of patients we see.

How to become a specialist in Occupational and Environmental Medicine:

This is a small specialty within Preventive Medicine. We have our own residency training programs certified under the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Board certification in the specialty comes under the American Board of Preventive Medicine. There are around thirty Occupational/Environmental Medicine (OEM) residencies in the country, listed on the ACGME website, http://www.aoec.org/training.htm.

Most OEM residencies start in the PGY-2 year. Applicants must complete an internship at an ACGME accredited program before starting. During the two years of the occ/env med residency, residents complete course work leading to a Masters degree in Public Health, they attend outpatient clinics in workplace settings, and they complete a research project.


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