We study the impact of our surroundings, both natural and built, on health.
The field of environmental and occupational health covers everything from the air we breathe and the water we drink to the injuries and mental health challenges we may face at work. We strive to improve health by promoting practices and policies that reduce harmful exposures and protect vulnerable populations. From improving worker health and safety, to promoting healthy housing, to creating new tools to monitor air and water quality, we work to make our homes, our workplaces, and our communities healthier places for all.
A graduate degree in environmental & occupational health prepares you to think critically about complex challenges and to design solutions that improve public health. When you leave one of our programs, you’ll be ready to address emerging environmental and workplace issues in a way that builds on science while prioritizing real people. Our graduates work in environmental health and safety, emergency management, environmental epidemiology, and workplace safety and health in private, nonprofit, and government organizations.
At each step of her journey, Hansen had the right mentor for her analytical approach – Courtney Welton-Mitchell, PhD, clinical assistant professor at the Colorado School of Public Health.
“She's definitely inspired me to no end,” Hansen says of Welton-Mitchell.
Welton-Mitchell helped Hansen lay out what a career after graduation would also look like. And she ultimately reminded Hansen that if the MPH path called to her on a personal level, she should go for it.
“She's been invaluable to me getting to where I am now,” Hansen says of Welton-Mitchell.
Of Welton-Mitchell’s guidance, Hansen says “she gave me a different, more positive perspective on research in social sciences and reaffirmed my interests in mental health aspects of disasters on a global scale, and sparked an additional interest in protection issues within the humanitarian field.”
Hansen also credits Debra Kreisberg, PhD, for her success. In addition to being an advisor, Kreisberg connected her with her practicum at CDPHE after the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The focus of Hansen’s studies were so unique that upon graduation in December of 2020, she became the first Colorado School of Public Health graduate with an MPH concentration in Population Mental Health and Wellbeing, in addition to her certificates in Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response and Global Public Health.
As for what comes next, Hansen plans to keep her career options open – while keeping a focus on her passions of domestic and international public health emergency management and mental health.
Or put another way, joking and laughing she adds, “I’m told I'm going to save the world with Excel spreadsheets.”
Currently, she’s consulting at the Natural Hazards Center in Boulder on a CDC and National Science Foundation funded project, while also assisting with the development of a Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Minimum Support Package for the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) – with the WHO and UNICEF.
Asked what will define career success for her in a changing public health field still transforming from COVID-19, Hansen said, “Still loving what I do, being continuously challenged and given room to grow personally and professionally.”
This story originally appeared in CU Anschutz Today