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Building Expertise in Environmental Health

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Building Expertise in Environmental Health

Ontario Supporting New Fellowships in Emerging Public Health Field

Ministry of Health

Ontario is supporting new fellowships in environmental health that will help primary care providers deliver better patient care.

Environmental health is an emerging public health field that examines the relationship between the environment and human health. This includes the role of the environment in contributing to serious health conditions that can be disabling and even life threatening, such as environmental sensitivities, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and other chronic, complex disorders. 

The province is providing nearly $560,000 to support two new annual fellowships over three years for a total of six new fellowships. They will allow family medicine graduates to complete an extra year of focused training in environmental health, and will help primary care providers like family doctors offer the right care to assess, diagnose and treat environmentally-linked health issues.

The new fellowships will be offered by the University of Toronto's Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, in collaboration with physicians at the Environmental Health Clinic at Women's College Hospital.

Building expertise in environmental health among primary care providers supports Ontario's Action Plan for Health Care by ensuring that patients get the right care, at the right time, in the right place. It is also part of the government's economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow by focusing on Ontario's greatest strengths --its people and strategic partnerships.

Quick Facts

  • Last week, Ontario fulfilled its commitment to phase out coal-fired power generation, which has been replaced with cleaner, renewable energy sources.
  • Cleaner air lowers the health risks associated with pollution such as asthma and other respiratory diseases.

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“There is a growing recognition that our environment and our health are connected. Through these new fellowships, we can develop greater understanding of the links between health and the environment in order to provide better care to those suffering from complex chronic illnesses.”

Deb Matthews

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“The study of the environment’s effects on human health is an important emerging field of research. Support for investigating environmental impacts on health is emblematic of our government’s commitment to strengthen healthy communities.”

Jim Bradley

Minister of Environment

“These fellowships will be foundational to building the capacity for family physicians to diagnose and treat environmentally-linked health conditions. There are approximately 570,000 people who live with myalgic encephalomyelitis (chronic fatigue syndrome), fibromyalgia, and environmental sensitivities. These conditions have been on the rise in Ontario, and supporting these six fellowships is the beginning for addressing the urgent need for trained physicians with the expertise to treat and recognize the often comorbid, life-long, and debilitating nature of these conditions.”

Adrianna Tetley

Association of Ontario Health Centres

“The Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Association of Ontario is a support organization for those afflicted with environmentally linked illnesses such as myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and environmental sensitivities/multiple chemical sensitivity.The announcement of these new fellowships is wonderful news and a great first step to providing long overdue better patient care to those afflicted with these illnesses.We are very excited with this great news.”

Denise Magi

Vice-President, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Association of Ontario

“The Department of Family and Community Medicine’s new environmental health fellowship is an exciting training opportunity for family physicians interested in the impacts of environmental exposures on health.”

Dr. Lynn Wilson

Professor and Chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto

“The Physicians at the Environmental Health Clinic at Women’s College Hospital are thrilled with the Ministry’s funding of Environmental Health Fellowships. It is a ‘missing element’ in medical education and we are honoured to train more physicians to integrate the environment with other factors to protect personal and public health.”

Dr. Riina Bray, Dr. Kathleen Kerr, Dr. Lynn Marshall and Dr. John Molot

Environmental Health Clinic, Women’s College

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