UNT Health Science Center names new School of Public Health Environmental & Occupational Health Chair

December 12, 2008

The UNT Health Science Center’s School of Public Health has named David A. Sterling, PhD, CIH, as professor and chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health.

Dr. Sterling joins UNTHSC from Saint Louis University’s (SLU) School of Public Health, where he most recently served seven years as professor and director of the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health, Department of Community Health, and as associate professor to the school’s Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Occupational Medicine.  Dr. Sterling’s career with SLU spanned 15 years.

One of Dr. Sterling’s most noted research projects involves a fivefive-year study on the mining town of La Oroya, Peru, and the Mantaro River Valley, where severe environmental contamination from the mining industry (lead, copper, zinc, silver, and gold) has been documented. Beginning in 2004, Dr. Sterling and a team of physicians, healthcare workers, and SLU faculty and students took part in what has been called one of the most comprehensive studies of La Oroya, where a metal smelter has been in almost continuous operation since 1922.

Dr. Sterling is also currently serving as principal investigator or co-investigator on other research studies involving investigations on asbestos-exposed workers; increased awareness of of the need for the need for evidence-based decision making in environmental health in Central Peru; Parkinson’s disease research and the epidemiology of Parkinsonism in welders; asthma research in American cities, and the effects of traffic-related exposure in asthma; air pollution and health; and a NICHD-funded  National Children’s Study following the effects of environmental exposures on the health of children over a period from birth to age 16.

In addition to his numerous professional publications, Dr. Sterling has served as committee co-chair and member of the Board of Directors of the St. Louis Regional Asthma Consortium, and as chair and director of Activities of the American Industrial Hygiene Association, and as peer-reviewer for a number of professional environmental and occupational journals. 

He received his PhD in environmental health from the University of Texas – School of Public Health, Houston, and during his career has been awarded a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Traineeship, the University of Cincinnati Graduate Scholarship, and the University of Cincinnati Marathon Oil Fellowship.

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