Environmental health pushes for name change

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By Joanna Lavoie

The school of environmental health is taking on a new identity.

The school, created in 1980, has approved a name change to the school of occupational and public health.

Brian Clarence, the school’s director, said the reason for the change is most people don’t understand what the school is about.

“When people see our name they see environmental not health,” said Clarence.  “In fact, we’re a health program with an environmental focus.”

He said because of the misunderstanding, people usually lump the program in with environmental science and studies programs, instead of health.  Clarence believes this has hurt the school’s recruitment efforts.

Ryerson’s environmental health program is unique.  The only program similar to the school’s degree in public health or occupational health and safety is offered at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

Advisory committees have looked into a name change since the school was created.  On Oct. 28 the school’s council approved the change.  The motion was presented to academic council Tuesday night.  It’s expected to go before Ryerson’s board of governors for approval net term.

The name change has garnered faculty and student support.  The school’s five-member student council has decided to endorse the change.  Allyson Withers, a fourth-year student and a member of the council, said most students think the change is a good idea because the current name is misleading.

Second-year student Lee Samadhin agrees.

“It would certainly make it a little bit more clearer for new people in the program.  Some of the first-year people were under the wrong impression,” he said.

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