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Environmental & Occupational Health

Faculty Profile

  • Derek Shendell, DEnv, MPH, AB

  • Professor

  • Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and Justice

  • CV

Child environmental health; youth/young worker safety and health; personal chemical exposures; asthma; injury; surveillance.

Dr. Derek G. Shendell, D.Env (UCLA 2003), MPH (Yale University 1998), BA (Dartmouth College 1996) is a Professor and Concentration Leader (Environmental Health Sciences), Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and Justice, Rutgers School of Public Health (SPH) and affiliated faculty in the Division of Environmental & Population Health Biosciences of the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute. In addition, he is Principal Investigator/Director of NJ Safe Schools Program. 

Research Interests
Dr. Shendell “bridges” science, education and policy in a multidisciplinary fashion to reduce and/or prevent environmental exposures and health effects. He focuses on community/schools-based research with local participation in planning and execution; educational training (in-person and online/hybrid) and materials, service and technical assistance; and, evidence-based policy recommendations.   Dr. Shendell also, as Director of the NJ Safe Schools Program (, leads injury surveillance for both adolescents/young adult workers on- and off-campus and student-athletes, cosmetology and Right to Know, science-to-policy, regular statewide e-communications, and training for teachers, supervisors and administrators as well as students in secondary career-technical-vocational education concerning safety and health, child labor laws and wage and hour laws.  Dr. Shendell also leads an Interagency Alliance for Young Worker Safety and Health in NJ.

Research Highlights

The NJ Safe Schools Program team, led by Dr. Shendell, has become a national leader—with access to their website-based materials reaching a worldwide  audience consistently over  the last  five  years—in the area of young worker  safety and  health, particularly concerning online injury surveillance and science-based cosmetology safety and health training with evaluation tools to assess immediate impacts on knowledge, awareness  and attitudes  of adolescents and young  adult workers and their  supervisors/teachers in public  secondary or high schools. His doctoral-level research and other projects during years at E.O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and subsequent agency (e.g., State of California survey) and non-profit studies, provided the significant justification for the ongoing use and sustainability/availability of U.S. EPA IAQ Tools for Schools Program, multiple state and local laws and policies around environmental preferable purchasing, and improved mechanical ventilation with proper filtration in public, private and charter K-12 schools. Through UMDNJ/Rutgers and Yale Engineering he  published 1st peer-reviewed paper worldwide to use quantitative measures of estimated exposures to specific genera and species of fungi in house dust—collected from floors in main living areas with peer-reviewed method and of health outcomes, i.e., lung function (spirometry), among older adults with doctor-diagnosed asthma and/or chronic bronchitis (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). This field and laboratory research improved asthma epidemiology and led to other groups in the U.S. and the E.U. to conduct similar analyses for children with asthma using banked dust samples and these advanced lab techniques (qPCR, then next-generation sequencing). His team''''s development of and publication about the "Central California Outdoor Air Quality Flag Program," with a science-based description and initial evaluation data, and conference presentations before it, led to expansion of this voluntary program, with formal EPA and American Lung Association endorsement, throughout not only State of California but also the entire U.S. Indeed, this program was adopted and remains sustainable through EPA and Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification program.  

Select Publications
Please see "papers and publications" page, documenting most work during 2008-present with school-based and community-based sub-categories, at:

Scholarly Activities
Peer-Reviewer for ISEE Annual Conference Abstracts (2002)

Peer-Reviewer for ISEA/ISES Annual Conference Abstracts (2002)

Peer-Reviewer for APHA Annual Conference Abstracts (2002)

Peer-Reviewer for Journals

Member, NJ Public Health Association (2008)

Member, NJ Environmental Health Association (2010)

Member, NJ Cooperative Education Coordinators Association (2010)

Member, NJ Cooperative Education Association (2010)

Member, NJ Association of Designated Persons (School Safety & Health) (2008)

Member, National Environmental Health Association (2006)

Student Councilor on Executive Board, International Society of Exposure Analysis (ISEA) (2001)

Member, International Society of Exposure Analysis (ISEA) (1999)

Faculty Mentor, Association of Asthma Educators (2012)

Member, Association of Asthma Educators (2007)

Co-chair of the Student Involvement Committee American Public Health Association (APHA) and Environment (2003)

Secretary-elect American Public Health Association (APHA) and Environment (2003)

Secretary American Public Health Association (APHA) and Environment (2004)

Newsletter Editor American Public Health Association (APHA) and Environment (2004)

Lead Councilor American Public Health Association (APHA) and Environment (2005)

Environment Section Governing Council Representative American Public Health Association (APHA) and Environment (2006)

Member, American Public Health Association (APHA) and Environment (1996)

Member/Appointee, NJ Child Labor Law Enforcement Advisory Board (2011)

Member/Appointee, NJ Interagency Working Group Environmental Education (K-12) (2008)

Member/Appointee, local Board of Health (Chatham, NJ) (2016)

Member/Appointee, Federal Board of Scientific Councilors-Sustainable and Healthy Communities Subcommittee, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2017)

President’s Award - NJ Environmental Health Association (2017) - The President's Award has served to recognize outstanding public health professionals among both the Association membership and the general public.

Rutgers Leadership Academy - Rutgers University (2017) - The Rutgers Leadership Academy is a two-year program for mid-career faculty and staff who aspire to broadened leadership roles within their units.

Centennial Honor Roll - Yale University School of Public Health (YSPH) (2015) - Centennial Honor Roll for Excellence and Service was established to honor 100 alumni and/or faculty who made outstanding contributions to public health and/or the Yale School of Public Health during the school's first 100 years.

Excellence in Teaching and Mentorship Award - Rutgers School of Public Health (SPH) Student Government Association (2015) - The Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring Award recognizes graduate faculty who have made significant contributions at Rutgers University.

Faculty Member - Delta Omega Honor Society in Public Health, Rutgers SPH (2010) - Delta Omega is intended to not only recognize merit, but also to encourage and further excellence in and devotion to public health work.

Excellence in Teaching and Mentorship Award - UMDNJ SPH (2009) - The Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring Award recognizes graduate faculty who have made significant contributions to graduate education at Rutgers University.

USEPA Children’s Environmental Health Recognition Award - CAFA Initiative (2005) - The Children's Environmental Health Recognition Award is awarded to an individual or group that has demonstrated significant progress, contribution, leadership toward protecting children from environmental health risks in schools, homes, childcare environments, or other places where children live, learn and play.

Interdisciplinary Health Policy Research Fellow - California State University at Fresno (2005) - Recognition for exemplary interdisciplinary health policy research.

Outstanding Performance Award - E.O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (2003) - Significant scientific or technical contribution(s) leading to important progress in an area of research or toward completion of a project.

Emerging Public Health/Environmental Health Leader - CDC/NCEH (2003) - Recognition of an emerging public health/environmental health leader.

Research Training Fellowship - UCLA Center for Environmental Risk Reduction (2000) - Fellowships offered by UCLA institutions to support pre- and/or post-doctoral training.

Wilson Endowment Award - UCLA SPH (1999) - Improving Public Health in S.CA

University Chancellor's Fellowship - University of CA, Los Angeles (UCLA) (1998) - The Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program (CPFP) offers postdoctoral research fellowships and faculty mentoring to outstanding scholars whose research, teaching, and service will contribute to diversity and equal opportunity at the University of California.

STAR Graduate Fellowship - EPA/ORD/NCERQA Health Risk Assessment (1998) - Fellowships have helped educate new academic researchers, government scientists, science teachers and environmental engineers.

Wilbur Downs International Health Student Travel Fellowship - Yale University (1997) - The Fellowship supports graduate and professional Yale students who undertake health-related research primarily in low- and middle-income countries.

Social Media & Websites
New Jersey Safe Schools Program and Partners Paper: