Public Health Influencer


JUNE 13 -17, 2022


The Public Health Influencer Summer Institute is a free summer enrichment program open to high school students who are interested in public health, environmental health, chronic and infectious disease prevention, epidemiology, or social/environmental justice.

Eligibility Requirement:

  • Accepting rising 10, 11, and 12th graders. 
  • Be a U.S. Citizen, a permanent resident to attend


Valuable Hands-on Experience

Students will learn about public health and its impact on communities.  Students will participate in hands-on experiences and learn from health, healthcare, and environmental health experts.

Explore Public Health in Alabama

Students will participate in immersive field experiences with multiple site visits throughout central Alabama including Birmingham and Montgomery.  Travel to sites provided through the institute.


The program is free for interested students and will feature a variety of speakers, presenters, and activities.  Up to 25 students will be accepted into the program, so please apply early! A $250 stipend will be awarded to participating students.  The program will run from 9am until 5pm each day, so students will be responsible for their own transportation to and from the UAB School of Public Health.  Breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be provided each day. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and Other Information for Students Confirmed attend PSH

What is the Dress Code:  Casual Attire

  • You may wear blue jeans, modest-length shorts, sleeveless tops, dresses, skirts, jackets, and sweaters.
  • You may not wear mid-drift tops, muscle shirts with gaping armholes, super-short shorts, or garments with offensive images or words, neither hats nor sunglasses may be worn indoors.

Should I bring a laptop?

  • No, we will provide you with the needed materials and electronics.

How will I receive my stipend?

  • Stipends are distributed via mail.  We will provide you with paperwork to complete prior to starting the summer program.  Once this information is processed, you will receive a payment 3-5 following the conclusion of program. 

Contact Us

If you have questions, or concerns, feel free to contact Paulisha Holt, 205-934-7178,,

UAB Deep South Center for Occupational Health  & Safety

1665 University Blvd, RPHB 520A

Birmingham, AL 35294-0022

Deep South ERC @ MSHA

Andrew Perkins, CIH was awarded the Hugh Talbert Merit Award for his many years of dedication, as a long-standing committee member of the Southeast Mine Safety & Health Conference.





Several IH students were recipients of the Deep South Center Scholarship:

    • Jasna M. Rossner- Williams
    • Donglee Yang
    • Kelvin Duy Dam

ASSP Annual Awards Luncheon:

At the AL Chapter of ASSP annual awards luncheon on May 14, 2021, several of our UAB and Auburn University students won scholarships along with Allyn Holladay, the Deep South Center Deputy Director and Continuing Education Director, who won the SPY award for academics. Congratulations!

Faculty Achievements 2021

2021 Ergonomics Best Paper Award by the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors:

Mehdizadeh A, Vinel A, Hu Q, Schall Jr MC, Gallagher S, Sesek RF. (2020). Job rotation and work-related musculoskeletal disorders: a fatigue failure perspective. Ergonomics. 63(4), 461-476. doi: 10.1080/00140139.2020.1717644

Recent Publications: 2021

  • J. G. Balanay, J. Oh. 2021. Adsorption Characteristics of Activated Carbon Fibers in Respirator Cartridges for Toluene. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health. 18(16), 8505
  • R. Thaper, B. Fagen, J. Oh. 2021. Decontamination of Respirators Amid Shortages due to SARS-CoV-2. Photochem Photobiol Sci. 20(7), 955-965
  • R. Thaper, J. Oh, R. Sesek. 2021. Performance of Smart Device Noise Measurement Applications: A Literature Review. Prof. Safety. 66(06): 38-46. 
  • M. C. M. Tsou, S. C. C. Lung, Y. S. Shen, C. H. Liu, Y. H. Hsieh, N. Chen, J. S. Hwang. 2021. A community-based study on associations between PM2. 5 and PM1 exposure and heart rate variability using wearable low-cost sensing devices. Environmental Pollution, 277, 116761.
  • L. Locke, O. Dada, J. C. Shedd. 2021. Aerosol Transmission of Infectious Disease and the Efficacy of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): A Systematic Review. J Occup Environ Med. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000002366.
  • M. Summers, J. Oh, C. T. Lungu. 2021. Determination of Activated Carbon Fiber Adsorption Capacity for Several Common Organic Vapors: Applications for Respiratory Protection. In revision. 
  • Bardhan, C.T. Lungu. 2021. Investigating Low Dose Ionizing Radiation Exposure and Health Risk among a University Hospital Radiation Employees. Safety. In review.
  • Coker J, Chen H, Schall Jr MC, Gallagher S, Zabala M. (2021). EMG and Joint Angle-Based Machine Learning to Predict Future Joint Angles at the Knee. Sensors. 21(11), 3622.  doi: 10.3390/s21113622
  • Schall Jr MC, *Zhang X, Chen H, Gallagher S, Fethke N. (2021). Comparing Upper Arm and Trunk Kinematics between Manufacturing Workers Performing Predominantly Cyclic and Non-cyclic Work Tasks. Applied Ergonomics. 93, 103356. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2021.103356


Disparities in Occupational Health Webinar

The Deep South Center ERC was honored to host Dr. Zeke McKinney on October 1, 2021, to speak on Disparities in Occupational Health.  Dr. McKinney is the Program Director for HealthPartners Institute where he holds an Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residency, and he is an Affiliate Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. 

BOA Member Ellen Hahn, PhD Presentation

Citizen Science and Policy Development to Reduce Environmental Exposures and Foster Environmental Justice

Monday, June 14 from 1245 – 1345 pm

Dr. Ellen Hahn is an environmental health nurse researcher from the University of Kentucky College of Nursing. Her work on tobacco control changed policy so that cigarettes, cigar, and vaping use was banned in restaurants, bars, and other public venues in Kentucky. At the time, it was the largest tobacco-producing state in the country. While she still focuses on tobacco control, she is now researching the effects of radon. Dr. Hahn is on the OHN advisory board for the Deep South Center for OHS, is the OHN Director for the Central Appalachian ERC, and will be speaking next week via ZOOM at the UAB SON PhD Program Intensive.


DSC @ AIHce 2021

Faculty Presenting: Monday, May 26

Research Roundup Ergonomics ~ 10:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m. The Shoulder Tool: A New Risk Assessment Tool for Shoulder MSDs. Sean Gallagher, Auburn University

Research Roundup Sampling and Analysis 2:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m. Thermal Properties of Buckypaper Sorbent used in Newly Developed Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Sampler. Claudiu Lungu, University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Graduate Students Presenting: Tuesday, May 25

 UAB IH Student on Zoom Presentation for AIHce

Connecting Students and Career Professionals, Part 1 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Moderator: Jacob Shedd, University of Alabama at Birmingham. Presenters: Alessandra Pratt, University of Iowa; David McMahan, University of Alabama at Birmingham; Vishal Nathu, University of Cincinnati.

UAB Doctoral Student Research Presentations:  10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Moderator: David McMahan, University of Alabama at Birmingham. Presenters: Jacob Shedd; Margaret Summers; Nathan Chen, University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Posters Presentations

Mon, May 24: 3:15 PM  – 4:15 PM

Transmission of Hand-Arm Vibration (HAV) and Vascular Disorder of Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS): Laboratory Simulation of Grass Trimmer Operations, Nathan Chen

Transmission of Hand-Arm Vibration (HAV) during Backpack Blower Operations, Chris Hughes, MPH

Backpack Blower Noise Exposure Assessment: A Laboratory Simulation, David McMahan

Development of a Fit Matching App: Prioritizing Gap Measurement Locations between Safety Eyewear and the Wearer’ Face, Erin Lindsey

Noise Exposure during Laboratory Simulation of Grass-Trimmer Operations, Andrew Spivey

Alumni Presenting

Monday, May 24

Effect of Extended Use/Reuse of Masks and Filtering Facepiece Respirators on Fit and Filtration Efficiency, 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Presenter and Moderator: Evan Floyd, University of Oklahoma Health

Tuesday, May 25

Research Roundup Big Data 8:30 a.m.–9:00 a.m. Comparison Between OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool App and WBGT Monitor to Assess Heat Stress Risk in Agriculture. Jo Anne Balanay, East Carolina University.

Wednesday, May 26

Sampling for SARS-CoV-2 and Deactivation of Aerosol Via 254 nm UVC 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Moderator: Evan Floyd, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Presenters: Evan Floyd; K. A. N. Aithinne, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Respirator Fit Testing With Controlled Negative Pressure 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Presenters: Stephanie Lynch, OHD, LLLP.

Environmental & Occupational Safety & Health Institute – Confirmation

EOSH Confirmation
Please confirm your acceptance for attending the Environmental Occupational Safety & Health Institute
Will you need accommodations?
Tshirt size
Do we have permission to use your photo in marketing materials to promote the EOSH?

This form is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


DSC Blog, Food Truck Safety

Evaluation of Aldehydes, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, and PM2.5 Levels in Food Trucks

A Pilot Study

Holden Phillips, MPH and Jonghwa Oh, PhD

Background: The food truck industry has rapidly expanded in the United States and kitchen environments can contain harmful contaminants from cooking emissions. The objective of this study was to examine the levels of aldehydes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 generated from cooking process in food trucks.

Findings: Formaldehyde was the only aldehyde detected in all samples with a concentration range of 7.16 to 53.68 μg/m3. No PAHs were detected above the limit of quantification. Average PM 2.5 concentrations ranged from 0.65 to 7.03 mg/m3. Food Trucks 1 and 2 have an average exhaust flow rate of 211 and 215 L/s per linear meter of hood, respectively.

Methods: Area sampling was performed twice at two participating food trucks during work shifts. Nine aldehydes and eighteen PAHs were analyzed according to the relevant standard methods while PM 2.5 was measured with a real-time monitor. Ventilation performance of the food truck exhaust hoods was also investigated using a thermal anemometer.

Conclusions/Application to practice: Overall, Food Truck 2 had consistently higher levels of aldehydes and PM 2.5 with comparable ventilation performance as Food Truck 1. The higher exposure levels of Food Truck 2 could possibly be attributed to a larger volume of food orders and the heavy duty cooking equipment with an exhaust flow rate below the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommendations. Although more investigations need to be performed, the findings could be used to raise awareness of food truck workers and health practitioners to reduce potential exposure risks.

Applying Research to Occupational Health Practice

The food truck industry in the United States has rapidly expanded in the past few years. Food truck environments are unique workplaces where workers use diverse thermal cooking appliances in a very limited space. In this pilot study, we examined the levels of contaminants generated through the cooking process within food trucks, including PM 2.5, aldehydes, and PAHs. In addition, the performance of the ventilation system of food trucks was also investigated. Our findings suggest potential exposure to formaldehyde and PM 2.5 with inadequate ventilation especially in a busier food truck, that is, higher emission and lower exhaust flow rate. Although more investigations need to be performed, the findings could be used to raise awareness of food truck workers and health practitioners to reduce potential risks of such exposures. Relatively simple engineering controls to improve the C&C efficiency of the existing ventilation system such as adding side panels to the hood and decreasing setback of the hood could be implemented wherever applicable.


Holden Phillips, MPH is an industrial hygienist/safety technician at AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. He earned an MPH degree at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) with a focus on industrial hygiene in 2019.

Jonghwa Oh, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at UAB. She earned a PhD in environmental health sciences (industrial hygiene track) from UAB. Her main research area is on improving occupational exposure assessment and control methods.

Author’s Note: This study does not represent the views of the authors’ affiliations and its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Funding: The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was supported in part by The Deep South Center for Occupational Health and Safety (Grant #T42OH008436 from NIOSH).

ORCID iD: Jonghwa Oh

Supplemental Material: Supplemental material for this article is available online.

Click here to view full publication.