[ skip to content ]

Toggle Mobile Menu

School of Community & Environmental HealthAbout Us

More Information about this image

Student talking with friends at Whitehurst Beach.

Overview Banner


To be a center of excellence in the advancement and the application of knowledge in public health.


To improve public health in the region, the nation, and around the globe through innovative and transdisciplinary, teaching, research, practice, and service.


Equity: We believe in the right to the opportunity for an inclusive participation for a healthy life

Respect: We believe mutual respect and personal trustworthiness

Professional ethics: We believe in collective commitment to principles and values guiding the practice of public health

Inclusiveness: We believe in encompassing all backgrounds and communities

Diversity: We believe in acceptance and respect the uniqueness, recognize our individual differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment.

Human Rights: We believe in progressively improving the enjoyment of all people to the right to health

Be part of the community: We believe in existing to serve and service through transformational efforts to improve overall health

Health Sciences Building

A Message from the Chair

Welcome to the School of Community and Environmental Health at Old Dominion University. Since the school's formation in 1973, we have strived to meet the educational and careers needs of individuals in Hampton Roads and across the world. As our students graduate, they are prepared to take on leadership roles that address challenges affecting health care delivery, administration, policy, research and more. The needs and challenges in healthcare continue to increase, as do the need to have a competent and prepared workforce. In order to continue improving and shaping the role health care and prevention play in wellness, it is pivotal that public health practice be at the center of most disciplines. We offer undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs which lead to careers in public health, health care administration, environmental health and health services research.

The degree major, minor and certificate program offerings within the school are composed of some of the most sought -after skills. These skills come from hours on hands-on, practical learning. Our students travel abroad to help with current world crises, assist local organizations with projects and intern with leaders in the field to get insight as to what part they will play in preventative care. We are proud to say that our students obtain jobs in their field before or immediately following graduation, have high workplace satisfaction and are satisfied with pay and career outlook. Learn more about what the School of Community and Environmental Health have to offer.

Muge Akpinar-Elci, MD, MPH


Our History

Old Dominion University, founded in 1930 as the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary, is located in Norfolk, Virginia, in the center of Hampton Roads, the hub of the world's largest natural harbor. Old Dominion College was granted independence from William and Mary in 1962 and became Old Dominion University in 1969.

From its institution, the School of Community and Environmental Health has had an interesting and diverse organizational history. Our accredited BS in Environmental Health was established in 1971. The first degree in Environmental Health appeared in the 1973 University Undergraduate Catalog, as the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health, housed in the Biology department. This was in the College of Sciences, which became the College of Sciences and Health Professions around 1976.

When the College of Health Sciences was founded in 1986, the first version of the department was formed as 'Community Health Professions', which offered degrees in Environmental Health, Ophthalmic Technology, and Community Health Education. The BS in Health Sciences degree (BSHS) was established in 1985. A Master of Science degree in Community Health was added in 1987.

The department's name was changed in 1987 with the addition of the physical therapy program to 'Community Health Professions and Physical Therapy.' The current designation as the 'School of Community and Environmental Health' occurred around 2002. In 1998, ODU entered into a joint agreement for a Master of Public Health program with Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS), and ODU began offering the MPH in 2002.