PURPOSE: This elective is intended to familiarize the medical student with the specialty of occupational and environmental medicine. Issues of hazardous exposures in the community setting and in the working population are covered as well as the basic occupational medicine competencies of work restrictions, disability, worker’s compensation and occupational disease and injury evaluation. Assessment of the health effects of environmental toxicant exposure in both children and adults are also included.


By the end of this rotation, students will be able to 1) obtain an extensive occupational and environmental history; 2) discuss occupational and environmental diseases in the differential of a patient’s illness; 3) recognize the interaction between medical and occupational issues in determining work restrictions and disability; 4) become familiar with some medico-legal issues such as FMLA, ADA, social security disability, drug testing, and independent medical evaluations; 5) access the environmental and toxicology literature to assess the health effects of hazardous exposures.


Over the course of this four-week rotation, the student will be engaged in a variety of learning activities.  The activities will take place at UICMC and John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County.  Three-quarters of the time will be committed to outpatient clinical care of workers and exposed patients. Two hours per week consist of the occupational and environmental medicine conference, which includes case presentations, journal club, grand rounds, industrial process talks, occupational-toxicology conference and research presentation, on a rotating basis; students will also participate in toxicology rounds for five hours a week.  Three worksite visits will be arranged. Approximately one-fourth of the time will be spent assisting the Occupational Medicine Consultation Service with in-patient or telephone consults.  Inpatient consults primarily involve acute work-related injuries presenting to Stroger Hospital’s Trauma Unit. Phone consultations include queries from patients, community groups, and public health agencies regarding the health effects of toxicant exposures. The student will write a blog entry to be posted on Dr. Buchanan’s children’s environmental health blog at

ASSESSMENT:  Students receive feedback from attendings with each clinical or consultation case presentation.  A formal final evaluation will be made at the end of the rotation by the attendings and senior resident assigned to the consult service.  Feedback is ongoing.


Program Number: ELEC 627
Location: UI Health/SHCC
Program Director: Dr. Kim Hargis
Program Coordinator:
Pam Czerwinski
Telephone: 312-355-3554
Duration: 4 Weeks
Night Call: Telephone Only
Weekends: Telephone Only
Students Accepted: Min. 1 Max. 2
Housestaff Used as Faculty: Yes
Lectures/Conferences/Faculty Contact: 18
Laboratory/Independent Study: 8
Outpatient: 12
Inpatient: 4
Total Hours /Week: 40

Reporting Instructions:

Report to University Health Services at 835 S. Wolcott Suite E-144 at 9:00 AM on the first day of rotation.

Updated: 08/18/21