Division of Environmental Medicine

Welcome to University of Louisville's Division of Environmental Medicine, a division within the UofL Department of Medicine.

Mission Statement

With Louisville as our urban laboratory, the Division of Environmental Medicine researches the relationships between the environment and human health outcomes, and educates the next generation of physicians and decision makers through a lens of multidimensional health. 


What is Environmental Medicine?

Environmental medicine seeks to understand the relationships between characteristics of the natural, social, and personal environments and human health outcomes, and explores how specific environmental characteristics cause or mediate well being, disease, and disease risk.

Environmental medicine researchers uncover how environmental exposures and pathology are related and test interventions involving the environment to improve health at population levels.


What is the Envirome?

The human envirome is the totality of all the environmental conditions that affects us.

Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to a person’s wellbeing and disease risk. Until now, the environmental effects on health have not been studied. There is no framework to understand our environment as a whole (the envirome) or the interactions between the natural, social, and personal domains. To understand how the environment increases or decreases risk for developing heart disease, we must understand the impact the envirome and its specific domains have on health. For more information, visit this article.

The envirome is made up of three nested domains:  Envirome Nested Domain Schematic

  • Natural Environment: everything that is not man-made like the weather, mountains and rivers, and plants and animals.
  • Social Environment: how we organize ourselves into a society and build cities.
  • Personal Environment: the lives we build for ourselves, where we live, what we eat, and whether we choose to exercise or smoke.

The envirome is made up of three inter-related types of environment – the natural, social, and personal domains. Our characteristics come from interactions between our genes and our environments- both our envirome now and past enviromes that shaped our ancestors. The envirome shapes everything about a person, from their mental and physical development to disease risk and life span.

As an affiliated institute within the Division of Environmental Medicine, the Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute works to understand how the human environment affects human health and promotes an understanding of environmental health issues, both locally and globally. Learn more about the Envirome Institute.


Recent Publications