Edrisa Sanyang, PhD



Volunteer firefighter and then-graduate student, Ashley Adams and Dr. Sanyang.


 Assistant Professor and Program Director of Environmental and Occupational Health Science at Western Kentucky University, Dr. Edrisa Sanyang is conducting research alongside his team on workplace exposures, specific to firefighters in northwest Kentucky. Dr. Sanyang decided to pursue a career in environmental health sciences after witnessing the impact of unique environmental health concerns affecting residents in his home country of The Gambia. Throughout his career, he remains passionate about public health and stresses that in order to understand disease, we must understand the role of the environment and occupation of workers as well. His research interests range from workplace exposure, workplace violence against black youths, road traffic safety in low- middle-income countries like The Gambia, as well as in the United States.



Firefighter training room that will be assessed for workplace exposures.

 Dr. Sanyang’s current project is a mixed methods research study about firefighters and workplace exposure to biological hazards. Sanyang and his research team have met with fire chiefs in the 70 fire stations in the Northwestern Kentucky region, including career and volunteer fire stations, making his work highly relevant to Kentucky communities. Dr. Sanyang recently received funding, and his pilot testing work will begin in August using survey assessment questions about both career and volunteer firefighters’ experience with exposures to biologic agents in the workplace. Dr. Sanyang would like to thank all of the fire departments that have participated in this study and the emergency response team in northwestern Kentucky for their assistance in carrying out this work. Ideally, this research will help to strengthen the relationships between emergency response teams and firefighters as well as find ways to mitigate the disease risk that firefighters face in their place of work.