On Sept. 18, the Utah Medical Association presented the University of Utah’s Honors College’s 2014-2015 Air Quality, Health and Society Praxis Lab with its annual Environmental Health Award at the House of Delegates.
Each year, the Honors College offers three Praxis Labs. These labs are yearlong, project-based courses that combine theory with action, and exist to engage students with the community and exercise leadership in a real-world setting.
During the 2014-2015 academic year the Air Quality, Health and Society Praxis Lab explored the many aspects that affect air quality in the state of Utah. During the second semester, students drafted a letter for businesses to sign, stating that air pollution is not an issue that only affects the environment, but one that adversely affects businesses as well. Businesses that signed included CenturyLink, Zions Bank and Overstock.
The Environmental Health Award is bestowed annually to individuals or groups that have performed significant and sustained work towards improving Utah’s environment.
According to the association’s Environmental Health Committee Chair Hugo Rodier, former award recipients include Gov. Gary Herbert, Mayor Ralph Becker and minority caucus manager and state Rep. Patrice M. Arent.
Stephen Trimble, co-professor of the course, said, “The exceptional students in our Air Quality praxis lab grew to care deeply about this public health issue. They wanted to make a difference, they wanted to create change. They pulled off two challenging class projects, demonstrating impressive commitment and collegiality, as well as a sophisticated understanding of politics and policy. I’m delighted that the UMA has honored their good work.”
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