Dr. Howard Hu

General Information
Position Title: 
Contact Information
Phone Number: 
Email Address: 
dean.dlsph (at) utoronto.ca
Bio Short

Howard Hu, M.D., M.P.H., Sc.D. 
(416) 348-3246

Dr. Hu came to the University of Toronto as the Dalla Lana School of Public Health's second permanent Director and Professor in July of 2012. 

Dr. Hu is a physician-scientist, trained as an internist, occupational and environmental medicine specialist, and epidemiologist.  Previously, Dr. Hu had been Professor of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and Founding Director and PI of the NIEHS/EPA Center for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Research at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Channing Laboratory of the Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts from 1988 to 2006.  Most recently, Dr. Hu was the NSF International Chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Professor of Environmental Health, Epidemiology & Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Schools of Public Health & Medicine from 2006 to 2012.  During his tenure, the Department recruited 14 new faculty, re-built programs, and launched several innovative initiatives in areas such as environmental epigenetics and nutrient-toxicant interactions.  Dr Hu was also the Founding Director and PI of the NIEHS P30 Core Environmental Health Sciences Center at the University of Michigan and served as the Chair of the School-wide steering committee on global health.

In terms of his own scholarly work, since 1990, Dr. Hu has led a multi-institutional and international team of scientists devoted to gaining new insights into the impacts of exposure to potentially toxicants that are of critical importance to public health and medicine.  The team applies multi-disciplinary and novel methods for assessing environmental exposures, genetics/genomics, epigenetics, nutrition, psychosocial factors and clinical measurements in epidemiologic studies of child development and adult chronic disease in populations in the U.S., Mexico, India, China, and elsewhere around the world.  Dr. Hu has published over 240 original papers in the scientific literature and served as the Founding Medical Editor of Environmental Health Perspectives, the official journal of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).  His work has won a number of awards, such as the 1999 NIEHS Progress and Achievement Award, the 2006 Harriett Hardy Award, the 2009 Linus Pauling Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 2011 Award of Excellence from the American Public Health Association. 

Dr. Hu has also served on four fact-finding missions for Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), including a 1987 investigation of the potential toxic impacts of tear gas used in Seoul, South Korea; a 1988 investigation of the use of chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurds; a 1990 investigation of violation of medical neutrality in Burma; and a 2009 investigation of the potential exposures to indigenous peoples to toxic metals from metals mining in Guatemala.  He also served on the PHR Board of Directors, as the Chair of the Research Commission for the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and on various advisory bodies to the Institutes of Medicine, the National Research Council, and the National Institutes for Health.

Dr. Hu was born and raised in New York City by parents who had immigrated from Shanghai and Beijing in the late 1940’s.  He received his Sc.B. from Brown University, his M.D. degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and his M.P.H. and Sc.D. degrees (Epidemiology) from the Harvard School of Public Health.  He trained in internal medicine at Boston City Hospital and in occupational/environmental medicine at Harvard.   Dr. Hu is married to S. Rani Kotha, Senior Strategist in Global Health at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine; they have 2 sons, Krishna and Arjun.