course ID: 2021_cAPoll

Is Breathing killing us? Tackling Air Pollution using science for policies to protect health

This course is supported by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN)


Ambient air pollution is a leading cause of morbidities and premature death. The course provides basic insights into the measurement, modelling and monitoring of exposure to air pollution, it’s health effects and the overall impact and costs for public health. Clean air policy solutions will be introduced with success stories, “low hanging fruits” and global challenges for the implementation of these policies. Students will explore global examples of policy approaches and strength and limitations in their own countries. Group work of students will draft strategies to adopt at least one clean air policy.


By the end of the course participants will: understand properties and sources of ambient air pollution, its health effects, and the link of these effects with the burden of disease locally, regionally and globally. Students will train and discuss how research can be linked to policy making to improve air quality and public health.


Professional or academic background in public health, environmental health, exposure sciences or policy making in the field of health and the environment (or related fields) are an advantage to follow this inter-disciplinary course.

Pedagogical method:

Preparatory video lecture, plenary lectures, in-class exercises online and offline, group discussions.

Assessment procedure:

Active participation in class; deliverable of an in-class work; students who take the course for credit (1 ECTS) will write a short essay about an assigned topic. Deadline for delivery 31.8.2021

Prof. Nino Kuenzli, MD, PhD

Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) and Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+)

Christoph Hueglin, PhD

Head of ambient air pollution group at Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) and responsible for the operation of the Swiss National Air Pollution Monitoring Network (NABEL)

Meltem Kutlar Joss, MPH and MSc ETH

Head of the platform and database on health effects of ambient air pollution LUDOK at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) Basel; Member of the Swiss Federal Commission of Air Hygiene and WHO working groups.

Lara Milena Luethi

Scientific Officer, Air Pollution Control and Chemicals Division, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN)

Santiago Morales

Coordinator for the Non-Road Mobile Machinery Emission Policies Component in the Climate and Clean Air Program in Latin American Cities Plus (CALAC+) from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Pieropaolo Mudu

statistician/geographer working for WHO-EURO Environment and Health Center in Bonn and WHO Headquarters in Geneva