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Student Research

Student Research


As public health plays an increasingly critical role in today’s society, the innovative research and inspiring achievements of the UIC School of Public Health have become part of local, national and international conversation.

Through our faculty, students and alumni, the UIC SPH presence extends far beyond its role as an academic environment. Along with the noteworthy programs listed below, ongoing projects cover subjects such as violence prevention, public health and aging, environmental chemistry, airplane manufacturing, workers and brain tumors, occupational injuries in worker populations, hospital systems, and mental health.


Cheers Team

More than 75 research staff, many of them UIC students, interviewed thousands of Chicagoans and collected water samples from local waterways to gather data for CHEERS, the Chicago Health, Environmental Exposure and Recreation Study, funded by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.  The research took place during the summers of 2007-2009.

CHEERS is the first study in the U.S. to evaluate health and environmental factors associated with recreational activities on the water, such as canoeing, kayaking, fishing, rowing and boating. Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, Dr. Samuel Dorevitch, directed this research. The study was conducted in order to inform local water management policy. The results of the study identified a risk of a 14 cases of gastrointestinal illness attributable to water recreation, per 1,000 people who use the local waters.

Ember Vannoy, a Master of Science student in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, joined the CHEERS research team in 2008. She fulfilled many roles in the study including water sampler, manager and data analyst. She is currently working with Dr. Dorevitch on a study evaluating rapid measures of water quality.

“I had no intention of becoming an EOHS student when I joined the CHEERS team in 2008; my interest in the MS program developed over the next 2 years as I interacted with SPH professors and became familiar with their research. As a student I appreciate the level of commitment demonstrated by my professors and fellow classmates.” - Ember Vannoy, MS in EOHS Candidate


Child drawing mom with crayons

UIC SPH Professor of Community Health Sciences, Arden Handler, began working on behalf of women's and children's health during her college years at Cornell University, where she fought for reproductive rights and health care for low-income families. Today, Dr. Handler focuses her research and advocacy on preventing infant mortality and adverse pregnancy outcomes. She does this by evaluating interventions designed to help women gain access to and use high quality prenatal care before and between pregnancies. Over the years, she has worked with multiple partners in a variety of communities where rates of adverse pregnancy outcomes are very high. Handler is also UIC’s principal investigator for The National Children’s Study, which will examine the relationship between health and environmental exposures, even before birth, for nearly 100,000 U.S. children and their families.

Kathleen Vetter, a PhD student in Community Health Sciences, has had the opportunity to work with Dr. Handler on her maternal and child health research. "Working with Dr. Handler on a couple of her research projects has provided me with some great experiences. For me, having the opportunity to get to know and work with some of Chicago and Illinois’ leading Maternal and Child Health professionals has been invaluable.  And, I’ve always enjoyed that wherever I go - in state or out-of-state - ­ the MCH professionals I’ve met know of Dr. Handler and are awed by her amazing productivity (both quality and quantity) and tireless dedication to improving the lives of women and children in Illinois and around the country." - Kathleen Vetter, PhD in CHS Candidate

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