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Radical Public Health

2023 Mission Statement

Radical Public Health (RPH) is an association of students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members that seeks to address the systemic, underlying causes of public health challenges and to consider more radical solutions. RPH:

  • Creates a forum and supportive environment for radical perspectives at UIC, including within the School of Public Health (SPH) community.
  • Enhances collaboration and builds solidarity with SPH faculty, other schools within UIC, community organizations, and movements that share our values.
  • Maintain an egalitarian internal structure that reflects our values.
  • Normalize radical perspectives within learning, research, and practice in the public health community

Membership is open to all students at the UIC School of Public Health and other UIC students, alumni, faculty, and staff, including undergraduates. Membership is also open to like-minded individuals in other schools, organizations, and groups.

RPH provides an open forum for radical and heterodox perspectives in public health work and its associated disciplines. We provide a network of people who support each other in our intellectual, educational, and professional pursuits. We provide a collective of colleagues, mentors, and friends dedicated to social justice and social change.

Upcoming Events and Activities

RPH has monthly discussion meetings and special events that are advertised through the RPH listserv and RPH Facebook group. For more information on upcoming lectures, teach-ins, movie screenings, discussions, and demonstrations, please contact


President - Marjorie Kersten

Treasurer - Kathleen O'Connell

Officer - SOR - Carly O'Connor

Advisor - Dr. Tiffany Ford

Contact Us

Please feel free to contact for questions or to be added to the RPH listserv.

Follow Us on Facebook Heading link

RPH response to the murder of George Floyd

RPH statement on Anti-Asian Racism and Violence

Historical Committee Activity Heading link

During the 2020-2021 academic year, RPH had four committees: Abolition, COVID-19, Outreach, and Epidemics of Injustice. See below for the value statements, priorities, and contributing members for each committee.

Radical Public Health’s Abolition Committee2020-21 Value Statement & PrioritiesCreated 12/21/20Value Statement

The 2020-21 Abolition Committee of Radical Public Health at University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health believe that the public health community can play a key role in shifting away from harmful punitive paradigms towards preventive strategies that abolish the need for carceral institutions, including but not limited to policing, incarceration, and immigrant detention facilities.  We demand a comprehensive, preventive, and equity-driven public health approach including but not limited to disinvestment and decarceration of the currency carceral system and the investment in affordable housing, quality healthcare and education, economic opportunity, transportation, and other social systems.

2020-21 Priorities

  • Primary
    • Passage of CPAC ordinance (Lead: Jordan)
    • Gang Database – replace it? (Jordan)
    • Decarceration efforts in Chicago, CCBF pre-trial detention  (Cheryl)
    • Getting police/SROs out of schools (Emma)
    • Coalition building with CTU, UofC group, UIC Abolition and UIC Good Trouble Coalition group (Emma, Cheryl, Alfred, J.Ro)
    • Peacebook – need more information (Alfred)
  • Secondary
    • To defunding the Chicago Police Department and reinvestment in historically disenfranchised Chicago communities
    • To support alternative policing for Mental Health Crisis
    • TIF spending
    • Community education and advocacy

Contributing members:

  • Jordan Ordonez, PharmD.
  • Emma Meersman
  • Cheryl Conner, MD
  • Alfred Cortez
  • Rich Peyton

UIC Radical Public Health’s COVID-19 Committee
2020-21 Value Statement & Priorities 
Created 12/28/2020Value Statement

The 2020-21 COVID-19 Committee of Radical Public Health at University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health believes that it is critical to highlight, investigate, and rectify the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on resilient communities. These include, but are not limited to: the BIPOC community, people who are incarcerated, seniors, people experiencing unstable housing, individuals with disabilities, etc.  Through hosting speaker events, organizing internal conversations, and supporting existing initiatives, we seek to ensure that public health is equitable during COVID-19 and beyond.

2020-21 Priorities

  • COVID-19 and Food Sovereignty panel
  • Support existing anti-eviction efforts?
  • Promote factual information about COVID-19

Contributing members:

  • Marjorie Kersten
  • Kate Craemer
  • Rich Peyton
  • Cheryl Conner, MD

Radical Public Health’s Epidemics of Injustice Committee  
2020-21 Update 
Created 12/23/20Description

Epidemics of Injustice is a two-credit special topics seminar that was developed through a collaboration between members of Radical Public Health, SPH graduate students, and faculty who were brought together by a sense of urgency to address ongoing threats to democracy, social justice, and the public’s health. The course provides a historical understanding of structural and socioeconomic determinants of health, and points to both modern and historical examples of how we can leverage our work for advocacy. Through guest lecturers and action labs, students also learn from others’ experiences and workshop tangible skills that will prepare them to engage in action and advocacy with others across disciplines and sectors. The course is in its fourth year this upcoming spring 2021 with a theme of Resistance, Rebellion, and Revolution through Public Health. The course now falls under the Collaboratory for Health Justice which allows for increased support and resources. The Epidemics of Injustice committee primarily contributes to the planning stages of the course such as selecting the theme for the course, class topics, contacting speakers, and advertising the course, as well as supporting the instructors in any other way necessary.

2020-2021 Priorities

  • Finalizing speakers for the 2021 course
  • Secure “big” speaker for final class of 2021 course
  • Finalize syllabus for the 2021 course
  • Maintain regular communication with interested community members through newsletter so courses and recordings are accessible
  • Utilize strategies to make engaging action labs over zoom
  • High engagement from students and community members (approx. 50 participants per class)

Contributing members:

  • Anna Yankalev
  • Sarah Love
  • Richard David
  • Kelsey Arnold (TA)
  • Alexis Grant (Instructor)
  • Washieka Torres (Instructor)

The Collaboratory for Health Justice:

  • Jeni Hebert-Beirne
  • Maggie Acosta

UIC Radical Public Health’s Outreach Committee
2020-21 Value Statement & Priorities 
Created 12/29/2020Value Statement

The 2020-21 Outreach Committee of Radical Public Health at University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health believes that all UIC students, staff, faculty and community members are welcome to participate and lead RPH activities. We value intersectional and radical thinking and approaches to addressing public health inequities. Through advertising and hosting informational sessions, social events and deep discussions, we seek to promote an inclusive and diverse group of RPH members.

2020-21 Priorities

  • Host at least one fall and one spring informational session to educate interested members about what RPH values and opportunities to get involved in RPH actions.
  • Host monthly events with the purpose of getting to know each other and forming relationships. These events will be virtual until further notice. Events may include discussions, social hang-outs, game nights, etc.
  • Ensure potential members are connected with current members to answer questions about RPH and welcome them to the group in a timely manner.
  • Regular monitoring of RPH email and social media accounts.

Contributing members:

  • Marjorie Kersten
  • Rich Peyton
  • Alfred Cortez
  • Kate Craemer
  • Cheryl Connors, MD
  • Jordan Ordonez, PharmD.
  • Lauren Sandherr