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Epidemics of Injustice

This annual course, with lectures free and open to the public, prepares public health leaders and community members with the tools to bring about social change and address structural determinants of health.  All course meetings will take place virtually, convening each Thursday during the spring semester (excluding spring break) from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Central time, beginning January 12, 2023.

Epidemics of Injustice is sponsored by the Collaboratory for Health Justice at the UIC School of Public Health.

How to participate Heading link

  • UIC students

    UIC students can enroll through the course catalogue in IPHS 430: Epidemics of Injustice using CRN:  44551.

  • Community members

  • Video archive

    Missed a class?  Watch the full videos of each 2022 course (and our 2021 course archive).

2023 Course Schedule Heading link

  • January 12

    Co-disrupters and co-conspirators in public health with Linda Rae Murray.  Watch the video.

  • January 19

    Class cancelled.

  • January 26

    Critical race theory with David Stovall.  Watch the video.

  • February 2

    Restorative and healing justice with Huu Nguyen.  Watch the video.

  • February 9

    Abortion access and the pink tax with Julie Maslowsky.  Watch the video.

  • February 16

    LGBTQIA+ health and adolescent rights with Nick Metheny.  Watch the video.

  • February 23

    Immigration and refugee health with Alejandra Oliva.  Watch the video.

  • March 2

    Radical statistics and equity in data with Naomi Thyden.  Watch the video.

  • March 9

    Climate change with Elena Grossman.  Watch the video.

  • March 16

    Universal basic income and economic equality with Sheridan Fuller, Clare Mackevicius and Phoebe Lin.  Watch the video.

  • March 30

    Community safety and community organizing with Allie Lichterman

  • April 6

    Abolitionist alternatives to policing and community organizing with Arturo Carrillo

  • April 13

    Informal work with Richard Wallace, Dolores Castañeda and Jennifer Plascencia Lopez.  Learn more about the Greater Lawndale Loteria.

  • April 20

    Unions with Cameron Day

  • April 27

    Keynote speaker

Class speakers Heading link

Linda Rae Murray photo.
Dr. Linda Rae Murray, MPH ’80, has spent her career serving the medically underserved. She has worked in a variety of settings including Medical Director of the federally funded health center, Winfield Moody, which served Cabrini Green Public Housing Project in Chicago, Residency Director for Occupational Medicine at Meharry Medical College and Bureau Chief for the Chicago Department of Health under Mayor Harold Washington. Dr. Murray is the recently retired Chief Medical Officer for the Cook County Department of Public Health. She also practiced as a general internist at Woodlawn Health Center, was an attending physician in the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Cook County Hospital and is an adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health (Occupational & Environmental Health and the Health Policy & Administration departments).  Dr. Murray plays a leadership role in many organizations including the National Association of City and County Health Officers Health Equity and Social Justice Team, the national executive board of American Public Health Association and serves on the board of the Chicago based Health and Medicine Policy Research Group. In 2011, Dr. Murray served as President of the American Public Health Association. She is the Co-Chair for the Urban Health Program Community Advisory Committee at UIC.  Dr. Murray has been a voice for social justice and health care as a basic human right for over forty years. She remains passionate about increasing the number of Black and Latino health professionals.
David Stovall photo.

David Stovall, PhD, is a professor in the departments of Black Studies and Criminology, Law & Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).  His scholarship investigates three areas 1) Critical Race Theory, 2) the relationship between housing and education, and 3) the intersection of race, place and school. In the attempt to bring theory to action, he works with community organizations and schools to address issues of equity, justice and abolishing the school/prison nexus.  His work led him to become a member of the design team for the Greater Lawndale/Little Village School for Social Justice (SOJO), which opened in the Fall of 2005. Furthering his work with communities, students, and teachers, his work manifests itself in his involvement with the Peoples Education Movement, a collection of classroom teachers, community members, students and university professors in Chicago, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area who engage in collaborative community projects centered in creating relevant curriculum.  In addition to his duties and responsibilities as a professor at UIC, he also served as a volunteer social studies teacher at the Greater Lawndale/Little Village School for Social Justice from 2005-2018.

Washieka Torres photo.

Washieka Torres is a disability rights scholar, activist, and documentarian. She is from the South Bronx in New York City and is currently a third-year Ph.D. student in the Disability Studies Program at UIC. She is a documentarian, researcher, and public speaker. Her work explores the intersections of poverty, disability, food insecurity, and food justice. Her current projects focus on disabled cooking methods, meaning, and knowledge translation.

huu nguyễn photo.

huu nguyen, PhD, is a community organizer, cultural worker, social architect, and a Restorative Justice facilitator who was born in central Vietnam, grew up in Salisbury, NC, and politicized in Chicago. Her passion is ideating and co-creating systems that are life-affirming, while simultaneously addressing and reducing harm in the predominant systems. As one among a few handfuls of women in the U.S. who is a contra mestra in Capoeira Angola, a cultural practice that emerged in response to the violence of the slave system in Brazil, she is devoted to sharing its liberatory practice as a pathway towards both individual and collective healing, as well as mutual liberation.

Julie Maslowsky photo.

Julie Maslowsky, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Community Health Sciences. Dr. Maslowsky is a developmental psychologist and population health scientist who studies the development of adolescent health and health behaviors, with a focus on sexual and reproductive health, contraception, and abortion. She applies her findings to develop interventions to promote health and reduce health disparities in adolescence and beyond. She centers reproductive justice in her approach to sexual and reproductive health promotion. Her work includes projects in the United States, Ecuador, and Mexico.

Nick Metheny photo.

Nicholas Metheny, PhD, is a tenure-track assistant professor and early-career nurse-scientist  at University of Miami whose work focuses on preventing and mitigating intimate partner violence (IPV) in women and sexual and gender minorities globally. Dr. Metheny’s research aims to understand and mitigate the harms of IPV in women and sexual and gender minorities, especially HIV risk, while simultaneously working toward building primary prevention interventions that alter the underlying, structural forces that lead to IPV and other gendered forms of violence. Much of his work concentrates on multiply marginalized populations in South Florida and Southern Africa and has been funded by Canadian and US federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health.

Alejandra Oliva photo.

Alejandra Oliva is the Community Engagement Manager at the National Immigrant Justice Center. In her spare time, she is a writer and translator. Her book, Rivermouth: A Chronicle of Language, Faith and Migration is forthcoming in June from Astra House Books.

Elena Grossman photo.

Elena Grossman is a Research Specialist at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Public Health. In this role, she is the Program Director for the Climate and Health Institute at the School of Public Health, an EPA Environmental Education grant, to increase knowledge and awareness on climate change, health, and equity and capacity to address it among future public health professionals, municipal leaders, and community members. She is also serving as the Deputy Director of the Great Lakes Farmworker Health and Well-Being Center and coordinating the Region 5 Pediatric Environmental Health Service Unit’s environmental justice and PFAS work by making environmental health educational opportunities available for healthcare providers and communities.

Arturo Carrillo photo.

Arturo Carrillo, PhD, is a licensed clinical social worker and Director of Health and Violence Prevention at Brighton Park Neighborhood Council. He has led the Collaborative for Community Wellness to research and document the inequity of access to quality mental health services throughout low-income communities throughout the city and advocates for the creation of a city-wide non-police crisis response program grounded in an expanded publicly-operated mental health system in Chicago through the Treatment Not Trauma campaign.

Sheridan Fuller photo.

Sheridan Fuller’s (he/him) research addresses U.S. social infrastructure’s potential to promote families’ well-being while acknowledging its pitfalls. He studies children’s and families’ interactions with income support programs, focusing on the effect of these programs on children’s long-term outcomes. Sheridan’s prior work as a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) informs his research agenda and goal of troubling the narrow foci of income support programs, specifically cash assistance programs, only impacting individual’s employment and earnings. Thus, building on literature that expands our understanding of these programs’ effectiveness while also addressing an important driver of inequity and the consequences of historical and racially linked income support policies.

Phoebe Lin photo.

Phoebe Lin (she/they) thinks about intersectionality and policy feedback, in particular how policies construct target populations and how these constructions unevenly shape distributions of benefits and burdens according to race, gender, sexuality, and class hierarchies which in turn shape political engagement and collective action. As a child of immigrants from Taiwan, she is passionate about the policy experiences of (im)migrant women of color and the ways they engage politically. They hope their work can help build just, inclusive, and caring communities and move toward systems structured around relationality and care rather than extraction.

Claire Mackevicius photo.

Claire Mackevicius (she/her) thinks about how power & policy influence hidden sources of funds especially in educational spaces, and how this entrenches socially constructed hierarchies. In dissertation projects, she studies private money at public K-12 schools (including Parent Teacher Organizations and “Friends Of” groups) and how that can reinforce economic and racial hierarchies. She has ongoing collaborations also focused on consequential distribution decisions, from school boards allocating public resources to large foundations granting private dollars to an evaluation of Evanston’s Guaranteed Income pilot program. Through these projects, Claire aims to uncover how unofficial and often unseen resources reinforce particular agendas and entrench inequities. She also works to surface serious possibilities and pathways toward challenging those inequities. She is proud to be one of the six-person organizing team of the Quant for What? collective planting and nourishing seeds as we dream and build quantitative paradigms for antiracist transformation, bringing power awareness and a humanizing approach to the burgeoning critical quantitative education subfield.

Jeffrey Thomas photo.

Jeffrey Thomas (he/him) thinks about poverty and its downstream effects on both a micro and societal level. He is interested in how policy decisions impact poverty and is passionate about solutions that both reduce poverty and provide agency to those most marginalized. He believes equitable economic rights are as vital as civil rights, and that without them, we subject our own citizens to dehumanization and exploitation. He believes Guaranteed Income can be a tool to address existing economic inequities. and is proud to be involved in the growing number of pilot programs nationwide. Additionally, Jeff is passionate about community building. He is part of Leadership Evanston, a program centered around civic engagement, and coaches youth basketball.

Anna Yankelev photo.

Anna Yankelev is a public health practitioner and organizer passionate about leveraging community organizing to advance health equity. While earning her MPH and MBA at UIC, she served as a facilitator with Radical Public Health where she helped to launch the first few iterations of Epidemics of Injustice, and was actively involved in the public health response to the 2019 GEO Strike. Anna spent several years managing the Lake County Health Department’s strategic planning and partnership efforts, and oversaw all of Lake County’s community mitigation efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, Anna serves as the Director of Strategic Workforce Initiatives at the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, where she organizes the public health workforce ecosystem to assure that we have the robust, resilient, and representative public health workforce our community deserves.

Richard Wallace photo.

Richard Wallace is an artist, organizer, and founder of Equity and Transformation (EAT). His work focuses on organizing black informal workers to confront anti-black racism in the US and abroad. He is also the founder of Roosevelt University’s student chapter of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, the Founder of The Future of Benin Program in West Africa, one of the inaugural AFRE Fellows, Voqal alumni, Soros Justice alumni, and was recently selected as an inaugural Margaret Burroughs Fellow.

Dolores Castañeda photo.

Dolores Castañeda is a long-time Little Village community member and a faith-based organizer.  She is a tireless advocate for homeless people and can be regularly found feeding and clothing the homeless in her community.  She is the co-founder of Padres Angeles, an organization that supports families who have lost their children to gun violence. Dolores is also a fierce advocate for street vendors.  She recently graduated from the Master of Public Health program at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Her capstone project titled “Promoting Healthy Work in the Informal Work Sector: A Health Assessment of Street Vendors in Little Village” explores the health needs and assets of street vendors and identifies effective, sustainable health promotion strategies.

Jennifer Plascencia photo.

Jennifer Plascencia is a graduate research assistant pursuing her Masters in Public Health with a focus on Community Health Sciences. She received her Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience from the University of Michigan in 2019. As a Chicago native, Jennifer recognized the health and social inequities impacting her community, and her interest in learning about public health ensued. In addition to her interest in learning about community health, Jennifer is passionate about supporting youth in pursuing higher education, as level of education has significant implications on health. Jennifer aims to utilize her knowledge in public health to serve her community in bringing health equity and social justice.

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Collaboratory for Health Justice

Learn more about the Collaboratory

Video archive Heading link