Epidemics of Injustice

Spring 2021: resistance, rebellion and revolution through public health

This annual course, 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 p.m. CT.

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

How to participate

  • UIC students

    UIC students will be able to enroll next fall for our Spring 2022 course, IPHS 430: Epidemics of Injustice using CRN:  44551.

  • Community members

    Join our email list for notifications on upcoming course meetings.

  • Recommended book list

    Dive in deeper with recommended texts from our guest speakers and SPH’s Collaboratory for Health Justice.

  • Video archive

    Missed a class meeting or want to share it with others?  View videos of each course and access each presentation in PDF form.

View videos of our classes

Protestors march with hands raised and masks on at a protest of George Floyd's murder.
January 14 Lecture
Our first course meeting focuses on "A Historical Overview of Health Inequities and Structural Racism." Featuring Dr. Linda Rae Murray, MPH '80, former president of the American Public Health Association.
Anna Yankelev headshot.
January 21 Action Lab
This week's action lab focuses on facilitated discussions and consensus building, led by Anna Yankelev, MPH '19, strategic planning analyst with the Lake County (IL) Health Department.
Alexis Grant headshot.
January 28 Lecture
Our focus this week is "Social Capital, Privilege and Positionality." Led by Alexis Grant, community engagement fellow at the UIC School of Public Health.
Benjamin Levenson headshot.
February 4 Action Lab
Build your expertise in "Organizing 101 and Coalition Building." Our featured speaker is Benjamin Levenson, deputy director of Justice is Global, which works for an equitable and sustainable global economy.
A Love Fridge community refrigerator in Chicago.
February 11 Lecture
This week's course focuses on mutual aid, led by the staff of Love Fridge Chicago, a mutual aid group grounded in food, working to place community refrigerators across the city.
Susanne Soederberg headshot.
February 18
Join us for an examination of the public health implications of and solutions to evictions. Led by Susanne Soederberg, DPhil, professor of global development studies at Queen's University in Ontario, and Frank G. Avellone, Lawyers' Committee for Better Housing.
Protestors hold signs calling for affordable housing and criticizing high rent.
February 25 Action Lab
Join our panel-led action lab aimed at addressing evictions and modeling housing advocacy in public health practice. Panelists include Jon Wilson, community organizer, Dixon Romeo, Tenants Association Organizer and Tyler Zimmer, University of Chicago.
Arden Handler headshot.
March 4 Action Lab
Arden Handler, DrPH, director of the UIC Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health, leads this week's action lab on "Advocating to Policy Makers."
A meeting in a community garden led by the Chicago Food Action Policy Council.
March 11 Lecture
Join in as we take a look at putting policy into action, led by staff from the Chicago Food Action Policy Council, which works for policies that advance food justice and food sovereignty in Chicago and across the region.
A child sits in a street atop a work of chalk art.
March 18 Action Lab
How can art be used for advocacy? Join an action lab led by Carrie Sandahl, PhD, director of UIC's Program on Disability Art, Culture and Humanities.
Michael Cailas headshot.
April 8 Action Lab
Learn how to use public health data in an action lab led by Michael Cailas, PhD, an expert in public health geographic information systems at the UIC School of Public Health.
A factory emits smoke from two smokestacks.
April 15 Panel Discussion
Our focus this week is environmental health justice. Panelists to be announced.
Washieka Torres headshot.
April 22 Lecture
This week we take on "Fighting Structural Racism: The Disability Movement." Led by Washieka Torres, a disability rights scholar, activist, and documentarian at the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences.
Camara Jones speaks at a workshop.
April 29 Lecture
Our course series concludes with a focus on social change in practice with Camara Jones, MD, a family physician and epidemiologist whose work focuses on naming, measuring, and addressing the impacts of racism on the health and well-being of the nation.

Course leaders

Alexis Grant headshot.

Alexis Grant is a community engagement fellow and PhD in Community Health Sciences student at the UIC School of Public Health. She is a community-engaged researcher with an emphasis on public health system partnerships, particularly for the purposes of implementing interventions in community settings. She takes an interdisciplinary approach and has experience with qualitative and quantitative analysis, geographic information systems and systematic review.

Washieka Torres headshot.

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 PhD 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.

Course Contact

Collaboratory for Health Justice

Learn more about the Collaboratory