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Public Health Practice

The Division of Public Health Practice strengthens population and community health by advancing public health practice. Our central focus is working in equitable partnership with public health entities so that they will ultimately better serve their constituencies.


Our vision is to improve population health by conducting public health practice-based research, engaging in public health workforce development and infusing public health education throughout the Feinberg School of Medicine.”

Michael Fagen, PhD, MPH

Michael Fagen, PhD, MPH

What We Do


Our educational activities focus in two areas.

Workforce Development

The division supports the Public Health Bootcamp, an intensive five-day training program that aims to improve the quality and effectiveness of HIV prevention and care services in metropolitan Chicago by training HIV/AIDS organizational leaders in core concepts of public health science, theory and practice. We co-develop and conduct training and co-learning activities with public health entities.

The division implements the Community Scholars Program, low-cost workshops offered throughout the year, covering a range of public health topics. The primary aim of this program is to provide capacity-building support to public health organizations. Participants gain knowledge, skills, and resources that nurture their professional development and help their organizations flourish.

Educational Infusion

The division partners with the Program in Public Health to bring public health education into other Feinberg education programs. One example is the new DPT/MPH Program, which integrates human movement sciences and public health to train population-health-oriented physical therapists.


Our research activities focus on public health practice relevance. Through equitable partnerships, we collaborate with public health entities on investigations that prioritize their research questions. For example, at their request, we recently evaluated the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago’s Healthy Chicago 2.0 Seed Grant Request for Proposals (RFP) process. Our evaluation findings were used to strengthen this year’s RFP process. We anticipate further growth in our research activities, with a likely emphasis on public health practice-related dissemination and implementation.

Meet Our Team

Becker, Adam B

Dr. Becker has extensive training and experience in the practice of Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) and has written a number of book chapters and articles on this approach to examining and addressing public health problems. He has applied this methodology to examine and address the impact of stressful community conditions on the health of women raising children, youth violence prevention, and the impact of the social and physical environment on physical activity. In his role as executive director of the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children, he is currently exploring the role that social determinants of health play in children's nutrition and physical activity opportunities and behaviors.

Feinglass, Joseph M

Joe Feinglass, PhD is a Research Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics. Dr. Feinglass is a health services researcher with a degree in Public Policy Analysis. He has over 25 years of experience in health policy, quality improvement, health disparities, medical informatics, patient safety, and social epidemiology research with over 200 peer reviewed publications.

Morhardt, Darby J

Darby Morhardt, PhD, LCSW is Associate Professor in the Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease and Department of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She directs the Mesulam Center’s Outreach, Recruitment and Education Core, the Miller Family Quality of Life Enrichment Programs, in addition to clinical social work services for the Northwestern Medicine Neurobehavior and Memory Clinic. The focus of Dr. Morhardt’s work has been on the impact of cognitive impairment on the individual, family and their social networks. Areas of clinical research include the experience of families living with dementia; the process of tailoring care to specific needs and symptoms; and the development and evaluation of quality-of-life enrichment programs, support groups and other therapeutic interventions. These interventions include the award-winning Buddy Program, a unique experience that pairs persons with dementia as mentors to first year medical students and is offered in other universities through the United States and Italy. Dr. Morhardt is responsible for organizing the Mesulam Center’s community engagement to increase dementia education, awareness, research participation and quality of life enhancing programs throughout Chicago especially in underrepresented groups. She is a leader in the Illinois Cognitive Resources Network, she has been involved in coordinating efforts of dementia friendly communities, particularly the collaborative initiative to position the Carter G Woodson library on Chicago’s far south side as the city’s first dementia friendly library. Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease | Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine | 300 E Superior, Tarry Building, 8-719 | Chicago, IL 60611 | 312-908-9432 | |

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Contact Us

Public Health Practice

680 N. Lake Shore Dr.
Suite 1400
Chicago, IL 60611   (Map it)

Phone: 312-503-4037

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