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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 previously implemented 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.

The division has supported 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.

Educational Infusion

The division partnered with the Program in Public Health to bring public health education into other Feinberg education programs. One example is the 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, we partnered with Cook County Health to create quality programming that trains physicians who will improve health through the practice of public health and population-based medicine. The Primary Care Training Enhancement Community Prevention Maternal Health grant awarded by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) trains primary care physicians in maternal health and population health to improve maternal health outcomes. This five-year project establishes learning experiences for residents through partnerships and collaborations with community organizations, academic institutions, local health departments working to improve maternal mortality, morbidity, and maternal health disparities.

Faculty Spotlight

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.

Neubauer, Leah C

Dr. Neubauer is a nationally-recognized, award-winning educator. Her primary area of scholarship is focused on curriculum development in the health-related professions and sciences. As a critical educational methodologist and team scientist, she conducts collaborative global research specifically focused on the development, implementation, evaluation and dissemination of education and training. Dr. Neubauer utilizes multidisciplinary, theory-driven approaches to advance teaching, learning, assessment and evaluation practice within varied organizational structures. She teaches graduate-level courses in global health, public health and evaluation.

Nowinski Konchak, Juleigh M

Juleigh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and and Addiction Medicine and Preventive Medicine physician at Cook County Health (CCH). She is Program Director for the Public Health/General Preventive Medicine Residency Program with CCH and Northwestern and a physician advisor for CCH's substance use disorder (SUD) program. Juleigh is a K12 Scholar with Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and Northwestern University, focusing on a regional learning health system to improve access to evidence-based SUD care for justice-involved individuals.

Juleigh has previously served in public health positions in the U.S. Senate, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Chicago Department of Public Health.

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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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