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The Chicago Forum for Justice in Health Policy: Police Violence as Public Health Data

The United States has the highest rate of police-involved shootings and killings in the world, yet tracking both injuries and deaths from these interactions requires new surveillance and data collection systems.  

This issue is particularly relevant as policing that disproportionately impacts communities of color and people living in poverty has spawned growing social movements and advocacy.  Related to public health, Healthy Chicago 2.0, the public health improvement plan for Chicago, identifies the reduction of mass incarceration and inequitable police attention in communities of color as a public health goal and priority for the city.

Structural racism, class inequity, and gender inequities evident in policing, arrests, violence from police, and in prosecution and incarceration all hinder health equity. On Friday, March 17 at Loyola University, Health & Medicine hosted a meeting of the Chicago Forum for Justice in Health Policy to explore how public health can utilize its expertise in counting police-involved injuries and deaths to aid in targeting prevention efforts and policy change to advance health equity.

The following questions were discussed at the event:
  • How many police-involved injuries and deaths are there in the U.S. and in Chicago?
  • How could data collection related to injuries and deaths from legal intervention fit into existing data collection systems?
  • How might we develop a system to accurately measure and guide prevention of these deaths and injuries?

Speakers & Presentations:
  • Keynote: Alfreda Holloway-Beth, PhD, MS, Assistant Professor, Chicago State University Click here to view the presentation
  • Moderator: Lilian Jiménez, Policy Director, Cook County Commissioner Jesús "Chuy" García and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leader
  • Mildred Williamson, PhD, MSW, Director of Research & Regulatory Affairs, Cook County Health & Hospital System
  • Frank Chapman, Field Organizer for the Chicago Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression (CAARPR), Lead strategist for the efforts to obtain a City of Chicago Ordinance for a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC)
  • Christine Haley, Executive Director, Chicago Torture Justice Center
  • Special performance by spoken word artist Demiyon Eastling, an alumnus of the Spoken Word Academy of Chicago
Facilitators:
  • Maxx Boykin, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Black Youth Project 100
  • Karen Aguirre, Schweitzer Fellow, UIC MPH student, Graduate Research Assistant/ UIC College of Applied Health Sciences
  • Robert Moses, Chicago Votes
  • Quinn Rallins, Shriver Center
  • Cheryl Conner, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at UIC, Radical Public Health Facilitator
  • Candace Coleman, Access Living
Recommended reading:

Thank you to the UIC School of Public Health undergraduate students who collaborated with us to plan this forum.

Thank you to the Chicago Community Trust for their support of the Chicago Forum for Justice in Health Policy series and to our co-sponsors, Loyola University’s Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy and the Civitas ChildLaw Center