Our Founding Story - Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

Connect & Follow Us

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group Logo

Go Back

Our Founding Story

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group was formed in 1981, as the national political climate shifted to one which put less emphasis on the needs of marginalized populations. At the same time, Chicago social justice advocate Quentin D. Young, MD, had just left his long-term position leading Cook County Hospital’s Department of Medicine and wondered what the next phase of his activism should be.

After becoming fast friends and colleagues during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, Quentin Young and co-founder John McKnight, along with a group of fellow health justice activists, laid the groundwork for a health policy organization that would uncover and challenge health inequities in Illinois. They envisioned an “action tank” that would be nimble and responsive to urgent health care issues; oppose the exploitation of the health system for profit and support health care as a human right; and be centered around working board members independent of institutional ties and obligations.

As Health & Medicine has grown, we have taken on a wider variety of issues, but our commitment to our founding values—a world where every person has access to affordable, quality health care—has never wavered. Please explore our publications, upcoming events, and join our mission of health equity and social justice for all people in Illinois.


Margie Schaps, MPH
Executive Director