Our Founding Story – Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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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. Along with a group of fellow health justice activists, Dr. Young decided to form a health policy think tank to research, educate, and convene stakeholders to challenge health inequities and improve the health of all people in Illinois. They envisioned an “action tank” that would be nimble and responsive to urgent issues as they arose; that would be opposed to the exploitation of the health system for profit and support health care as a human right; one that would be 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