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Institute hopes to reduce global health disparities

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Amy Luke (orange dress), PhD, and other Loyola faculty members pose with villagers during a research project in Ghana. Luke will serve as the director of Loyola’s new Institute of Public Health. 

Loyola is establishing a new Institute of Public Health, a scholarly program dedicated to reducing the global burden of disease, improving international health, and decreasing health disparities due to racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, gender, environmental, and other factors.

The institute will:

  • educate students for careers and leadership positions in public health;
  • conduct internationally recognized research on factors that contribute to disease and health disparities;
  • work within local and global communities to improve health and reduce disparities;
  • recruit a diverse faculty and student body that will improve understanding of the causes of and solutions for health risks and disparities.

“The Institute of Public Health exemplifies Loyola University Chicago’s Jesuit Catholic commitment to social justice,” said Richard L. Gamelli, MD, FACS, senior vice president and provost of Health Sciences.

The institute will build upon the master of public health (MPH) degree program that Loyola’s Stritch School of Medicine established in 2009 to provide the breadth and depth required to educate future professionals and link students with community projects and public health research.

Amy Luke, PhD, professor of Public Health Sciences in Stritch School of Medicine, will serve as director of the Institute.

Luke received her PhD in human nutrition and nutritional biology from the University of Chicago in 1994, and continued her training  as a research associate in Stritch’s Department of Preventive Medicine & Epidemiology. Luke has led National Institutes of Health-funded projects on the causes of obesity and cardiovascular disease in Africa, the Caribbean, and metropolitan Chicago. She also mentors junior faculty, MPH students, and medical students.

Luke’s responsibilities will include continued development of internationally recognized research, education, and community outreach that incorporates faculty expertise from throughout the university. She will assist Holly Kramer, MD, MPH, director of the MPH program, in the program accreditation process, and work with Richard S. Cooper, MD, chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences, to recruit faculty that support public health initiatives and related doctoral programs.