Improving Health through Public Policy


Can changes to public policy improve health? Jamie Chriqui, professor of health policy and administration in the UIC School of Public Health, says "absolutely."

Having studied issues like childhood obesity, tobacco use and chronic disease through the lens of public policy for more than 26 years, Chriqui is one of the nation’s foremost experts on using legislation and policy to address our most pressing health challenges.

"My goal is to look at the broader social environment, from public transportation to school lunches, and study how our federal, state and local community laws, guidelines and ordinances can make health more accessible to the public," said Chriqui.

With nearly 100 published scholarly articles, Chriqui’s work has been cited as background for a number of federal regulations on school district wellness policies that address physical activity, nutrition, wellness education and the sale of junk food in public schools.

Chriqui, who is also a member of the University of Illinois Cancer Center and a fellow of the university’s Institute for Health Policy and Research, where she is the principal investigator of nine grant-funded research projects. All her projects focus on issues at the intersection of public policy and obesity, nutrition and physical activity.

Robin Mermelstein, professor of psychology and director of the Institute for Health Policy and Research, nominated Chriqui for the Distinguished Researcher Award.

"Dr. Chriqui’s work has widespread and clear impact," Mermelstein said. "She addresses one of the most complex health problems facing our nation today, and does so with outstanding methodological rigor, as well as with a keen eye towards the ultimate dissemination and real-world translation of her findings into policy and action. She is well deserving of this award."

"I am honored that this research has been recognized and that is a reflection of the outstanding collaborative and team-orientated environment we have here at UIC," Chriqui said.

Chriqui is one of eight faculty members across campus recognized by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research in 2016 for their scholarly work. The awardees were recognized in a ceremony Feb. 17.

Chriqui is the fifth IHRP Fellow to have been recognized with this award. Shannon Zenk received the award in 2015, Lisa Powell in 2013, Susan Hughes in 2011, and Frank Chaloupka in 2008, the year UIC inaugurated the award program.

This news release, originally written for UIC News by Jacqueline Carey, has been adapted for use on the IHRP website.