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ASPPH Academic Practice Excellence Award

The ASPPH Practice Excellence Award recognizes faculty who have devoted their careers to advancing and integrating scholarly public health practice across research, teaching, and service. The award is given annually to a full-time faculty member from an ASPPH- member, CEPH-accredited school or program of public health.

2022 Winner

Jeni Hebert-Beirne, PhD, MPH

University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health

Jeni Hebert-Beirne is an Associate Professor of Community Health Sciences, the Associate Dean for Community Engagement, and the Interim Director of the Collaboratory for Health Justice (CHJ) at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health (SPH). Jeni has devoted over 25 years to advancing and integrating scholarly public health practice in Chicago across her research, teaching, and service responsibilities. She is a community-based participatory researcher (CBPR) who uses qualitative, community-engaged research approaches to promote health equity at the neighborhood level focusing on understanding the lived experience of those most impacted by structural drivers of health inequities and identifying system-level solution. She is interested in recognizing the ways in which academia is complicit in systems of oppression and transforming academic-community partnerships to advance health equity research. To this end she has co-founded the CHJ, which seeks to enhance reciprocal engagement between UIC SPH and community partners, and UIC Partnerships for Antiracist Campus Transformation. Through her CDC NIOSH, NIDDK and NIEHS-funded research, she is invested in sustaining long-term academic-community partnerships to advance health equity research. Her longest academic-community collaboration, in its 12th year, is the Greater Lawndale Healthy Work project a CBPR project in the Center for Healthy Work to build power, build capacity and building equity to promote healthy work at the neighborhood level in two neighborhoods on Chicago’s west side. A dedicated teacher (she has received three Bernard H. Baum Golden Apple Awards by the Public Health Student Association, and two peer-reviewed awards -a Teaching Recognition Award and a Teaching Excellence Award), she has co-developed a community-engaged course, co-taught with a community partner that received a Delta Omega 2021 Innovative Curriculum Award. With recent funding from the MacArthur Foundation, she and the CHJ team is launching a school-wide initiative to align SPH courses with our community-based organization partner needs, center community partners with lived expertise in the classroom as guest speakers, and enhance our citizen science training for community members.  She is also faculty co-chair of Radical Public Health, a student-driven movement at UIC to address root causes of health injustices, resulting in among other things, the establishment of a new course at UIC SPH Epidemics of Injustice which is open to community partners and seeks to prepares public health leaders and community members with the tools to bring about social change and address structural determinants of health.