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The Epidemiology & Justice Group, an unofficial/unaffiliated group organized by UNC epidemiology students, aims to support fellow students seeking to use epidemiology for social justice efforts. We teach each other, advocate in our department, and support research on themes of epidemiology critical history and philosophy, community-led public health research principles and practice, and justice-focused epidemiology.

Contact information:

  • Join the Google group for event notices, planning, and access to prior meeting minutes. All interested are welcome.
  • Email us at

See below for our schedule and resources, as well as for more information about our zine.


Spring 2023 Updates

This year we hosted Corban Addison, the author of Wastelands: The True story of Farm Country on Trial which tells the story of the polluting industrial hog farming industry in Eastern North Carolina and the fight to bring justice to the people who have lived on the land where there are now industrial farms. If you attended the event and would like to provide feedback please do so at the form here.

If you were not able to attend the lecture and would like to watch, here is a recording of the lecture.

If you would like to donate to the Environmental Justice Fund to keep events like this occurring, please donate here.


Summer 2021

This summer we are holding a book club! We’ll be talking about The Activist Academic (which is conveniently available online through UNC libraries to Onyen holders) by Cann and DeMeulenaere.

When: every other Wednesday, 5pm ET – May 26th to August 4th

Where: Zoom
Zoom ID: 912 0990 1484
Zoom link:

What: a chapter of that book (the first week is the first chapter, etc.)


Journal Clubs and Semin(aren’t)s

We host journal clubs and seminar(ern’t)s that flip the usual seminar structure of mostly lecture with questions. Announcements for these events go out over the episems departmental listserv as well as Epi & Justice Group listserv.

Potential journal club topics could include: authorship (in-fighting, peer-review, community, order, path to authorship, critical thinking, open source journals), burnout, objectivity and “neutral” expert, and critical race theory. Please email us if you have suggested topics or readings.

Past semin(aren’t) topics have included: public health ethics, failures in successful public health careers, epidemiology from other academic disciplines, epidemiology from outside of academia. Please email us if you have suggested topics or panelists.

All are welcome.

Working Group Meetings

We schedule working groups meetings both for planning Seminaren’ts and Journal Clubs as well as for inter/intra-departmental organizing around current issues and opportunities in the curriculum. For details on the agenda and topics, join the google group listserv and above agenda.

All are welcome.

Annual Steve Wing Environmental Justice Lecture


  • TBD

Prior Years:

  • 2020/2021: Jill Johnston (University of Southern California)
  • 2019: Scott Laney (NIOSH Morgantown). See article on his work on Black Lung in central Appalachia.
  • 2018: No speaker
  • 2017: Chris Heaney
  • 2016: Sacoby Wilson

Topic & Reading List

We can’t cover everything relevant to a critical, social-justice themed epidemiology during any year’s journal clubs and seminaren’ts.

We offer this list on critical / social justice informed epidemiology as a resource to students and faculty interested in these topics. Many of these readings are based on two classes previously offered at the UNC Epidemiology Department by Steve Wing: (1) EPID 891: History and Philosophy of Epidemiology (Syllabus) and (2) EPID 786: Community-Driven Epidemiology and Environmental Justice (Syllabus). We are indebted to Steve for his decades of community work, learning, and teaching on these topics, and hope to carry on as much of his legacy as we collectively can. See Steve’s CV for more relevant articles on these topics.

View our living bibliography of academic literature that our Epi & Justice Group has read together:


See our Zine Vol 1 here. (link to online view PDF) (link to PDF to print)

We made a zine to document and share our struggles and triumphs in integrating epidemiology and social justice. Other departments at UNC (geography and biology, for example) have had success in making zines (see links below for more information). The zine format allows our perspective to be shared more widely and accessibly than traditional academic writing, and encourages creativity in translating stories to the page. Each person can take a page and spend as much or little time as they want crafting it. A page can weave together archival materials, academic writing, artwork, maps, figures, abstracts, poems or other testimonials to represent the ways that you think about rigorous, justice-oriented epidemiology.  

Please share the zine online or print it and share with others. To turn the print version into a booklet it should be printed two sided using the “flip on short side” or “short side binding” option.

At APHA’s 2019 Annual Conference in Philadelphia, we presented “Zine development as a pedagogical tool for critically evaluating how social justice and epidemiology relate” in the Spirit of 1848 session “Fighting Forward: Pedagogies that Promote and Create a Radical Science for Health Justice”. You can find a link to our presentation slides here. If you are interested in making a tiny Tiny zine Zine, please find the template here.

Zine resources and zines that inspired us:

Bagelman, J. and C. Bagelman. 2016. “Zines: Crafting Change and Repurposing the Neoliberal University”. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 15 (2), 365-92. Open access PDF.

Department Organizing

Current departmental priorities include:

  • Ensure the Steve Wing memorial lecture occurs, and provide input on speakers.
  • Speak up for inclusion in the epidemiology PhD curriculum on the importance of supporting community-based participatory research; history, philosophy, and critical epidemiology theory; and social justice values at curricula meetings and with the chair.
  • Listening for opportunities to provide input in the new One MPH curricula, especially as it relates to critical epidemiology & social justice.
  • Support the Social Epidemiology PhD curricula where possible to include relevant critical race theory and social justice values.

History of the Group

This group, in its current incarnation, grew from student organizing inspired by the work of Steve Wing, involved in community supportive epidemiology and justice research for decades. Students connected with the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network (NCEJN) through Steve, and supported research collaborations with communities and the UNC Center for Civil Rights. When the UNC Center for Civil Rights came under attack for providing legal assistance to low-income communities and communities of color, students gathered signatures and support, and are continuing to connect research projects to the now separated Julius Chambers Center for Civil Rights. After Steve Wing’s passing in 2016 and in light of the attacks on the UNC Center for Civil Rights, students met separately with Epidemiology chair Andy Olshan and Dean Barbara Rimer to express concern about these gaps in our curriculum, request support for the center, and advocate for hiring and curriculum priorities. Students formed an informal environmental justice research group, continuing previous community projects and envisioning new ones with community groups. Outside of direct environmental justice, students organized student support and response after the original Women’s March on Washington. Students have learned from the efforts of the Equity Collective, a Health Behavior Department student organization, and hope to act to continue to address similar concerns in our department alongside them. After wide student organizing (including one-on-one conversations, surveys and group meetings), faculty discussed how race was taught in the core methods curriculum, and students explored research with faculty that might inform the teaching of disparities here at UNC Epidemiology.

Past Events:

Spring 2023


When Where (Zoom Link) What
January 19,

4 pm

McGavran-Greenberg Hall, room 1301 Smell of Money Documentary screening

February 16 & March 9th 5 pm

MHRC 1001 & zoom

Wastelands by Corban Addison book club

March 23

3 pm

136 Tate-Turner Kuralt & zoom

Annual Environmental Justice Lecture in memory of Dr Steve Wing featuring Corban Addison, author of Wastelands: The True Story of Farm Country on Trial



Spring 2021


When Where (Zoom Link) What
April 15, 11am Zoom Planning meeting

Discussion of Epi and Justice’s future and leadership transitions

April 15, 2pm Register here:

4th Annual Steve Wing Environmental Justice Lecture, presented by Dr. Jill Johnston, on Thursday, April 15th 2021 at 2pm. Email if you would like to join a small group Zoom discussion/”lunch” with Dr. Jill Johnston at noon on April 15th.

April 19, 3pm Zoom

Seminaren’t on Managing Public Response to Our Research

Panelists: Dr. Mary Schubauer-Berigan (IARC), Dr. Tania Desrosiers (UNC-CH), & Dr. David Richardson (UNC-CH)

Question submission:




  • The Spirit of 1848 Listserv is an officially recognized caucus of the American Public Health Association, and has an active listserv worth joining for those interested in public health and social justice.
    Per the website: “The Spirit of 1848 e-mail community serves an activist network of people concerned about social inequalities in health, in the US and other countries. Linking politics, passion, and public health, we are organized as an official Caucus of the American Public Health Association. Our work focuses on: politics of public health data; curriculum and progressive pedagogy; e-networking; and progressive public health history.”