AngelaDuTremaine1“The Health Equity & Criminal Justice (HECJ) Public Health track will open your eyes. ….I found it easy to see how each facet was closely linked with public health. The professors foster a safe environment for discussion and learning. The guest lecturers were absolutely outstanding. I hope to use what I learned to increase advocacy among my fellow students and colleagues, support policy change, and develop intervention programs. This track will prepare you for serving our diverse communities."

-Angela DuTremaine, Joint Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies/Master of Public Health Candidate, Class of 2021


“As a Vallejo Community Member & Indigenous Social Justice Activist, I truly enjoyed getting to meet some Touro Students and Community Members and sharing our stories, our opinions, our frustrations and our grief. My heart is filled with hope for the future that we can truly transform our Justice System. Thank you all for giving me the privilege of being a part of the Criminal Justice and Public Health Class.”   

-Kim DeOcampo, Tuolumne Mewuk Nation, Community Participant, Spring 2019 TUC Criminal Justice and Public Health Seminar 

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Touro University California’s MPH Program is the first graduate program, accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) to offer an MPH concentration in Health Equity and Criminal Justice (HECJ). Framed within core public health concepts, the HECJ Concentration focuses on the intersection of health and the U.S. justice system and addresses the public health impacts of criminal justice involvement and mass incarceration on individuals, families and communities. Students are provided with a specialized curriculum centered on the criminal justice system, strategies for prevention and reduction of justice involvement, correctional health systems, reentry and recidivism, and social and community impacts of incarceration.

  • The HECJ concentration will contribute to the expansion of research and policy in the promotion of social justice and health equity.

  • Graduates will be well-prepared to advocate for and address the needs of justice-involved populations. 

  • MPH students with clinical training will gain knowledge and skills needed for practitioners to provide medical care for incarcerated and post-release populations.

HECJ Concentration Competencies:

  1. Examine historical origins of the criminal justice system and analyze the development of legal systems and the impacts of mass incarceration.

  2. Examine U.S. law and public health at the intersection of the criminal justice system. 

  3. Investigate how systemic oppression, racism, and discrimination fuels justice-involvement and its impacts on public health. 

  4.  Evaluate the collateral consequences of criminal justice policy at local, state and federal levels and their impact on community health and well-being.

  5. Examine the cumulative effects of police violence on community trauma as a social determinant of health. 

  6. Formulate, analyze, and advocate for policies aimed to improve the health of populations impacted by the criminal justice system. 

The HECJ Concentration is comprised of the following courses (10 units):

  • Criminal Justice and Public Health (3 units)

  • Criminal Justice Law & Advocacy (3 units)

  • Program Evaluation and Needs Assessment (3 units)

  • Research Methodology (1 unit)

See the following resources for more information on the HECJ Curriculum:

HECJ Public Health Field Study

The Public Health Field Study provides students the opportunity to apply and integrate skills and knowledge acquired during their didactic coursework into public health practice, translating that experience to hands on “real world” situations to mitigate the downstream effects of the criminal justice system on public health as well as focusing on upstream solutions. Students in the HECJ Field Study will work with organizations working to address the needs of justice-involved people and impacted communities. HECJ Concentration students may conduct their field studies at California correctional facilities or community-based organizations, non-profit/non-governmental organizations, which include but are not limited to:

  • Berkeley Youth Alternatives 

  • California Correctional Health Care Services

  • Centerforce, Oakland, CA

  • Drug Safe Solano, Vallejo, CA

  • Health Education Council, Sacramento, CA

  • La Clinica de La Raza Transitions Clinic, Vallejo, CA

  • Life Learning Academy Charter High School, San Francisco, CA

  • Solano County Jail Services, Fairfield, CA

  • Roots Community Health Clinic, Oakland, CA

 HECJ Concentration Faculty: 


Chair: Nemesia Kelly, MPH

Health impacts of wrongful conviction and incarceration; qualitative research on the health and well-being of exonerees; carceral and reentry health; public health impacts of mass incarceration; criminal justice policy reform and advocacy, police violence as a public health issue; collateral consequences of incarceration; the school to prison nexus. 





Gayle Cummings, PsyD, MPH

Research and evaluation focused on the social determinants of health and health inequities; impact of criminal justice policies on community health; public health impacts of wrongful conviction and exoneration; the collateral consequences of justice system involvement.







Carly Strouse, DrPH, MPH

Program evaluation of medical care programs for the formerly incarcerated; impact of neighborhoods on maternal and child health outcomes; community based participatory and mixed methods research; leadership development; cross-sector collaboration to advance health equity. 





Related Research Projects:

As a related endeavor of the Program's new concentration, the Public Health Program developed the California Exoneree Health and Well-Being (CEHW) Project to study the current state of physical, mental, and emotional health among California exonerees and their needs for immediate and long-term support. The CEHW Project is a joint collaboration with Exonerated Nation, a non-profit organization based in Oakland, California whose mission is to meet the immediate needs of exonerees in California. In Fall 2017, the Project received a grant from the TUC Intramural Research Award Program. From April 2 to May 12, 2018, the CEHW research team conducted 12 in-person key informant interviews with California exonerees to understand their health status and needs for immediate and long-term support. The information gathered will be used to design a quantitative survey for a future study of California exonerees regarding their health, well-being and any unmet needs. See links below for the CEHW Project Newsletters:

2020 CEHW Project Newsletter

2019 CEHW Project Newsletter