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/MPH Candidate, Class of 2021


 “As a Vallejo Community Member & Indigenous Social Justice Activist, I truly enjoyed gettingkim 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 

Read more testimonials.

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 in the U.S.

  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 & Public Health Advocacy (3 units)

  • Program Evaluation and Needs Assessment (3 units)

  • Research Methodology (1 unit)

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

Nemesia Kelly is an Assistant Professor and Chair of the HECJ Concentration. She teaches a course on Criminal Justice and Public Health (PBHC 633) and coordinates the Public Health Field Study course (PBHC 600-4 & 600-6). In addition, Professor Kelly also serves as the Public Health Practice Manager of the Program's Center for Workforce Development & Public Health Practice. Currently, she is working to publish key findings of a TUC IRAP-funded qualitative study completed in 2018 to assess the mental, physical, and emotional health status and well-being of California exonerees. Exonerees are individuals who were released from CA state prisons after being found innocent and exonerated of a crime for which they were wrongfully convicted. As principal investigator, Prof. Kelly led a team of fellow faculty researchers to conduct in-person key informant interviews with 12 California exonerees in order to describe their needs for immediate and long-term support. On this project, we collaborated with community partners at Exonerated Nation, a national non-profit organization headquartered in Oakland CA that was founded to meet the immediate needs of exonerees. She is also a co-investigator on participatory research projects examining coping mechanisms and social support among the wrongfully incarcerated. Her research interests are: 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

Gayle Cummings serves as Assistant Dean and Program Director for the Public Health Program at Touro University California. In addition to the core administrative and teaching functions of her position, she has been engaged in several research and evaluation activities of relevance to communities throughout the California Bay Area. Examples of recent projects include: 1) Evaluation of the Solano County Parolee Reentry & Community Safety Program funded by the Department of Justice; 2) evaluation of a teacher training program, designed to recruit, retain and train culturally and linguistically diverse undergraduate students in an effort to increase the numbers of traditionally underrepresented groups teaching in some of California’s highest-needs schools funded by Department of Education; and 3) Evaluation of a HRSA-funded school-based initiative designed to provide comprehensive health services targeting an economically vulnerable of children 0-18 years of age in Vallejo, California. Her research interests are: 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

Dr. Strouse is an Assistant Professor and Capstone Coordinator in the Public Health Program. She teaches the Program's core course in Behavioral and Social Aspects of Public Health. Dr. Strouse is engaged in multiple community-academic partnerships to advance health equity, including eliminating racial disparities in birth outcomes and improving services and social support among formerly incarcerated residents in Solano County. She is actively engaged in a participatory project exploring coping mechanisms and social support among people who have been wrongfully convicted and incarcerated. Dr. Strouse employs a mixed methods approach with a focus on action-oriented research. Her research interests are: 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.   


Kevin D. Williams, JD, MPH

Kevin Williams is an adjunct faculty in the Public Health Program and teaches the Criminal Justice Law & Public Health Advocacy course in the HECJ Concentration. Prof. Williams is also the Associate Director, Berkeley Youth Alternatives (BYA) where he participates as a preceptor for the TUC Public Health Field Study. He earned his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center, his Master of Public Health from the University of Texas School of Public Health, and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. Prof. Williams is currently an adjunct faculty member at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health where he previously served as the Associate Director of the Center for Public Health Practice. He has served as a member of the LifeLong Medical Care Board of Directors since 2006 and is the Past Chair of both the California Black Health Network and the African American Caucus for the State of California's Council on Multicultural Health. 


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