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Public Health Epidemiology Conversations Podcast

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Episode #352 Healthcare Innovation And Public Health, With Stephen Martin, PhD, MPH

On This Episode Of The Public Health Epidemiology Conversations (PHEC) Podcast


Pursuing a career in public health can take many twists and turns, and there’s a good chance you’ll travel through some pretty interesting and surprising places. Such was the case for our guest, Dr. Stephen Martin, who has held a number of diverse and esteemed positions throughout his career.


He currently serves as both the Executive Director of the Creating Pathways and Access for Student Success Foundation (CPASS) and as a subject matter expert for Quant16’s Health and Human Services practice. With more than 20 years of experience in his field, Dr. Martin is widely recognized as a thought leader in healthcare innovation and public health practice.


Tuning in, you’ll hear all the details of Dr. Martin’s eventful public health career from how he first discovered epidemiology during his studies, to becoming health commissioner and CEO for the Cook County Department of Public Health, to joining Quant16. He tells us about key lessons he learned from his advisors and how his training in epidemiology influenced his trajectory before sharing his advice for undergraduates, executives, and other professionals. For a full account of Dr. Martin’s healthcare journey, be sure to tune in!


Meet Stephen Martin, PhD, MPH


Stephen A. Martin, Jr. serves as Executive Director of the Creating Pathways & Access for Student Success (CPASS) Foundation. Also, in a dual role, Dr. Martin serves as a subject matter expert for Quant16’s Health and Human Services practice. Recognized as a Thought Leader in Healthcare Innovation and Public Health Practice , Stephen has previously held the position of President & CEO of the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Executive Director of the Association for Community Health Improvement at the American Hospital Association (AHA), Chief Program Officer for the Health Research & Educational Trust/AHA, Health Commissioner and COO for the Cook County Department of Public Health, and a member of the Cook County Health & Hospitals System’s c-suite executive team.


Dr. Martin’s health career spans 20+ years with key contributions in public health leadership, emergency preparedness, population health, community benefit, quality & accreditation, care delivery for vulnerable populations, health policy & advocacy, health insurance, and data analytics. Further, his public health background includes serving as the Co-Chair for the Illinois Governor’s Office of Health Innovation and Transformation - Population Health Integration Work Group, a Peer Reviewer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Grant Program, and a Member of the Illinois Department of Public Health – Local Health Department Executive Advisory Group for Emergency Preparedness. In addition, his health commissioner tenure included participating in the TOPOFF 2 U.S.


National Combating Terrorism Exercise; leading local health responses to and planning for the H1N1 Pandemic, Swine Flu Pandemic, West Nile Virus Outbreak, Monkeypox Virus Outbreak, and SARS-CoV Virus Outbreak in Cook County, IL; and deploying the first electronic health status surveillance system in the State of Illinois. Also, his professional board experience includes service on the following boards: 1. Zing Health, Inc., 2. Council on Education for Public Health; 3. Hospital Charitable Service Awards Board; 4. State of Illinois Maternal and Child Health Advisory Board; 5. Suburban Cook County Tuberculosis Sanitarium District Board; 6. Suburban Primary Health Care Council; and 7. Northern Illinois Public Health Consortium.


Stephen holds a B.S. in Biology and a M.P.H. in Epidemiology from Tulane University and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in Epidemiologic Science with a focus on environmental epidemiology. Dr. Martin trained at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) as an Intramural Research Training Award Fellow and was recognized for Outstanding Graduate Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Further, he was certified as a Lead Abatement Supervisor in the state of Illinois and has published several peer-reviewed articles.


Finally, Dr. Martin is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, American College of Epidemiology, American Public Health Association, Society for Epidemiologic Research, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, and the International Epidemiological Association. Also, he is a fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago and the Institute of Medicine of Chicago and a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Advisory Committee and several other boards and committees. In addition, he serves on the faculty at the Texas A&M University School of Public Health and the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health.



Listen To This Episode Of The Public Health Epidemiology Conversations (PHEC) Podcast




Conversation Highlights


  • Introducing today’s guest, Dr. Stephen Martin

  • An overview of Stephen’s expansive history in health care

  • Dr. Martin’s discovery of epidemiology

  • How he started his career in public health

  • Key pieces of advice that helped him early in his public health journey

  • The various advisors that helped Dr. Martin navigate the field

  • Insights from his time working in Cook County, Chicago

  • Joining Quant16 and why he found his epidemiology background so helpful

  • An overview of Quant16; how they bring technological solutions to public health

  • How they were making data-driven decisions back in 2000

  • Understanding the opportunities in applying AI to public health

  • Dr. Martin’s advice to undergraduate students, executives, and other professionals



“[We spend] most of our career time – building our professional networks so that when we get to these roles, we have that support system around us as we go in.” — Dr. Stephen Martin

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Public Health Consulting To Support You


DrCHHuntley LLC is a public health consulting firm that specializes in epidemiology consulting, supporting large nonprofit organizations in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Florida that serve Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). We also provide nationwide public health consulting and epidemiology consulting support to BIPOC organizations across the United States.

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