Loyola Parkinson CERCL

The COVID Equity Response Collaborative: Loyola (CERCL) is a team of public health, medicine, nursing, law, and social work students and professionals working in partnership with community leaders and public health officials to minimize the harm from COVID to at-risk populations in the Chicago area.

As individuals, we all have advocated for structural and health equity in community, clinical and global settings. When COVID 19 hit the United States, it became evident that we would need to redouble our efforts to mitigate the harm caused by the pandemic. The COVID Equity Response Collaborative evolved in a few conversations between Loyola University Chicago students and faculty.

During the 2020-21 pandemic, the Chicago community of Maywood saw some of the highest infection rates of COVID-19 in Illinois.

WATCH THIS VIDEO TO LEARN MORE about how Loyola University Chicago launched CERCL, the COVID Equity Response Collaborative Loyola to serve the Maywood's minority populations.

We are building a multi-disciplinary, collaborative network of academic, community, public, and institutional partners to work for health justice in local communities most impacted by structural inequity. In this moment, health justice means ensuring Black and Brown communities have access to COVID-19 testing, are involved in contact tracing from the ground up, and are quickly connected to resources to isolate and support when needed. 

Black and Brown lives matter.


Through partnership with the Casa Esperanza Community Center, Rock of Ages Baptist Church, Coalition for Spiritual and Public Leadership, Loyola University Medical Center Department of Microbiology, and Loyola University Health System Nursing we are providing free COVID-19 testing in Maywood and Melrose Park. 

The Loyola Pediatric Mobile Health Unit is also on site during test days, making pediatric services such as immunizations and physicals accessible to the community.

Follow us on Facebook @CERC.Loyola or Twitter @CERCLoyola for the latest information on our testing days and times.

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is a specialized skill. It requires people with the appropriate training, supervision, and access to social and medical support for patients and contacts.  To help build up the contact tracing capacity of Illinois and county health departments, we developed the Contact Tracing Corps (CTC). The CTC leverages free, online courses that teach the basics skills of contact tracing and supplements them online soft skills training. It is open to students, faculty, staff, and community members at no cost. Upon completion of the program, trainees should be well equipped to apply for contact tracing positions or volunteer with local health departments.

Learn more about the Contact Tracing Corps and Contact Tracing Corp Opportunities Board

Would you like to stay up to date with contact tracing opportunities and training? Please fill in our interest form to sign up for our listserv.

Please contact us at ContactTracing@luc.edu if you have questions or want to connect!

Isolate & Support

Many individuals who are exposed to a COVID positive person or who test positive themselves may need support in order to be able to isolate themselves for the recommended period of time. The COVID Equity Response Collaborative: Loyola's Isolate & Support Team is on site during testing days to help connect people with social and legal resources. The team is composed of students and faculty from Loyola's Schools of Law, Social Work, and Medicine who have worked with the Health Justice Project and Medical-Legal Partnership Illinois

Who We Are

Stories of COVID-19 Faculty Lead: Amy Luke, PhD

Testing Faculty Leads: Thao Griffith, PhD, RNAmanda Harrington, PhD

Contact Tracing Faculty Lead: Abigail Silva, PhD

Social and Legal Support Faculty Lead: Kate Mitchell, JD

CERCL Co-Organizers: Amy Blair, MD, Candice Choo-Kang, MPH, Tiffany Ku, Katherine Nolan, Samantha O’Connor, Sumbul Siddiqui, MPH, Kellie Steele, MPH, Elizabeth Stranges, MD

Get Involved

Read stories of COVID-19 and tell us your story.

Follow us on Facebook @CERC.Loyola or Twitter @CERCLoyola to find out about ways to collaborate or contact us at cercl@luc.edu


We need YOU to help us continue our work for health justice. Your donation will allow us to continue testing, contact tracing and supporting people in isolation. We know this is the only way to mitigate the impact of COVID on Black and Brown communities. Please support us in doing the critical work that needs to be done.