Assistant Professor

Public Health Sciences

Ruth Kafensztok
  • I am a faculty member of the Department of Public Health Sciences and the Department of Emergency Medicine, within Loyola University Health Sciences Division. I earned my Doctor of Public Health degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, and have worked in public health for over 20 years, with experience both in public health practice and academic settings. My expertise is in statewide public health administrative data and data systems, with a particular focus on motor vehicle traffic injuries.

    • State University of Rio de Janeiro, Bachelors           
    • University of Illinois at Chicago, Dr.P.H.             

    What prompted you to pursue your field?

    At the time I concluded my professional education as a mental health clinical provider, I was interested in interventions that could promote health and prevent disease rather than treat illness after its onset. I was also interested in system level solutions to improve individual and population health. I felt I needed further professional training to work in prevention, primary care and community settings. My search for the knowledge and tools that would allow me to work in these settings led me to a career in public health.

    What's it like to teach at Parkinson?

    The Parkinson School is multi-disciplinary. For Public Health Sciences, a multi-disciplinary field by definition, this is a natural fit. However, it is really the openness of the Parkinson community of faculty, students and staff to work and study together that allows for the synergy across our disciplines and departments.

    What does your department's focus mean to you?

    Public health involves a multitude of organized efforts to ensure that all individuals and communities have the opportunities they need to grow to their full potential and attain healthy lives. Since the public health sector cannot achieve this alone, such organized efforts involve working with other governmental and non-governmental sectors that are not traditionally thought as public health, such as education, agriculture, labor, housing, and many other sectors.

    Why is this area of study important at this point in time?

    The complexity of the existing and emerging population health problems we see today speaks for the relevance of preparing well-qualified public health practitioners.

    What would you tell a student about why your field is exciting/important/the potential impact s/he could make?

    The complexity of the existing and emerging population health problems we see today speaks for the relevance of preparing well-qualified public health practitioners.

    What "called" you to/attracted you to Loyola?

    Loyola University Chicago calls us to serve our communities and be agents of change to address these complex problems, in particular those problems that burden disproportionally those less able to have voices heard and their basic needs fulfilled. This philosophy goes hand-in-hand with the social justice principles inherent to the mission of public health.


    • Transformative Global Health Pedagogy: A Dinner Curriculum for Medical Students and Residents. Frank, PJ; Schreck, KE; Steinmetz, A; Carlson, ES; Stasieluk, C; Borah, B; Reiser, H; Garcia, L; Kafensztok, R; Medernach, B; Palazuelos, D MedEdPORTAL : the journal of teaching and learning resources 2020 ;16
    • Assessment of Reactive Catch Basin Larvicide Treatments Toward Improved Water Quality Using FourStar((R)) Briquets and CocoBear Larvicide Oil Harbison,J. E.; Zazra,D.; Henry,M.; Xamplas,C.; Kafensztok,R. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association 2015 ;31(3):283-285
    • Evidence for daily and weekly rhythmicity but not lunar or seasonal rhythmicity of physical activity in a large cohort of individuals from five different countries Refinetti,R.; Sani,M.; Jean-Louis,G.; Pandi-Perumal,S. R.; Durazo-Arvizu,R. A.; Dugas,L. R.; Kafensztok,R.; Bovet,P.; Forrester,T. E.; Lambert,E. V.; Plange-Rhule,J.; Luke,A. ANNALS OF MEDICINE 2015 :1-8
    • Daily activity patterns of 2316 men and women from five countries differing in socioeconomic development. Sani, M; Refinetti, R; Jean-Louis, G; Pandi-Perumal, SR; Durazo-Arvizu, RA; Dugas, LR; Kafensztok, R; Bovet, P; Forrester, TE; Lambert, EV; Plange-Rhule, J; Luke, A Chronobiology international 2015 ;32(5)