Associate Professor

Public Health Sciences

Julie Darnell
  • Julie Darnell, PhD, MHSA, AM, is Associate Professor, Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago. She earned a master of health services administration degree in health policy from George Washington University, and a master of arts and doctoral degrees in social service administration from the University of Chicago. Her research focuses on access to, and the delivery and financing of, health care for poor and vulnerable populations and, especially, the safety net organizations that serve them. She has earned a national reputation for her work on free and charitable clinics. Findings from her research on free clinics have been published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and Medical Care and in a report to the U.S. Congress. She is currently collaborating with Americares on two intervention studies designed to increase the capacity of free and charitable clinics to adopt state-of-the-art chronic disease prevention and management programs into their settings. Her work on free clinics has received numerous awards and recognition from organizations including the Society for Social Work and Research, the National Association of Social Workers Foundation, the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action, the American Public Health Association, and the Public Health System Research Interest Group of AcademyHealth.

    • George Washington University, Masters             
    • Saint Mary's University, Bachelors           
    • University of Chicago, Ph.D.               

    What prompted you to pursue your field?

    I've always been interested in policy and especially politics, and started my career working on Capitol Hill. But my turn toward health was quite by accident, and I was landed a job working on the Health Subcommittee of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicare. I eventually gravitated toward studying Medicaid policies and an interest in health care for the poor. A volunteer stint at a free clinic in Washington, DC launched my 25-year-long service to free clinics, the focus of my scholarship.

    What's it like to teach at Parkinson?

    I love teaching in the Parkinson School. At the MPH level, I have the privilege of teaching population health planning, which is was my favorite course when I was in graduate school. Thus, it's especially rewarding for me to teach the subject I loved the most when I was a student. I have been involved in developing, implementing and evaluating numerous health behavior programs and like to bring these real-life experiences into the classroom. At the undergraduate level, I teach our Introduction to Public Health course. Students are curious and excited about public health, and it's re-energizing to help them discover the field. I also teach a novel course, Critical Thinking in Public Health, which is a one-of-a-kind course in bachelor of public health programs. While we all expect students to be able to think critically, I break down what it means to actually assess and evaluate what we hear/read/write by giving students concrete and practical strategies that they can use to become more critical thinkers. I believe that critical thinking is not innate, but is a skill that can be developed.

    What does your department's focus mean to you?

    To me, public health means putting the needs of the community above the interests of the individual.

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

    There are widening gaps in survival between the rich and the poor and we must find ways to reverse these trends, which hurt us all.

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

    Public health is a vast field, and anyone who wants to work to help everyone achieve their highest level of health possible can find a vantage point from which to make a contribution to this vision of health equity for all. I happen to study free clinics, which allows me to focus my energies on an important but often overlooked component of our healthcare safety net--one that serves some of the most marginalized and vulnerable populations in our country. I am trying to make an impact by expanding their capacity to provide high-quality care. This includes bringing cutting-edge, evidence-based practices into the free clinic setting and establishing data systems that allow them to monitor and improve their care for all their patients.

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

    Loyola's commitment to social justice attracted me to Loyola. It's inspiring to be surrounded by colleagues who strive to live by the Ignatian principles.


    • Patient Navigation in Medically Underserved Areas study design: A trial with implications for efficacy, effect modification, and full continuum assessment Molina,Y.; Glassgow,A. E.; Kim,S. J.; Berrios,N. M.; Pauls,H.; Watson,K. S.; Darnell,J. S.; Calhoun,E. A. Contemporary Clinical Trials 2017 ;53:29-35
    • Patient Navigation Improves Subsequent Breast Cancer Screening After a Noncancerous Result: Evidence from the Patient Navigation in Medically Underserved Areas Study Molina,Y.; Kim,S. J.; Berrios,N.; Glassgow,A. E.; San Miguel,Y.; Darnell,J. S.; Pauls,H.; Vijayasiri,G.; Warnecke,R. B.; Calhoun,E. A. Journal of women's health (2002) 2017
    • The impact of patient navigation on the delivery of diagnostic breast cancer care in the National Patient Navigation Research Program: a prospective meta-analysis Battaglia,T. A.; Darnell,J. S.; Ko,N.; Snyder,F.; Paskett,E. D.; Wells,K. J.; Whitley,E. M.; Griggs,J. J.; Karnad,A.; Young,H.; Warren-Mears,V.; Simon,M. A.; Calhoun,E. Breast cancer research and treatment 2016 ;158(3):523-534
    • Patient barriers to follow-up care for breast and cervical cancer abnormalities Tejeda,S.; Darnell,J. S.; Cho,Y. I.; Stolley,M. R.; Markossian,T. W.; Calhoun,E. A. Journal of women's health (2002) 2013 ;22(6):507-517
    • Follow-up and timeliness after an abnormal cancer screening among underserved, urban women in a patient navigation program Markossian,T. W.; Darnell,J. S.; Calhoun,E. A. Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology 2012 ;21(10):1691-1700