Riegelman Award for Excellence

The Riegelman Award is awarded annually to one full-time public health faculty member recognized for his or her excellence in undergraduate teaching. Named for Dr. Richard and Mrs. Linda Riegelman, the award is given to recognize superb faculty members who have garnered respect and enthusiasm from undergraduate students for demonstrating exceptional teaching.

2020 Winner

Karin J. Opacich, PhD, MHPE, OTR/L, FAOTA

University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health

Karin Opacich is the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Public Health UIC. She facilitated the development of the UIC baccalaureate program in public health that resulted in a philosophically grounded, intentionally integrated program that serves six themes: Health as a Moral Endeavor, Health Equity, Life Course Perspective, OneHealth, Cultural Relevance, and Local/Global Impact. Predicated upon principles of liberal education, confluent education, action learning, and community engaged participatory learning, the public health program launched in 2012 has achieved a 95 percent graduation rate at an institution that ranks among the most highly diverse in the country.

One of her nominator’s states, “Dr. Opacich tirelessly takes on the challenges of undergraduate public health education to establish authentic educational practice and position our program for sustained and quality growth.”

Another colleague writes, “Dr. Opacich demonstrates her leadership as a public health educator by welcoming and encouraging active learning and engagement with attention to both the practice of education and the practice of public health.”