William J. Martin

William J. Martin. M.D.

Primary Affiliation: Equity, Justice, and Human Flourishing Working Group

Senior Advisor to the Vice Chancellor for Research, Office of Research Development | University of Illinois Chicago

Skill Highlights

Determining Underlying Biologic Mechanisms of Acute Lung Injury and Repair

Academic Leadership in Medicine and Public Health

Facilitating Complex Partnerships Both Domestically and Globally to Achieve Shared Goals and Objectives

Grant Writing


Awarded funding of $100,000 for a project studying Racial Equity and Justice in the State Courts During the Post-Pandemic Transition. The project will leverage and build on the COVID-19 and the Operations of Courts Project and what has been learned so far on the operations of courts and access to justice during the pandemic.
Professor Wilson received a $232,032 Templeton Religion Trust grant to support the Tolerance Means Dialogues initiatives.
Since January 1, 2019, Professor Wilson and a team of students have been supporting legislative efforts across the U.S. to provide patient protections around intimate teaching exams, which have resulted in 13 laws in 32 months, drawing on her Opinion-Editorial in the Chicago Tribune, #Just Ask: Stop Treating Unconscious Female Patients like Cadavers.
Assisted Utah Governor Gary Herbert and General Counsel Ron Gordon in crafting legislation banning gay conversion therapy through revisions to R156 concerning Commerce, Occupational and Professional Licensing, drawing from her article Being Transgender in the Era of Trump: Compassion Should Pick Up Where Science Leaves Off.
Assisted the Utah Legislature to craft its landmark antidiscrimination laws protecting both the LGBT and faith communities in a package of protections, drawn from Bargaining for Civil Rights: Lessons from Mrs. Murphy for Same-Sex Marriage and LGBT Rights, described in more detail in Common Ground Lawmaking Lessons for Peaceful Coexistence from Masterpiece Cakeshop and the Utah Compromise.
Assisted Senator Michael McLachlan, Connecticut State Senate, in codifying same-sex marriage with legislative protections for all, drawing from her work on Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty: Emerging Conflicts with Professor Douglas Laycock and Anthony Picarello. This effort resulted in religious liberty protections in 9 states and the District of Columbia. See, e.g., Connecticut (S.B. 899, 2009); District of Columbia (D.C. Law 18-110, 2009); New Hampshire (H.B. 73, 2010); New York (A. 8354, 2011); Washington (S.B. 6239, 2012); Maryland (H.B. 438, 2012); Minnesota (H.F. 1054, 2013); Rhode Island (S. 0038A, 2013); Illinois (S.B. 0010, 2013); and Hawaii (S.B. 1, 2013).
Assisted Rep. David Orentlicher, Indiana House of Representatives, in crafting child protection legislation (Indiana S.B. 311), drawing on her work on Sexually Predatory Parents and the Children in Their Care: Remove the Threat, Not the Child, in Handbook of Children, Culture and Violence 39 (Nancy Dowd, Dorothy G. Singer & Robin Fretwell Wilson, eds., 2006).
Assisted Representative James Smith, South Carolina House of Representatives, in crafting the Lewis Blackman Hospital Patient Safety Protection Act (South Carolina H.B. 3832). Professor Wilson partnered with Helen Haskell, whose fifteen-year-old son, Lewis Blackman, had died, to fashion a package of patient protections designed to avert tragic deaths, such as requiring health professionals to wear name tags identifying their role on the healthcare team and posting notices about how to reach an attending physician.
Partnered with Delegate Robert Bell, Virginia House of Delegates, to provide patient protections around intimate teaching exams, drawing on her article Autonomy Suspended: Using Female Patients to Teach Intimate Exams Without Their Knowledge or Consent and her testimony before the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice at the Joint Hearings on Health Care and Competition Law and Policy on June 10, 2003. From 2012 until 2019, the span of seven years, six states enacted similar laws requiring informed consent for intimate teaching exams.
Assisted Representative David Orentlicher, Indiana House of Representatives, in crafting child protection legislation (Indiana S.B. 194), drawing on Professor Wilson’s article The Cradle of Abuse: Evaluating the Danger Posed by a Sexually Predatory Parent to the Victim’s Siblings.



William J. Martin II joined UIC in the fall of 2020 as Senior Advisor in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research. He comes to UIC from the College of Public Health at Ohio State University where he served as dean of the College from 2013. During Martin’s tenure as dean, he significantly increased the number of faculty and research funding in the College and was appointed by the Provost and President to lead the University response to the addiction crisis in Ohio. Prior to his time at Ohio State, Martin was associate director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the NIH, where he led both the NIH response to the global health crisis of household air pollution that kills nearly 4 million women and children a year and the Head-Off Environmental Asthma in Louisiana (HEAL) study of asthma outcomes in children in post-Katrina New Orleans.


Martin has substantial experience in both academia and in governmental scientific administration. As a pulmonary and critical care physician-scientist, he has authored more than 175 research and clinical papers. Prior to joining NIH, he was an NIH-funded principal investigator for nearly 25 years. His professional service includes being president of the American Thoracic Society, president of the American Lung Association of Indiana, a member of the Advisory Council for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and a health policy fellow for the U.S. Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee.

  • 2002-2006 – Professor of Medicine, University of Cincinnati
  • 2002-2003 – Acting Senior Vice President for Health Affairs, University of Cincinnati
  • 2002-2004 – Christian R. Holmes Chair, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati
  • 2002-2004 – Dean, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati
  • 2004-2006 – Donald C. Harrison Chair (inaugural recipient of endowed Chair), University of Cincinnati
  • 2006-2009 – Associate Director, National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
  • 2006-2009 – Director, Office of Translational Research, NIEHS 2006-2009
  • 2009-2013 – Associate Director for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda MD   
  • 2013-2019 – Dean, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University
  • 2013-2020 – Professor of Public Health, The Ohio State University
  • 2020-present – Emeritus Professor of Public Health, The Ohio State University

1970 – B.S., Marquette University

1974 – M.D., University of Minnesota

1979 – M.S., Mayo Graduate School of Medicine

Policies from People, for People

One important generator of policy is the lived experiences of actual people, especially during times of immense need. Gathering these insights is one thrust of Professor Wilson’s work, an approach that can loosely be described as “Policies from People, for People.” IGPA has developed innovations to help lift the voices of actual people, including the Citizen Scientist Journaling Project and the surveys of panels of experts, the Pandemic Stress Indicator Project, led by Professor Brian Gaines. These initiatives especially resonate with elected officials because they mirror an important generator of policy—constituent feedback—with a rigorous, systematic process that reaches across the entire state or region.

Dialogues on Tolerance

Many culture war clashes need not be a war at all: antiquated laws trap us into deciding to preference one interest over another when, in fact, they can be melded. Millennials and Generation Z are actively bridging culture war divides, which is no surprise since they have grown up with unprecedented diversity and openness to one another. If we are to heal a fractured society, we should amplify their voices and learn from them. The Tolerance Means Dialogues (TMD), a project co-founded with Yale University Professor William N. Eskridge, Jr., generates dialogue around deeply contested questions in civil society by hosting Dialogues at colleges and universities across the nation, offering scholarships to essay winners who provide the most compelling advice on what tolerance means to them and how to live together in a diverse society. This important work is made possible by a gift from Templeton Religion Trust.

$500,000 MacArthur Grant

Professors Wilson, Mendenhall, and others are now working to expand the Citizen Scientists approach through a new project: Centering Youth’s Health and Wellness: Designing a Third Reconstruction and Chicago Renaissance. This project seeks to create a culture of innovation that centers on the health and wellness of Black and Latinx high school students and young adults (up to age 21) living in Chicago. These students and young adults will also act as Community Health Workers and Citizen Scientists to document health disparities and offer solutions, with a generous grant of $500,000 from the MacArthur Foundation.

16 Citizen Scientists

Together with Professor Ruby Mendenhall at UIUC, Professor Wilson has convened the Citizen Scientists Journaling on COVID-19 Project in an effort to better understand how Illinois residents have managed socially, emotionally, and economically during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sixteen Illinois residents journaled here once a week for six months. The project drew from those most affected by the pandemic—older persons; persons presently incarcerated; persons in rural communities; members of the homeless community; and members of the Black, Latinx, and LGBT communities, and more. These individuals’ journals teach lessons about community, faith, resilience, halting progress, overcoming—and even the efficacy of public policies being put in place in real-time by a government struggling to mitigate impacts on people.

Access to Justice

In a collaboration between the National Center for State Courts and IGPA, Professors Wilson, Jason Mazzone, and Brian Gaines have launched a large-scale examination of how pandemic-related changes to court operations impacted cases and access to the legal system: the COVID-19 and the Operation of Courts Project. A national survey – constructed after two dozen focus groups in Illinois, South Carolina, and Ohio with judges, lawyers, litigants, jurors, and court staff – is presently in the field. The goal is to determine what has worked and what hasn’t. A key preliminary finding is that when court proceedings move online, digital divides exacerbate problems of access to justice. Learning not only from presiding judges, court personnel, and attorneys, but also from litigants themselves, the project is documenting innovative approaches like kiosks pioneered by some jurisdictions to overcome the digital divide.

Medicalization of Poverty

Professor Wilson co-convened with University of Virginia Professor Lois Shepherd the Medicalization of Poverty Symposium, published in the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics. The Symposium brings together experts in medicine, law, policy, and ethics to explore the connection between poverty, disease burden, and healthcare expenditures. A number of diseases are strongly linked to poverty, and poverty is a strong predictor of health status. A second aspect of poverty is less well-explored: we spend inordinate amounts of money and other resources to address healthcare needs brought on by poverty instead of providing for the tangible needs of the poor before illness results — a phenomenon we call the Medicalization of Poverty. We treat the symptom, not the problem. Rather than adequately address poor housing conditions and prenatal care, we offer inhalers and NICUs. This approach comes at both a financial and a human cost. The Symposium asks, “How Can We Do Better?” In 2021, the Medicalization of Poverty was published as a book in China with Professor Lois Shepherd and Professor Lei (David) Shi, associate professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law.

Fairness for All

Professor Wilson founded the Fairness for All Initiative to provide tangible support and advice to thought-leaders, stakeholders, policymakers, and state and local legislators who seek balanced approaches that respect both LGBT rights and religious freedom. Made possible by the generous support of the Templeton Religion Trust, Professor Wilson’s work draws extensively on her experience assisting the Utah Legislature when it enacted its landmark 2015 nondiscrimination laws. The Fairness for All bill, H.R.5331, introduced in December 2019, draws on Professor Wilson’s policy proposals relating to foster care and adoption.

Recent Publications

Up Next

No Content Available
No Content Available


2019 Sir William Osler Award from OSU College of Medicine, Medicine, and Arts Board
2007 NIH Director’s Award, National Institutes of Health
2005 The President’s Volunteer Service Award (Hurricane Katrina relief with Project Hope/ U.S. Navy Joint Partnership)
2004 Grand Marshal, 32nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial March and Ceremony, Cincinnati, OH
2003 Inaugural recipient of William J. Martin II Leadership Award given annually by the American Thoracic Society and Public Advisory Roundtable
2002 Sagamore of the Wabash Award, Highest honor for citizen of Indiana, presented by Indiana Governor O’Bannon


Policy Work

Informed Consent for Unauthorized Pelvic Exams, 2003-present

Since January 1, 2019, Professor Wilson and a team of students have been supporting legislative...
Read More

Access to Justice During COVID-19 and Beyond

In collaboration between the National Center for State Courts and IGPA, Professors Wilson, Jason Mazzone,...
Read More

Fairness for All Initiative, University of Illinois College of Law, 2016-present

Together with Utah Senate President J. Stuart Adams, Professor Wilson has conducted Fairness for All...
Read More

Centering Youth’s Health and Wellness:  Designing a Third Reconstruction and Chicago Renaissance

Professors Wilson, Mendenhall, and others are now working to expand the Citizen Scientists approach through...
Read More

Tolerance Means Dialogue, University of Illinois College of Law, 2016-present

TMD provides scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students for exploring the meaning of tolerance in...
Read More

Landmark LGBT Nondiscrimination Laws and Ban on Gay Conversion Therapy, 2015-2019

Professor Wilson’s work on balanced measures that respect religious freedom on questions central to many...
Read More