|Born||1945 (age 73–74)|
|Occupation||Professor and Chief of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago|
Peter Orris (born 1945 in Los Angeles, California) is an American political activist, Medical Doctor and Professor and Chief of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago Hospital and Health Sciences System. Raised in New York City by his parents, Trudy and Leo Orris, Orris was involved with the civil rights movement from age eleven. While known contemporarily for his work in the field of medicine, Orris is also known for his work in the Civil Rights Movement.
American Civil Rights Movement
Raised by Trudy and Leo Orris, Orris was involved in several aspects of the Civil Rights Movement during his youth. His first activism within the Civil Rights Movement started at age eleven, where he participated in the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom, a nonviolent march which recognized the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court's decision, making segregation in schools illegal. As a child, Orris also participated in a political activist group called Students for a Sane Nuclear Policy in order to protest atom bomb testing. In eight grade, Orris participated in the first Youth March for Integrated Schools. In ninth grade, Orris organized a bus that took students from his high school to the second Youth March for Intergraded Schools in 1957. Later in high school, Orris would become an intern for the National Headquarters of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
While studying biology at Harvard University, Orris continued to be a political activist with several organizations fighting for civil rights, including Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the school's socialist club, Students for a Democratic Society (in which he was a leader) and the Civil Rights Coordinating Committee Orris was a master of ceremonies for a conference in Chicago which focused on resisting the draft for the Vietnam War. While a freshman in college, Orris participated in Freedom Summer in Holmes County, Mississippi. Orris was the second youngest volunteer with the Freedom Summer coordinated in large part by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Orris went through two weeks of training in Oxford, Ohio, immediately after the murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner. Orris was trained by civil rights leaders such as Bob Moses. Once in Holmes County, Mississippi, Orris focused on voter registration campaigns. Orris brought walkie talkies down to Mississippi with him as a means of communication with his fellow SNCC workers in rural Mississippi, unbeknownst to SNCC headquarters. After SNCC found out this was effective, Orris worked with an engineer on behalf of SNCC to install two-way radios in all SNCC cars and in farms which had no other means of communication. They installed 50 radio communication devices while in Mississippi. Despite ongoing violence within the region, no communicators were broken, and no full-time SNCC staff members in Mississippi were killed that summer.
While working in Freedom Summer, Orris was arrested for his work in the Civil Rights Movement, and was held in jail for ten days in a LeFlore County, Mississippi jail; charges included disturbing the peace and picketing at a courthouse. While in jail, he planned and staged a hunger strike for four or five days. Orris also participated in the Democratic National Convention where he and Fannie Lou Hamer, Unita Blackwell, Ed King, Victoria Gray Adams and Aaron Henry staged a sit in at the Democratic National Convention in hopes to receive delegate seats on behalf of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. While unsuccessful, the sit in done by the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party left longstanding impacts on the civil rights movement.
Orris is a proponent for single-payer healthcare. In Chicago, Orris called for the Chicago Medical Society to study the creation of single-payer healthcare plans. In 2004, Orris attended the 46th annual Eugene V. Debs- Norman Thomas- Michael Harrington Dinner, which was titled "Building the Dump Bush Movement. In 2015, Orris signed a letter with other doctors in support of hunger strikers with the Coalition to revitalize Dyett High School, a group with was working to make the Chicago School System work towards "Global Leadership and Green Technology" within Dyett High School. Orris was also involved in Greenpeace, as well as a faculty advisor of the Physicians for a National Health Plan Chapter at the University of Illinois Chicago. In 2015, Orris spoke at "Beyond the Affordable Care Act: Lessons from Other Countries", an event ran by the Healthcare Access Coalition. Orris has been an advisor to a number of international health organizations, including the World Health Organization, Pan American Health Associations, and Healthcare without Harm.
After graduating from Harvard with a degree in Biology, Orris continued his education at Yale University, graduating with a degree in Public Health in 1970. Later, he would continue to Chicago Medical School, where he would graduate with a Doctorate of Medicine in 1975. Orris also held residencies at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County for internal medicine and preventative medicine. Orris is also certified in Occupational Medicine by the American Board of Preventive Medicine.
Orris has held a number of positions in the medical field, including Regional NIOSH/CDC Medical Officer for the Midwest, Medical Director of the Mount Sinai Medical Center and Northwest Community Hospital occupational medical programs, and physician in the Department of Medicine at Cook County Hospital.
Orris was also a representative of the World Federation of Public Health Associations at the second session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management with the World Health Organization.
Orris is currently a Professor and Chief of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of Illinois in Chicago Hospital and Health Sciences System. In addition, he served as a collaborative researcher for Healthcare without Harm (US and Canada Branch). Orris also serves as the Board President of the Chicago Organizing Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Specialty projects Orris has worked with include studying Dioxin levels in Lake Charles, Maryland, where he studied the effect Dioxin had on ADD and ADHD within the area. While working with the World Health Organization, he provided technical guidance in replacing mercury based thermometers with different ones. Orris also authored the World Federation of Public Health Association's May 2000 report on "Persistent Organic Pollutants and Human Health", which speaks on the dangers of persistent organic pollutants. Orris has worked with a number of small communities, studying pollutants and environmental concerns, including a study in New Sarpy, Louisiana, where he studied the relationship between chemical exposure and illness within the neighborhood.
Orris was an attendee of every negotiating session of a global treaty to eliminate mercury from thermometers globally, which has resulted in the phasing out of mercury based thermometers by 2020.
Awards and honors
Orris has received a number of awards for his activism and work in the medical community, including the Paul Cornely Award at the Health Activist Dinner, a keynote speaker at the 2007 conference of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, and a Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Global Health from the 5th World Congress on Public Health in 2017.
- Rachal, John. "Oral history with Dr. Peter Orris :Oral History". digilib.usm.edu. University of Southern Mississippi. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- Rachal, John. "Oral history with Dr. Peter Orris: Oral History". digilib.usm.edu. University of Southern Mississippi. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "Peter Orris Occupational & Environmental Medicine". hospital.uillinois.edu. University of Illinois. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "Eyes on the Prize Interviews Collection". digital.wustl.edu. Blackside. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom, Washington, D.C." crdl.usg.edu. Civil Rights Digital Library. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- NPR Staff. "'A People's History' Of The March On Washington". NPR.org. National Public Radio. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- Hampton, Henry; Fayer, Steve (3 August 2011). "Voices of Freedom: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s Through the 1980s". Random House Publishing Group. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "The Vietnam Center and Archive" (PDF). Texas Tech University. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
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- Marshall, James P. (2013). "Student Activism and Civil Rights in Mississippi: Protest Politics and the Struggle for Racial Justice, 1960–1965". LSU Press. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "Eyes on the Prize Interviews Collection". digital.wustl.edu. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "Education & Resources - National Women's History Museum - NWHM". www.nwhm.org. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "Chicago Medicine- A Year in Review (2014)" (PDF). Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- Miller, Rick. "Doctor points to insurance for woes | Physicians for a National Health Program". Physicians for a National Health Program. Physicians for a National Health Program. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- PNHP Staff. "Chicago Medical Society calls for study of single payer Physicians for a National Health Program". Physicians for a National Health Plan. Physicians for a National Health Plan. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "Defeating the Most Dangerous President Ever: Building the Dump Bush Movement" (PDF). Chicagodsa. Chicagodsa. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "Education Activists Go On Hunger Strike Over Dyett High School's Future Progress Illinois". progressillinois.com. Progress Illinois. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "Intelligence Analysis for DOW Global Trends Tracking Team: Activists, Issues and Trends" (PDF). Mother Jones. Mother Jones. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "Health care and civil rights advocate to share 'Beyond the Affordable Care Act: Lessons from Other Countries'". sbu.edu.
- "Speakers Bureau - Midwest Physicians for a National Health Program". Physicians for a National Health Program. Physicians for a National Health Program. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "Peter Orris, MD, MPH: Faculty Profile: Faculty Profiles: Feinberg School of Medicine: Northwestern University". www.feinberg.northwestern.edu. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "Dr. Peter Orris, MD". health.usnews.com. US News. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "Peter Orris Occupational & Environmental Medicine". hospital.uillinois.edu. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "WHO Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM): Health Sector Focus". www.who.int. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "Health Care Without Harm". noharm-uscanada.org. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "Chicago Physicians for Social Responsibility". www.chicagopsr.org. Chicago Physicians for Social Responsibility. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "Intelligence Analysis for DOW Global Trends Tracking Team: Activists, Issues and Trend" (PDF). Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- Orris, Peter; Shimek, Jo Anna; Emmanuel, Jorge; Chartier, Yves. "Replacement of mercury thermometers and sphygmomanometers in health care" (PDF). Replacement of mercury thermometers and sphygmomanometers in health care. WHO. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "Program Information - Loving the Earth Environmental Revolution: Peter Orris, MD, Internationally Recognized Public Health Expert Speaks on Scientific Basis for POPs Exposure Reduction Interventions". www.radio4all.net. Retrieved 28 May 2017..
- "World renowned toxicologist conducts first-ever health study of New Sarpy community". Louisiana Bucket Brigade. Louisiana Bucket Brigade. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "Dr. Peter Orris Receives Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Global Health Global Green and Healthy Hospitals". www.greenhospitals.net. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "Health Activist Dinner". www.healthactivistdinner.org. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "Dr. Peter Orris to Present Keynote Address at 3rd Annual Asbestos Awareness Day Conference". www.businesswire.com. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- "CAHA congratulates Dr Peter Orris". Climate and Health Alliance. Retrieved 28 May 2017.