Quentin Young

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Quentin David Young
Born(1923-09-05)5 September 1923
DiedMarch 7, 2016(2016-03-07) (aged 92)
Alma materHyde Park High School,
University of Chicago

Quentin David Young (September 5, 1923 – March 7, 2016) was an American physician who was recognized for his efforts in advocating for single-payer health care in the United States. An activist who opposed the Vietnam War and worked on the Civil Rights Movement, Young was best known for speaking out about social justice in the realm of health policy. Dr. Young died on March 7, 2016, in California.

Education and career[edit]

Young was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Sarah Wolf and Abraham Young, a real estate salesman. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe.[1] He attended Hyde Park High School, the University of Chicago, and Northwestern University Medical School.[2] He interned at Cook County Hospital in 1947 and did his residency there.[3]

He was a founder and served as National Chairman of the Medical Committee for Human Rights, which was formed in June 1964 to provide medical care for civil rights workers, community activists, and summer volunteers working in Mississippi during Freedom Summer.[4] Quentin Young and MCHR also volunteered and helped set up Black Panthers and Young Lords health clinics and provided emergency medical care to protesters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. In October 1968 he was called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee about his knowledge of the DNC protests.[5]

Young was Chairman of Medicine at Cook County Hospital in Chicago from 1972 to 1981.

Young founded Health and Medicine Policy Research Group in 1980, and for many years was Chairman of the Board of that organization.

Young was President of American Public Health Association in 1988.

In April 2008, Young retired from his private practice in Hyde Park, Chicago, which he co-ran with fellow activist David Scheiner. For many years was the national coordinator for Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP).

April 17. 2009, Appointed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to Chair the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. From 1967-2008 he was senior physician of Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center.

He died on March 7, 2016 in California.[6] Dr. Young was survived by five children: Nancy, Polly, Ethan, Barbara and Michael.

Positions of note[edit]

The public's physician[edit]

Young appeared regularly at public health events and was considered the de facto authority on public health in Chicago. He was a frequent guest on Chicago Public Radio, especially the weekday news magazine program Eight Forty-Eight. The medical Students for Human Rights worked with him to set up several free neighborhood clinics in Chicago including the Black Panthers and Young Lords. clinics.

Efforts for single-payer healthcare[edit]

According to Young, "national health insurance is no longer the best solution, it's the only solution: All other alternatives have been proven disastrous failures."[7]

Young has worked with Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) since 1987, a Chicago-based not-for-profit organization. He was the National Coordinator for PNHP.

Activism during the Bush administration[edit]

NSA domestic surveillance[edit]

In May 2006, Young signed on as a plaintiff in a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against AT&T, alleging that the telecommunications company provided its customers' phone records to the United States government without a court-issued warrant. Young joined historian and author Studs Terkel who was also a plaintiff in the case. This suit was part of the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy, during which it was reported that the National Security Agency was maintaining a database of phone calls placed domestically in the United States.

Medical savings accounts[edit]

Young is an outspoken opponent of medical savings account (MSAs), a public health policy promoted by President George W. Bush. Young calls them a "scam on American patients and taxpayers," and "based on the incorrect assumption that Americans are addicts for health care and that if there isn’t a dollar barrier, they’ll overconsume. In fact, Americans get fewer doctors’ visits than people in countries with universal health care."[8]

Illinois Sports Facilities Authority Scandal[edit]

In November, 2012 at age of 89, Young was the last-minute appointment of his long-time political associate Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn, to displace the Latino incumbent. Young agreed to the appointment for the sole purpose of voting to install a young white aide of the governor to the directorship of the state sports authority. The governor's candidate, a former television reporter, won the position with Young's support in a contentious vote of the authority's board despite her demonstrated history of financial mismanagement including filing for personal bankruptcy due to excessive credit card expenditures to luxury retailers such as Bloomingdales. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his appointees had sought to appoint the African American former CFO of Sara Lee Corp, a Yale graduate and criticized the move to install an individual whose incompetence could subject Illinois' taxpayers to significant financial liability[9] Young stayed on the board until 2015.



  1. ^ Roberts, Sam (March 17, 2016). "Dr. Quentin D. Young, Public Health and Civil Rights Advocate, Dies at 92". New York Times. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  2. ^ O'Donnell, Maureen; Dudek, Mitch (8 March 2016). "Dr. Quentin D. Young, 'Tiger for Social Justice,' Dies at 92". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 13 March 2016. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  3. ^ Lewis 1994
  4. ^ DailyKos, December 15, 2008 Archived January 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ [1] Chicago '68: A Chronology
  6. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/quentin-young-chicago-doctor-and-social-activist-dies-at-92/2016/03/08/444f0272-e55d-11e5-b0fd-073d5930a7b7_story.html
  7. ^ USA Today 2005
  8. ^ Physician's Weekly 2006
  9. ^ http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-11-01/news/chi-quinn-spokeswoman-approved-as-sports-authority-director-20121101_1_pat-quinn-kraft-quentin-young


  • Lewis, Sydney (1994). Hospital: An Oral History of Cook County Hospital. ISBN 0-425-15452-1.

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