Peter Orris

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Peter Orris

Peter Orris serves as Professor and Associate Director of the Great Lakes Center for Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health of the University Of Illinois School Of Public Health (a World Health Organization Collaborating Center) and is the Director of its Occupational Health Service Institute and Global Toxics Policy Program. He maintains an active clinical and teaching practice in Occupational Medicine and is the chief of the clinical department at the University of Illinois Medical Center. He is a Senior Attending physician in the Division of Occupational Medicine at the Stroger Hospital of Cook County (formerly Cook County Hospital) where he has been for close to 35 years.

He lives in Chicago with his wife, a recently retired pediatrician[1].

He is the brother of Maxine Orris, and the son of the late Leo Orris.


Peter Orris[2]graduated Harvard College in 1967, Yale School of Public Health in 1970, and the Chicago Medical School of the Rosalind Franklin University in 1975.

SDS leader

In the mid 1960s Peter Orris was a leader of Harvard Students for a Democratic Society[3].

Chicago Area Committee on Occupational Safety and Health

The Chicago Area Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (CACOSH) was founded in 1972 as a not-for-profit-organization of unions and health and legal professionals. The founders included Quentin Young, MD, Lou Pardo -IAM Tool & Die Makers; Peter Orris MD; and Frank Rosen –UE among others.

Young, Orris and Rosen all had some affiliation to the Communist Party USA.

CACOSH was the first COSH group in the country and provided the inspiration and model for the 18 groups now working in all parts of the nation.

In 1972, Quentin Young's Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR) sponsored a conference in conjunction with area unions and health professionals. CACOSH grew out of that conference, because local union members decided that they needed an organization, run by union members, that would give them ongoing help on job safety and health problems.

The CACOSH motto was “No one is going to solve our problems for us, we had to do it ourselves.” The health professionals in MCHR helped educate union members about what their jobs were doing to their health.

CACOSH grew from a handful of people in a few local and district unions to an organization of more than 50 locals from 20 different international unions. Thousands of workers have participated in CACOSH and benefited from the education and training they have provided, and have shared their skills and knowledge with each other[4].

Illinois Communist Party

In 1976 Peter Orris was nominated as a candidate for the Illinois Communist Party USA as an elector for the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates of the Communist Party USA, Gus Hall and Jarvis Tyner.[5]

Communist Party reformer

In 1991 Peter Orris, Illinois, was one of several hundred Communist Party USA members to sign the a paper "An initiative to Unite and Renew the Party" - most signatories left the Party after the December 1991 conference to found Committees of Correspondence.[6]

Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights

In 1992 Peter Orris was a member of the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights, a long time front for the Communist Party USA, then dominated by members of the newly formed Committees of Correspondence.[7]

CoC National Conference endorser

In 1992 Peter Orris, governing council American Public Health Association, Chicago, endorsed the Committees of Correspondence national conference Conference on Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the 90s held at Berkeley California July 17-19.[8]

Conference on Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the 90s

The Conference on Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the 90s was the Committees of Correspondence's first national conference held in Berkeley, California July 17-19, 1992.[9]

Workshops that were held at the conference on Saturday, July 18 included:[10]

Health The challenge to our health. What next in the struggle for national health care? The fight against aids and infant mortality and for a rational system of preventative medicine for all

Committees of Correspondence connection

In 1994 Peter Orris, Chicago was listed on a "Membership, Subscription and Mailing List" for the Chicago Committees of Correspondence, an offshoot of the Communist Party USA.[11]

Committees of Correspondence 2002 Conference

At the Committees of Correspondence National Conference and Convention, July 25-28, 2002 San Francisco State University.

Disarmament and the Military Budget. Panelists included: Kenneth Riley, David Bacon,, Marilyn Albert, Renee Saucedo, Angela Sambrano, Cathi Tactaquin, Marty Price, Patrice Sewell, Joan Cohen, Claire Carsman, James Campbell, Peter Orris, Thelma Correll, Edith Pollach, Amaha Kassa, Harry Targ, Steve Williams, Karen Talbot, Mort Frank, David Cohen.[12]

Tribute to Golub and Montgomery

On November 16, 1989, Peter Orris was listed as a sponsor of the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights Tribute to Leon Golub and Lucy Montgomery, held at the Congress Hotel, Chicago.[13]

Medical Activism

Peter Orris[14] is an advisor to the International Association of Fire Fighters, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, UNITE HERE, the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, several corporations in the Chicago area, as well as to Greenpeace USA's Toxics Campaign.

On an international level he has been an advisor to the World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization and Health Care Without Harm. Currently, Dr. Orris is the Director of the Human Health Effects of Chemicals Project of the World Federation of Public Health Associations and is active with the Working Group on Heath Safety and the Environment of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU).

He has a long history of advocacy for elimination of profits and racism in health care and opposing corporate policies that poison the environment of the developing world.

Peter Orris serves on the Board of Physicians for Responsible Negotiations- SEIU, is a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility, a founder and member of Physicians for a National Health Program and an active member of the American Public Health Association. He is the chair of the Public Health Committee of the Chicago Medical Society and a delegate to the Illinois State Medical Society.

Dr Orris is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and holds additional faculty appointments as a Professor of Internal and Preventive Medicine at Rush University Medical College and Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Medical School.

He has edited and authored numerous articles, book chapters and governmental reports in the field of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Richard Criley Memorial

In 2000, Peter Orris served on the welcoming committee for the Chicago Memorial Service for Richard Criley, a long-time activist with the Communist Party USA and a leader of the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights.[15]

Cuban healthcare

On April 24 2007 at the School of The Art Institute Auditorium, Chicago Dr Peter Orris of Stroger Hospital, activist Mildred Williamson and author Debra Evenson held a discussion[16]following the screening of "Salud" a documentary exploring Cuba’s healthcare system & global initiatives...

Involvement with Quentin Young

Peter Orris serves on the advisory board of the National Physicians Alliance with Quentin Young[17].

Cuba: Reportback from Havana

Cuba: Reportback from Havana conference on travel and Trump policies

The CCDS Socialist Education Project 4th Monday Monthly Discussion Monday, November 27, 2017.

Sonic attacks. Hurricanes. Diplomat expulsions. Danger warnings to U.S. citizens. New Trump administration restrictions on people-to-people travel.

What are the facts and how do we respond? How do we promote travel to Cuba that is responsible and ethical?

These were the questions that framed a 2-day conference in Havana in September for the founding of a new travel association called RESPECT - Responsible and Ethical Cuba Travel. The conference was under way when the Trump administration announced it would impose new travel restrictions and warned U.S. citizens not to travel to Cuba.

You are invited to a discussion with three veteran friends of Cuba that attended the Havana RESPECT conference:


  5. 1976 Communist Party Electoral Petition.
  6. Addendum to Initiative document
  7. CCDBR 1992 membership list
  8. CCDS Background
  9. Conference program
  10. Proceedings of the Committees of Correspondence Conference: Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the '90s booklet, printed by CoC in NY, Sept. 1992 (Price: $4)
  11. Chicago CoC "Membership, Subscription and Mailing List" 10.14.94
  12. [The Corresponer Vol 10, number 1, June 2002]
  13. Tribute to Golub and Montgomery: Program, Nov. 16, 1989
  15. Memoriam Service Program, 2000
  18. [1]