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Institute of Metropolitan Affairs


Kathleen Kane-Willis

Interim Director, Institute for Metropolitan Affairs at Roosevelt University
Director, Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy

Kathie Kane-Willis is the co-founder and director of the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy, a research and policy institute housed at Roosevelt University, which she created in 2005.  Kathie, a former heroin user, has trended the increase in heroin use since 2004.   Her work focuses on promoting health based solutions to drug use, ensuring that individuals with substance use disorders are restored to useful citizenship, including the removal of barriers related to employment, education, housing and healthcare. Kathie has worked extensively towards harm reduction policy solutions to the heroin and opioid crisis, including  “Good Samaritan” immunity laws and naloxone access laws in Midwestern states  Additionally, her work strives to reduce the collateral damage that the criminal justice system creates for those who use drugs as well as to reduce the racial disparity of those charged with drug offenses. Kane-Willis has received numerous awards for her research and advocacy work on behalf on individuals who are impacted by substance use and the criminal justice system.  


Kane-Willis has designed and taught several classes at both the graduate and undergraduate levels related to drugs at the intersection of different social spheres including  sociology, economics, and criminal justice at Roosevelt University and Adler University.   Kathie also serves as the chair for the Women’s Committee for Illinois Advisory Council on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependency, is the advisor and mentor for Roosevelt University's chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), and is a member of the steering committee of Mom’s United to End the War on Drugs. She also supervises and mentors students every semester through research assistantships with the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy.