Ford School mourns the loss of Rebecca Copeland

July 20, 2021

We are deeply saddened to share that Rebecca Copeland (MPP/MPH '21) tragically passed away on July 15 during a flash flood while she was traveling on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park. Family and friends gathered on Monday, July 19, to celebrate her life at the North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park, Illinois.

“Rebecca was an extraordinarily bright and passionate person who was dedicated to social justice, with a focus on improving health care affordability, access and quality for everyone,” said Paula Lantz, associate dean for academic affairs at the Ford School in an email to MLive. “The entire U-M Ford School and School of Public Health communities are devastated by this tragedy, grieving the loss of Rebecca for her family and friends and for all the people and communities she was eager to serve.”

Read more about Rebecca in an article from MLIVE here

Rebecca just graduated in May with her MPP from the Ford School and her MPH degree in Health Management and Policy from the School of Public Health.  A devoted advocate for health care excellence and equity, Rebecca was about to begin a dream job with the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation. 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Rebecca A. Copeland Fund for Social Justice in c/o Neal Price, 520 Lake Cook Rd. Suite 520, Deerfield, IL 60015. To leave condolences and for information: Shalom Memorial Funeral Home 847-255-3520 or More information can be found here:

Rebecca's classmates and teachers at the Ford School and the School of Public Health are planning a gathering in Ann Arbor to honor and celebrate her; more information will be shared soon.