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Volunteers at the Day of Service and Reflection Employee teamwork at the annual Day of Service and Reflection (DOSAR): Volunteers spread mulch at a local community garden.

» Chicago's South Side
» Community Engagement
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Chicago's South Side

Aerial view of the South Side of Chicago

With its sprawling boundaries spanning a historically rich epicenter, Chicago's South Side is a storied and unique collection of vibrant, resilient, culturally rich and diverse neighborhoods. Steeped in African-American heritage and history, the South Side is nourished by deep social bonds and anchored by vital community and faith-based organizations. Chicago's South Side offers a host of unique cultural and economic amenities -- from White Sox baseball to the McCormick Place exhibition complex -- and serves as a hub for the arts and music.

Located in the Hyde Park neighborhood, the University of Chicago Medicine is an anchor on the South Side. The medical campus is surrounded by neighborhoods experiencing unprecedented levels of growth and redevelopment -- Woodlawn, North Kenwood/Oakland, and beyond -- leading to an ever-broadening network of communities and blurring the borders that once isolated Hyde Park from its neighbors. The results are a progressively richer culture and a shared appreciation for life on the South Side.

Girls playing a game at a block party

However, against this backdrop lies one of the nation's largest underserved communities where residents are disproportionately afflicted by complicated health issues. Inadequate access to care, widespread chronic conditions and poor health outcomes run rampant on Chicago's South Side. Addressing the health needs of the community is essential to improve residents' quality of life. Yet, these issues are tangentially rooted in a nexus of socio-economic and environmental circumstances that lie beyond the point of medical care: low income, truncated education, an elevated incidence of violent crime, unemployment rates among the highest in the nation and chronic underinvestment.

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UChicago Medicine is committed to improving health and access to quality care for the South Side of Chicago through a myriad of approaches that support community engagement and collaboration. The medical center defines its service area as the communities it serves on the South Side. Specifically, UChicago Medicine has identified 12 zip codes that broadly span 31 neighborhoods, consisting of over 650,000 people. The medical center is committed to enhancing the health and wellness of residents living in these communities.

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Community Engagement

Little girl joins UChicago Medicine zumba class at the African Festival Certified Zumba instructor Donna Christian-Harris, RN, NP, FNP, teaches a class at the African Festival of the Arts Health and Wellness Pavilion.

UChicago Medicine's Office of Community Affairs (OCA) was established to promote and facilitate engagement and collaboration between the medical center and South Side communities. Under the framework of asset-based community development, UChicago Medicine’s philosophy is to partner with and leverage the strengths and talents of existing community assets to improve local health and well-being.

UChicago Medicine employees and volunteers huddle Annual Day of Service and Reflection (DOSAR): During this all-hands-on-deck event, employees and their families deploy to South Side community worksites.

Within OCA, Community Relations and Volunteer Services focus respectively on promoting health education/partnerships in the community and volunteerism dedicated to the care of patients. The Community Relations team strengthens relationships between UChicago Medicine and the community to foster and promote collaborative community-based programs and initiatives for residents on the South Side. These efforts are conducted in tandem with the medical center’s Urban Health Initiative, and are dedicated to creating partnerships and providing information to empower South Side residents around increasing healthy lifestyles and reducing health disparities. This commitment extends to offering ongoing support groups, providing community-based seminars and information, and delivering prevention and wellness services. Learn more about our community programs and community events.

Request Outreach Services for Your Event
Outreach Services Request Form (PDF)
Community Relations Brochure (PDF)

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Community Benefit

Dr. Anna Volerman-Beaser examines young female patient Anna Volerman-Beaser, MD, examines a young asthma patient.
Population health: Health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group.

UChicago Medicine believes in the overall health of a community -- not just an individual. Health is multi-faceted and is determined by more than just the absence of disease. It includes the community’s physical, mental, social and environmental well-being. Under the umbrella of population health -- and in alignment with our mission to serve the health needs of the community -- the medical center is committed to enhancing health and wellness on Chicago's South Side.

» Learn more about our Community Benefit Program.

Through the 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), the following health priority areas were identified: breast and colorectal cancer and diabetes for adults; obesity and asthma for children and adolescents; and, violence prevention and sexually transmitted infections/HIV. UChicago is committed to addressing these health concerns in the 12 zip codes outlined in the CHNA.

» Learn more about the CHNA and Strategic Implementation Plan.

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If you have questions about community relations:

Call: (773) 702-5600
Staff directory

If you have questions about community benefit: