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Community Programs

Smiling little girl painting on a wall Student paints a mural during a service project

The University of Chicago Medicine partners with the community to provide health-focused programs on a regular basis. The primary purpose of these programs is to further improve the health of residents on the South Side. These programs highlight many of the University of Chicago Medicine’s partnerships with community organizations and showcase the variety of programs offered in the community.

Select a health area of interest to see a listing of relevant community-based programs that the University of Chicago Medicine and the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital currently offer.

Access to Care

Access Community Health Network (ACCESS) Grand Boulevard Health and Specialty Center

Through this partnership with one of the nation’s largest community health systems in the country, University of Chicago Medicine faculty provide primary and specialty care at one of the ACCESS sites on the South Side of Chicago.

Community Affiliated Faculty

Support to four family doctors who are employed at the SSHC Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). Family doctors use this time for teaching, research, and administrative activities. This program allows these community doctors to pursue academic interests related to improving the care of underserved patients on the South Side of Chicago while continuing to provide patient care in the FQHCs.

CommunityHealth: Access to Healthcare-Englewood Clinic

Grant funds to support overall operations at Englewood clinic including staff, supplies, medications, educational materials, etc.

ECHO-Chicago (The Project Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes)

An innovative effort to expand access to specialized care for vulnerable, underserved communities. By using advanced communications technology to bring academic medical center expertise together with primary care providers on the ground, ECHO enables underserved patients to receive state-of-the-art, evidence-based care for complex chronic conditions within the familiar surroundings of their medical home. The ECHO model provides a robust, efficient and cost-effective solution to access to care.

Fresh Start Caring for Kids Foundation (Fresh Start)

The University of Chicago Medicine partners with the Fresh Start to provide no-cost reconstructive surgical care to children from low income families with congenital and acquired physical deformities .

Health 4 Chicago (H4C)

A joint program between the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois, Health4Chicago committed to promoting student health in Chicago schools through the provision of childhood and adolescent immunizations.


Creates a personalized list of community programs and services matched to patients’ health and wellness needs. The HealtheRx also connects patients to a community health information specialist, and other health, social, and wellness resources in the area.

Health Leads: Operating Support for Health Leads Chicago

Grant funds to support linguistically diverse, skilled, and motivated college student advocates (many of whom are University of Chicago undergraduates) as they mobilize a robust inventory of reliable community resources to improve the health of Chicago families and connect patients to resources.

Medical Home and Specialty Care Connections Program (Patient Advocates)

Designed to connect South Side residents to community health centers and doctors who can provide preventive care, regular treatment for non-emergency health conditions, long-term management of chronic disease and referrals to specialists.

Night Ministry: Outreach and Health Ministry Program

Grant funds to the Night Ministry’s Outreach and Health Ministry Program to address access to health care, prevention of emergency room visits and chronic disease management (including diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, etc.)

Pediatric Mobile Medical Unit

The University of Chicago Medicine Pediatric Mobile Medical Unit takes primary care to children in its surrounding neighborhoods. The Pediatric Mobile Medical Unit offers a unique service to Chicago's South Side. The mobile unit reaches children ages three to 19 who may not receive healthcare on a regular basis.

Repayment for Education to Alumni in Community Health (REACH)

Provides financial support for graduates of the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine who complete a residency in primary care or much-needed specialties and then return to practice medicine at a FQHC or a community hospital in the medical center's primary service area.

Service Education Reflection Volunteerism Elective (SERVE)

Promotes sustainable community service in the fourth year of medical school. Pritzker students receive elective credit as they return to the student run free clinics and community education outreach programs they volunteered in as first and second year medical students.

South Side Healthcare Collaborative (SSHC)

The collaboration between the University of Chicago Medicine and a network of over 30 Federally Qualified Health Centers, Free and Charitable Clinics, and community hospitals. The SSHC focuses on advancing the capabilities of its members, through service, education, networking and advocacy. These provider organizations are located across the South Side of Chicago.

Student Run Free Clinics

Pritzker School of Medicine students and physicians provide free health services at four student-run free clinics. The clinics provide access to medical care for underserved patients in four different areas of Chicago. Purely medical student run, they do all administration duties and bring in faculty to treat patients.



Alliance of the SouthEast: Germano Millgate Asthma Incident Reduction (GM AIR)

Grant funded project aims to address and reduce the asthma triggers within the 344-unit Germano Millgate housing complex and to ultimately reduce the number of asthma-related incidents.

Chicago Asthma Consortium: Comprehensive School-Based Approach to Improve Asthma Outcomes

Grant funded program pilot program of a comprehensive asthma program within a charter public school on the South Side of Chicago consisting of three parts: screening and referral, education, and policy.

Maria Shelter: BREATHE

Grant funded collaboration with the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine students with the faculty team running the Maria Shelter Clinic to pilot Building Responsible Englewood Asthma Treatment, Health, and Education (BREATHE) to improve asthma care for homeless adults and children. BREATHE aims to distribute asthma medication to those in need, increase proficiency in the use of asthma medication and peak flow meters, and increase health insurance enrollment and use of primary care providers.

Respiratory Health Association

Southside Asthma Management Project. Grant funded program to educate children on the South Side through Fight Asthma Now© and their adult caregivers through Asthma Management programs. This will involve educating children with asthma and their adult caregivers’ on early recognition of asthma symptoms, common triggers, emergency care, proper inhaler use, and medications.

St. Bernard Hospital and Health Care Center: Pediatric Asthma Clinic

Grant funded addition of a patient advocate position to bolster the work within the Pediatric Asthma Clinic. In this role the patient advocate will identify asthma patients and provide care coordination, educate and assist patients/caregivers with asthma, and assist patients with identifying and mitigating home and environmental asthma triggers.



Beyond October

The University of Chicago Medicine Breast Center, Dept of Radiology, UHI and Marketing partners with the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force to provide free screening mammograms and diagnostics to uninsured and underinsured women living in Illinois each year.

Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP)

A state funded program offering mammograms, breast exams, pelvic exams, and Pap tests to eligible women. In September 1, 2009, UHI, and the University of Chicago Medical Center’s Breast Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) Center participates in the mammography and breast cancer screening portion of the program through a referral process in partnership with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Chicago Family Health Center (CFHC), which serves as a Lead Agency for the IBCCP.

Office of Community Engagement and Cancer Disparities (OCECD)

Serves local communities through research, education, advocacy, and outreach. This is accomplished through strategic partnerships with various organizations within UChicago, as well as with community-based and faith-based organizations.


Community Building

Community Benefit Grant and Sponsorship Program

The grant program provides funds for programs working in the UChicago Service Area around health priority areas while the sponsorship program focuses on support for local not-for-profit event or fundraisers . Priority consideration is given to those grants/sponsorships that are in line with our strategic health priorities.

Day Of Service And Reflection (DOSAR)

DOSAR brings University of Chicago faculty, staff, students, friends and families into our service area for a morning of community service around South Side nonprofit organizations. It occurs each year in May with the goal to provide a service experience that both engages our employees and provides community organizations help with a meaningful project.


Through the MAPSCorps program, Meaningful Active Productive Science in service to community, high school youth are paired with science-oriented college students and work in teams and walk every block of the South Side communities, observing, collecting, cataloging, and analyzing data about all public-facing businesses and organizations to populate the database.

Southside Occupational Academy

An on-the-job training program for students with disabilities from the Southside Occupational Academy. Students work in various departments within the hospitals and are a critical part of the team of staff responsible for maintaining hospital operations. The skills they learn prepare them for jobs to support themselves in the future.

Summer Service Partnership

A full-time summer program that provides an opportunity for rising second-year Pritzker students to work intensively in one of our three partner neighborhoods: South Chicago, Greater Grand Crossing, or Woodlawn. Medical students are paired with University of Chicago college students and high school students to get to know the assets and needs of one particular community and create a sustainable service project that will make an impact in that neighborhood.

Urban Health Initiative (UHI) Summit

A biannual community wide summit to engage community members through fostering an environment for peer-to-peer learning, insightful and engaging dialogue, and collaboration that yield partnerships to improve health on Chicago's South Side.


Diabetes and Healthy Living

Asian Health Coalition: Diabetes Prevention Program for Asians in Chinatown (DPPAC)

Grant funded support for a partnership with the Chinese American Service League, this program will addresses gaps in conventional approaches to diabetes health education and disease management which are not effective when applied to the underserved limited-English proficient Asian immigrant populations due to limited opportunities for culturally and linguistically tailored health education.

Community Fitness Program

A free program in existence for over 21 years at the Museum of Science and Industry, designed to encourage healthy fitness habits and help seniors integrate a regular exercise program into your health routine

CommunityHealth: Take Action! Diabetes Management Program

A grant funded initiative that provides patients with essential information to help build self-management skills and behaviors for controlling their conditions, while simultaneously establishing and monitoring interventions and healthy outcomes at the Englewood clinic. It includes case management, diabetes education, and measurement of clinical outcomes.

Experimental Station: LINK Up Illinois

A grant funded program that seeks to increase the affordability and accessibility of nutritious foods sold at Illinois farmers markets for low-income Illinoisans, rebuilding linkages between local agricultural producers and consumers by providing farmers markets across the state and on the South Side of Chicago with funding for Double Value Coupon incentive programs for LINK Card shoppers.

Improving Diabetes Care and Outcomes on the South Side of Chicago (South Side Diabetes Project)

The project engages patients, providers, clinics, and community collaborators to improve the health care and outcomes of African-Americans on the South Side of Chicago. The program engages in a multi-pronged approach patient education and empowerment, provider workshops, quality improvement programs in clinics and community collaborations.

Picture Good Health program

Based in the South Lawndale/Little Village neighborhood of Chicago, a diabetes program that consists of eight-week series of classes led by trained community members. The participants, mostly older Latino women, all had a previous diagnosis of diabetes and were recruited from two Catholic Church communities.



Chicago Run: Chicago Runners

A grant funded school-based physical activity program that works with teachers and administrators to instill the daily habit of running/walking for children of all fitness levels and physical abilities.

Illinois African American Coalition for Prevention’s (ILAACP): MEND

Grant funded support of a partnership with Comer Children’s Hospital, the South Side YMCA and the Illinois African American Coalition for Prevention’s (ILAACP) MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do It) program, serves low-income families with obese/overweight child age seven to 13 years old. It is an intensive curriculum engaging families two hours twice a week over 10 weeks with a goal to increase physical activity, improve nutrition and decrease time spent in sedentary activities.

Namaste Charter School

Grant funded support to Namaste charter school to implements the Namaste’s Healthy Lifestyles Program, specifically designed to combat childhood obesity in the school’s low-income, traditionally underserved student population.

Power Up

This unique collaboration between Comer Children's Hospital and the White Sox is part of the hospital's ongoing initiative aimed at addressing the obesity epidemic in its neighboring South Side communities and creating models for successful programs nationwide.

Urban Initiatives: Work to Play

Grant support to intervene early in the lives of Chicago children who are at-risk for below average health and academic outcomes. It reduces pediatric obesity by increasing participants' engagement in moderate to vigorous levels of physical activity, increase participants' knowledge of health and nutrition topics, and influence participants' eating habits to include more fruits, vegetables, and water.


Sexually Transmitted Infections and Health

Chicago Center for HIV Elimination (CCHE)

Located within the hardest hit neighborhoods in Chicago provides unique opportunities to advance HIV testing and prevention interventions locally, providing tangible results to those most affected and to improve the lives of those living with and without HIV infection. 

Game Changer Chicago Design Lab

The MacArthur Foundation has partnered with the University of Chicago Medicine to advance its work developing game-based learning experiences that promote sexual and reproductive health, academic success, civic engagement and overall well-being among urban youth.


Violence Prevention

Bronzeville Dream Center

Bronzeville Dream Center focuses on strengthening the community and preventing youth delinquency, substance abuse and violence through Communities that Care. Simultaneously, by training faith leaders to provide posttrauma counseling and other support.

Cure Violence: Violence Interrupter

A disease control method to reduce violence. Trains carefully selected members of the community -- trusted insiders -- to anticipate where violence may occur and intervene before it erupts. Engages the entire community to change behavior and recognize that violence is uncool and there are other solutions to conflict.

Healing Hurt People

A trauma-informed hospital-based violence intervention model implemented in emergency pediatric settings in Chicago. It is a partnership of the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital, La Rabida Children's Hospital's Chicago Child Trauma Center, the Trauma Department of John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, and The Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice at the Drexel University School of Public Health, where the Healing Hurt People model was developed.

It Shoudda Been Me

A community play that addresses violence and teen depression through drama

KLEO: The Violence-Free Zone (VFZ)

Designed to operate in the highest risk schools in low-income urban centers with high levels of crime and violence. The initiative is unique in that it harnesses the strong positive influence of caring young adults, known as VFZ Youth Advisors, who come from the same communities and experiences as students in the schools.

Project Fire

Launched the summer of 2015, this program that uses glassblowing to help teens who have experienced violence-related trauma.


Other Health and Education Services

Burn Center

The University of Chicago Burn and Complex Wound Center is a specialized care program where patients who have sustained burn injuries and other severe wounds are treated by a unique, multidisciplinary team of experts. The Burn Center staff participates in community burn education and serves as an informational resource. Staff also participates in the annual Illinois Fire Safety Alliance Burn Camp, a summer program geared toward children with burn injuries.

Center for Community Health and Vitality (CCHV)

The research and education interface of the UHI, administering its flagship research project, the South Side Health and Vitality Studies. It spearheads a portfolio of initiatives designed to address the socio-economic and environmental determinants of health. 

Comer Children’s Hospital Trauma Center

The emergency department -- the only Level 1 Trauma Center on the South Side of Chicago -- treats more than 35,000 patients each year, including hundreds with complex trauma injuries. Fully equipped air medical transport is also available for critically injured patients in surrounding areas.

Comer Food Pantry

Alleviates food insecurity for patient families at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital.

Chicago Urban League: Scholarship Program

Grant funded supports two renewal scholarships that for youth in need to assist them with college expenses and to complete their post-secondary education. Service Learning Opportunities. Students at Pritzker have the opportunity to participate in Service-Learning activities throughout medical school: working alongside fellow students, faculty, and community members during the Days of Service; provide clinical care at our student-run free clinics; or lead health education activities at our partner schools.

Community Connections of the Institute for Translational Medicine's (ITM) Community Cluster

Works side-by-side with the Office of Community Affairs and Center for Community Health and Vitality, under the UHI, as the community research liaison. University of Chicago investigators present research projects that are or will be taking place in South Side communities to hear Community Advisory Review Council (CARC) members’ thoughts on the projects.

Community Grand Rounds

A series launched by the Center for Community Health & Vitality (CCHV), with the support of the Urban Health Initiative and the University of Chicago’s Institute for Translational Medicine. Taking place in the community setting, Community Grand Rounds aim to share the knowledge and research of the university with the community as a way to improve health on the South Side. The University of Chicago Medicine Community Health Focus Hour. A weekly WVON radio broadcast series led by faculty and involving community members as guests. The program focuses on specific health topics impacting the community. The program has a social media component and also allows live call in guests.

Dare to C.A.R.E.

The University of Chicago Medicine has partnered with the Heart Health Foundation to offer the Dare to C.A.R.E. screening program. The Dare to C.A.R.E. program is a free heart and vascular disease education and screening program.

Health Fairs/Community Event Participation

The University of Chicago Medicine participates in community wide health fairs and community events to provide health-related education or information and other services as needed.

South Side Health and Vitality Studies (SSHVS)

A research study that involves a large group of health researchers from the BSD in partnership with community members, who are working to generate knowledge about health and the impact of interventions to create and maintain good health on the South Side of Chicago.


Contact Us

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