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Community Programs

Smiling little girl painting on a wall at a community program 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 specialty care at one of the ACCESS sites on the South Side of Chicago.

Beyond October

The University of Chicago Medicine Breast Center, Department of Radiology, UHI and Marketing partners with the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force to provide 175 free screening mammograms and 15 diagnostics to uninsured and underinsured women living in Illinois. The program aims to emphasize the importance of breast cancer screening beyond breast cancer awareness month.

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.

Medical Home and Specialty Care Connection Program

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.

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.

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.

Washington Park Children’s Free Health Clinic (WPC)

Grant to support free vaccines to uninsured, underinsured, or Medicaid-receiving patients ages 0-18 through the CDC’s “Vaccines for Children” Program. WPC provides vaccines to children who are otherwise unable to receive them, enabling them to lead healthy lives and to participate in academic and community activities.



Asthma Center

The University of Chicago Medicine is spearheading efforts to develop and advance a collaborative, innovative, and high-quality system of care for pediatric asthma management on Chicago’s South Side, within UChicago Medicine’s Community Benefit service area, with UChicago Medicine serving as the operational hub for all activities.

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.

Community Health Worker (CHW) Program

The University of Chicago Medicine is working with community partners to build individual and community capacity to address pediatric asthma on Chicago’s South Side. CHWs conduct home assessments and educational visits, as well as serve as a liaison between the families and the patient’s primary medical home. Through these efforts, the CHWs are working across neighborhoods in Chicago's South Side to address social determinants of health (conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, etc. that affect a wide range of health outcomes and risks) as they relate to asthma and are assisting community members in their self-management of asthma. In addition to asthma, CHWs focus on other health issue areas as well.

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, Department 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.

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 at the Museum of Science and Industry open to community members and designed to encourage healthy fitness habits and the integration of regular exercise programs into their 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.

Roseland Community Hospital (RCH): Adult Diabetes Disease Management and Education Program

Grant support to offer diabetes disease management for adults (18+) with type 1 and type 2 diabetes that are admitted to the hospital (Emergency Room and inpatient) for health complications related to diabetes. In order to reach individuals that have not been admitted to RCH, staff will outreach to community area residents to encourage them to join the RCH Diabetes Education Program. The overall goal is to help strengthen the communities' capacity to address disparities in health outcomes and education for the at-risk, underserved diabetic population in RCH's service area.



Namaste Charter School

Grant support to a charter school that implements the Namaste’s Healthy Lifestyles Program, specifically designed to combat childhood obesity in the school’s low-income, traditionally underserved student population. Funding supports the salary for one physical education teacher, one of the staff positions Namaste has prioritized despite district budget cuts.

Pilot Light

Grant to support a school-based curriculum that inspires students to make healthier food choices and by doing that improve both eating habits and weight status of adolescents. The Pilot Light curriculum currently comprises 16 lessons per year, which weave food into classroom lessons that children are already learning in their classroom. Lessons have been developed using the Chicago Public Schools content frameworks, which established a curriculum map for schools and identifies the learning objectives, competencies and Common Core State standards relevant for each grade, in each lesson.

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.

University of Chicago Charter School: Fresh Fit Fun

Grant support to build upon an established community-academic partnership, the program seeks to promote healthy eating and physical activity in urban schools through the application of the social ecological model. The program will develop, implement, and evaluate targeted student and family-centered interventions to reduce the risk of pediatric obesity and intervene with children with preexisting conditions. In this way, the program will serve as a model of how schools can begin to impact the health and wellness of students and the school community.

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


A holistic approach to provide comprehensive care and prevention education for young people living with HIV/STI and individuals who are most at-risk for new infections. Services include holistic medical care and HIV/HCV testing, case management with resource advocacy, non-acute mental health services in a safe and supportive environment to LGBTQ and HIV+ youth, a weekly program designed to provide LGBTQ youth and youth experiencing homelessness with access to an array of services offered at the same time in the same location, a WATCH Clinic provides post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for infants of mothers with HIV infection and free community groups.

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.

Hepatitis C Community Alliance to Test and Treat (HepCCATT)

The program builds Chicago's capacity to test for and cure HCV infections.  Under HepCCATT, ECHO-Chicago leads efforts to increase significantly the number of community-based primary care providers trained to diagnose and treat HCV, particularly in underserved communities. The physicians will participate in a case-based, interactive telehealth training curriculum developed by leading HCV expert Andrew Aronsohn, MD, co-principle investigator for HepCCATT.


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.

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.

Project Fire

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

Safe Kids

The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital is home to Safe Kids Worldwide's South Chicagoland chapter. Safe Kids is the first and only international organization solely dedicated to preventing childhood injury, the number one cause of death for children under 14. Safe Kids offers safety education courses according to age group. Courses range from 30 to 90 minutes and can be tailored to a specific audience.


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 Asian Health Equity (CAHE)

A central location for comprehensive evaluation of the health issues and diverse healthcare needs of Asian American communities in the Chicago metropolitan area. Established in 2015, CAHE is a partnership between the University of Chicago and the Asian Health Coalition that brings together the assets of a world class research institution and a respected non-profit organization to investigate health disparities that disproportionately affect Asian American populations. We take a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach through a comprehensive program for research, health education, teaching, community engagement and information dissemination.

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. 

Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE)

Participate in CASE which works to fosters strategic relationships between anchor institutions (universities, hospitals, government, businesses, etc.) and small businesses who can supply their needs, to build economic vitality across Chicago's neighborhoods.

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.

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.

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.

Diagnostic Imaging Program

Founded in 1993, CommunityHealth is the largest volunteer-staffed free medical facility in Illinois.  They are provider of medical, dental and educational services to uninsured and underserved individuals of Chicago and its surrounding communities.  In March 2012, the University of Chicago Medicine began a charity care program providing diagnostic imaging services to CommunityHealth’s patients.  The services performed monthly include imaging (MRI/CT), GI services (diagnostic colonoscopies/screening colonoscopies/EGDs), cardiac tests (stress tests, stress ECHOs), ultrasounds and ECHOs.

Feed1st Program

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

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.

Kidney Transplant Outreach Program

Provides information and education about kidney transplantation to patients in the community with end stage renal disease and healthcare professionals. The program also sponsors and participates in various events within the renal disease community, such as, but not limited to; the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois' "Walk for Kidneys," the American Kidney Fund's "Kidney Action Day" and the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois', "Living with Kidney Disease." We also travel to dialysis centers in Illinois and Indiana to do in-person patient and staff education.

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.

South Side Healthy Aging Resource Experts (SHARE) Network

The project purpose is to create, implement, and disseminate the South Side Healthy Aging Resource Experts (SHARE) Network, a robust, engaged network of older adults, caregivers, primary care providers, and geriatric specialists who share resources and education to improve health for older adults on Chicago’s South Side. The SHARE Network will bring together resources and educational opportunities across collaborating partners to maximize implementation of best practices for care of older adults on Chicago’s South Side.

UCM Community Health Focus Hour

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.


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