In 2014 the Urban Health Initiative (UHI) and the University of Chicago Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM) launched a joint initiative as part of the University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) Community Benefit Grant Program to tackle access to care, colorectal/breast cancer, adult diabetes, pediatric asthma, and pediatric obesity in South Side residents – prevalent conditions identified by a 2015/2016 Community Health Needs Assessment.
Since it began, this initiative has awarded almost $500,000 to nonprofit leaders and their UChicago research collaborators to propel their innovative work in those areas and evaluate its impact.
And it’s happening in communities where help is needed the most.
About 40 percent of local children ages five to 17 are overweight or obese, according to the assessment, and the rate of diabetes-related deaths is 1.5 times higher among non-Hispanic blacks in the South Side than in Cook County overall. Almost 20 percent of children in the area have asthma, and about six in every 10 of those children missed school and experienced an emergency or urgent care visit in 2011 because of their condition. In the past decade, being overweight or obese have emerged as new risk factors for developing certain cancers, including colorectal, breast, uterine corpus (endometrial), and kidney cancers. Continued focus on preventing weight gain will lead to lower rates of cancer and many chronic diseases.
Applications must include both a community organization and a UChicago researcher. Funding cycles have closed for pediatric obesity, asthma, diabetes, and adult breast and colorectal cancer.
Need a connection to a potential collaborator? Contact Julian Solway, Co-Director of the ITM, at jsolwayi*medicine.bsd.uchicago.edu.