UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center
cancer booth at community fair

The Comprehensive Cancer Center established the Office of Community Engagement and Cancer Health Equity (OCECHE) in 2010 as part of a renewed and expanded commitment to serve local communities through research, education and outreach programs.

Mission: The mission of the OCECHE is to serve as a bridge between the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center and academic and community stakeholders to promote equitable collaboration and eliminate cancer disparities through community capacity building, participatory research, advocacy and innovative education and training.

Vision: We seek to work with key stakeholders and community members who are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of their local communities with regards to cancer prevention and risk reduction, access to quality cancer care, promoting community centered collaborative research and supporting those at risk or living with a cancer diagnosis.

The OCECHE, under the direction of Nita Lee, MD, MPH, has formed strategic alliances with UChicago units and other healthcare organizations, as well as community, ethnic, and faith-based groups to create innovative programs that will increase access to care, reduce risk factors for cancer, reduce tobacco use, increase participation in cancer research and improve the quality of life for cancer patients and survivors. 

The Comprehensive Cancer Center has a global presence, attracting cancer patients from around the world; however, our most important commitment is to the people of the Chicago metropolitan area and, particularly, the residents of surrounding neighborhoods including Bronzeville, Grand Boulevard, Hyde Park, Kenwood, Washington Park and Woodlawn. Maintaining a vibrant, two-way conversation with our South Side neighbors helps Comprehensive Cancer Center members better understand and meet patient needs.

Our Team


The OCECHE has developed programming through robust partner engagement and capacity building, advocacy, education, and research activities in Chicago’s black, Asian and Latinx communities.

Signature OCECHE programs and examples of collaborative community work include:


The Office of Community Engagement and Cancer Health Equity (OCECHE) fosters strategic alliances with healthcare groups, as well as community, ethnic, and faith-based organizations, to increase cancer knowledge in the community and engage participation in research and clinical trials. These organizations can be important social anchors in many communities, offering unique opportunities to reach underserved populations.

Listed below is a sampling of the strategic partnerships that the OCECHE maintains: