New UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial report outlines top health priorities for south suburban communities

Blood pressure screening event

Residents in Chicago’s south suburbs have identified chronic diseases, access to maternal health services and breast and prostate cancer as key health concerns that they face, according to the UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA).

The Ingalls Memorial service area covers a population of more than 260,700 across 19 southern suburbs, 10% of the population of suburban Cook County.

The CHNA is used to identify community health priorities and make decisions on where to commit resources that can most effectively improve community members’ health and wellness.

For the first time, the 2019 report includes a thorough analysis of social determinants of health, which are the root causes of health inequities, including higher prevalence of chronic diseases and violence in the community. These determinants include education level, poverty, unemployment, violence and community safety, access to care, and food insecurity, which results from the lack of nutritious, reliable, and affordable food sources. According to the 2019 CHNA, residents in Ingalls’ service area are twice as likely to be unemployed and living in poverty, as compared to the overall suburban Cook County population.

The CHNA is used to identify community health priorities and make decisions on where to commit resources that can most effectively improve community members’ health and wellness. Priority health areas were determined through extensive data collection and analysis, including from community resident surveys and focus groups as well as from state, city and county public health and crime data.

For south suburban communities, the priorities for 2019-21 are:

  • Preventing and managing chronic diseases (heart disease, diabetes and asthma)
  • Increasing access to maternal health services; specifically, prenatal care
  • Promoting awareness for breast and prostate cancers

“The Community Health Needs Assessment provides powerful data and valuable insight to help UChicago Medicine ensure its programs and resources are promoting health equity by supporting the most relevant and pressing health concerns in the communities that we serve,” said Brenda Battle, RN, BSN, MBA, vice president of the Urban Health Initiative, which oversees community benefit initiatives. “Through this analysis, and with extensive community collaboration and outreach, we have developed a strategic implementation plan that seeks to not only address the most critical health concerns, but also the underlying social determinants that exacerbate them.”

UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial currently works with community partners to offer programs and resources to mitigate theses health concerns. These include, for maternal heath, the Healthy Baby Network and for breast cancer, Conquering Breast Cancer Forum.

“The Community Health Needs Assessment establishes which community health concerns require UChicago Medicine’s attention and resources – and we respond by developing strategic programs and collaborative partnerships,” said CHNA contributor Doriane Miller, MD, associate professor of medicine and director of the Center for Community Health and Vitality at UChicago Medicine.

UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial published a Strategic Implementation Plan in tandem with the CHNA. It outlines the health system’s plans to address the identified health priorities.

“The comprehensive scope and detailed data available in the Community Health Needs Assessment makes it a valuable tool for residents and health-focused community organizations to better understand our communities’ health needs, as well as areas where advocacy, education and funding would be best dedicated,” said Sherida Morrison, who chairs the Maternal and Child Health Working Group of UChicago Medicine’s Community Advisory Council. Morrison is the founder of Demoiselle 2 Femme, NFP and the Chicago Coalition on Urban Girls.

To conduct the research, analysis and community outreach, UChicago Medicine partnered with the Alliance for Health Equity, a collaborative of 37 hospitals working with health departments and regional and community-based organizations to improve health equity.

As part of its mission and as a federal requirement for nonprofit hospitals, UChicago Medicine and Ingalls Memorial conduct a CHNA every three years, and publish an accompanying Strategic Implementation Plan designed to addresses their communities’ top health priorities.

For UChicago Medicine's service area on Chicago's South Side, the 2019-21 priorities are preventing and managing chronic diseases (asthma and diabetes); building trauma resiliency with a focus on violence recovery and mental health; and reducing health inequities by addressing social determinants of health (access to care, food, and employment). This service area represents 23% of Chicago’s population and includes 12 ZIP codes that span 35 community areas.

Individual CHNAs and Strategic Implementation Plans

UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial

UChicago Medicine Hyde Park

To learn more about the Community Benefit efforts at UChicago Medicine, visit

New UChicago Medicine Report Outlines Top Health Priorities for South Side Communities

Our new report emphasizes diabetes, asthma and trauma resiliency, as well as importance of addressing underlying contributors to health concerns on the South Side.

Read more about the Community Health Needs Assessment