Cancer, violence among top health concerns for South Siders

Cancer, violence among top health concerns for South Siders

UChicago Medicine's community survey also finds diabetes, pediatric asthma, pediatric obesity, and sexually transmitted infections as other priorities

June 22, 2016

Residents on the South Side say cancer, violence prevention and sexually transmitted infections are among their top health concerns, according to the latest comprehensive assessment conducted by the University of Chicago Medicine.

The 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), to be published online in June, also identifies diabetes among adults, pediatric asthma and pediatric obesity as other critical health issues faced by South Siders. In addition to uncovering the community's health needs, the report also includes a plan to advance outreach, prevention and education in those six health areas.

"This assessment is our strategic compass that guides us to support programs and initiatives that will better meet the community's health needs," said Brenda Battle, vice president of care delivery innovation and chief diversity and inclusion officer. "Fortunately, much of the work under way points us in the right direction, but we have more work to do."

UChicago Medicine plans to address the six health concerns in the following ways:

  • Violence prevention. Develop a comprehensive trauma program that includes linking affected individuals to post-trauma services and training community leaders to help provide counseling and other support. This program will build on the current Level 1 pediatric trauma center and include the forthcoming Level 1 adult trauma center, which is expected to open in early 2018.
  • Sexually transmitted infections and HIV. Promote STI/HIV screenings among high-risk populations and link HIV-positive patients to care and support services. UChicago Medicine will take advantage of programs that have been advancing HIV testing and improving the lives of those living with HIV and other infections in disproportionately affected populations in Chicago.
  • Cancer. Conduct breast and colorectal screenings, and promote educational sessions about screenings in the community. The plan will leverage current programs, community relationships, and research and expertise at UChicago.
  • Diabetes. Find ways to formally educate patients with diabetes and pre-diabetes and promote health lifestyle habits among this population. Coordinators will continue to use UChicago Medicines' South Side Diabetes Project and Kovler Diabetes Center to improve the health and quality of life for people with diabetes.
  • Pediatric asthma. Deploy staff throughout the community to increase awareness of asthma and potential triggers and improve the management of the condition at home through the Asthma Care Coordination program.
  • Pediatric obesity. Promote regular physical activity, healthy eating and nutrition education in community settings -- with a focus on schools -- using current and new programs.

The assessment and an action plan that addresses the health concerns are requirements of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The report, conducted every three years in partnership with other organizations, examined health status, barriers to care, demographics and socioeconomic factors that affect children and adults living in 12 ZIP codes from 35th Street to 199th Street and east of Western Avenue. This area spans 31 locally defined communities and has a population of about 640,000 people.

2013 CHNA Report and Action Plan

The 2016 CHNA builds on the findings from the 2013 report, which identified access to care, cancer, diabetes, and pediatric asthma and obesity as the community's primary health concerns. UChicago Medicine tackled those health needs by:

  • Providing direct health or wellness services using UChicago Medicine resources and partnering with community health centers and community-based clinical services.
  • Supporting grants to community organizations that have relevant programs within UChicago Medicine's service area.
  • Promoting community-based learning and educational forums on wellness and better health self-management.
  • Fostering medical education and engagement on the South Side through medical students who serve at community health centers, participate in service-learning projects, and engage in scholarship and mentorship.
  • Forming partnerships to help UChicago Medicine engage residents and improve their health.

To read the latest Community Health Needs Assessment and for more information about how UChicago Medicine provides services and other benefits to the community, visit