New grant program gives more than $250,000 to groups working on Chicago’s South Side

UHI logoSix non-profit groups that provide services on Chicago’s South Side are sharing $253,475 in grants for programs to improve the health of area communities. The grants are the first to be awarded under the University of Chicago Medicine’s new Community Benefits Grant Program, a joint initiative between the Urban Health Initiative (UHI) and the Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM). The program is aimed at advancing community-based programs to address health concerns faced by South Side residents.

This joint initiative will serve as an important component of the University of Chicago Medicine’s ongoing commitment to improving community health and wellness across its service areas. In its comprehensive 2012 Community Health Needs Assessment, the medical center identified five priority health needs on Chicago’s South Side — diabetes, breast and colorectal cancer, pediatric asthma, pediatric obesity and access to care — which serve as the basis for the grant program.

Almost 20 percent of children in the area have asthma, according to the assessment, 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. The assessment also showed that among the community adults diagnosed with diabetes, more than 60 percent had more than three medical visits in 2011 related to their disease.

“This new grant program dovetails with the goals of UHI, which works to improve health and access to medical care on the South Side of Chicago through patient care, research and medical education in collaboration with community partners, and the goals of the ITM, which works to translate research into better health,” said Brenda A. Battle, vice president of care delivery innovation and the administrative leader of UHI. “With this program we not only are leading the way for campus and community partnerships, but helping amplify the efforts of innovative organizations serving at-risk and underserved populations in our priority health areas.”

The organizations receiving 12-month grants for programs are:

  • CommunityHealth, $50,000 — Take Action! Diabetes Management Program provides patients with essential information to help build self-management skills and behaviors for controlling their medical conditions while also establishing and monitoring interventions and healthy outcomes at the Englewood Clinic.
  • Asian Health Coalition, $29,500 — Diabetes Prevention Program for Asians in Chinatown will address gaps in conventional diabetes health education and disease management for the underserved and limited-English-proficiency Asian immigrant populations. These gaps are due to limited opportunities for culturally and linguistically tailored health education.
  • St. Bernard Hospital and Health Care Center, $50,000 — ThePediatric Asthma Clinic will add a patient advocate position to help improve care coordination, education and assistance for patients with asthma (and their caregivers) by identifying and mitigating home and environmental asthma triggers.
  • Chicago Asthma Consortium, $48,425 — Comprehensive School-Based Approach to Improve Asthma Outcomes, a pilot program within a charter public school, will consist of three parts: screening and referral, education, and policy. The goal is to create a model that that can be applied in other Chicago schools to improve identification of children with asthma, education about management and implementation of policy to support children living with the disease.
  • Mobile CARE Foundation, $45,000 — Roseland Community Initiative will utilize existing asthma vans to serve Roseland-area children through monthly visits to 13 sites (an expansion from eight sites) for annual asthma screenings. The grant also will make possible data-sharing with Roseland Hospital, the creation of a network of community health workers, and regular meetings and trainings with Roseland staff.
  • Respiratory Health Association, $30,000 — Southside Asthma Management Project will educate children through Fight Asthma Now© and their adult caregivers through asthma management programs. Educational efforts will focus on early recognition of asthma symptoms, common triggers, emergency care, proper inhaler use and medications. Additionally, in partnership with the Midwest Pesticide Action Center, adult caregivers will be educated about environmental triggers to help them make changes at home to prevent asthma episodes.

Submissions were judged based on whether the project addressed a community need, organizational readiness, appropriate use of funds and level of support from collaborating organizations. A clear outline of specific and measurable objectives, to be completed within 12 months, was also a requirement.

“These local organizations deserve recognition for the great work they’re doing, and I’m thrilled that we’ll be collaborating with them to address these common diseases that so adversely affect sufferers’ quality of life,” said Julian Solway, MD, dean for translational medicine and director of the University of Chicago Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM). “The new Community Benefits Grant Program is a natural partnership for ITM and UHI, as our missions emphasize using research to improve community health, and we’re looking forward to working with many dynamic community groups in the years to come.”

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