About the Studies

What are the South Side Health & Vitality Studies?
What is the Center for Community Health and Vitality?
Why are these initiatives important for the South Side of Chicago?
How will the CCHV and SSHVS achieve these goals?
Who is involved in these initiatives?
Where will these initiatives take place?

What are the South Side Health & Vitality Studies?

The South Side Health & Vitality Studies (SSHVS) are a component of the University of Chicago Medical Center's Urban Health Initiative. SSHVS is a family of research studies that joins community members with faculty, staff, doctors and nurses from the University. Together, they help generate knowledge about health and the impact of interventions in order to create and maintain good health on the South Side of Chicago. Through this collaboration, SSHVS seeks to design and conduct studies that result in meaningful benefits to researchers and communities.

Researchers with the Studies gather information that contributes to a holistic understanding of the factors that influence the health and wellness of residents on Chicago's South Side. SSHVS seeks to both strengthen existing relationships and foster new partnerships.

SSHVS researchers are also committed to making data accessible to community residents and organizations. By working with our communities, SSHVS and CCHV learn innovative ways to make the research meaningful and useful to local residents and organizations.

Lastly, the Studies inform UHI planning and programming and the Center for Community Health and Vitality (CCHV). CCHV is a UHI initiative that complements the medical services provided to local residents in the UCMC hospitals and clinics.
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What is the Center for Community Health and Vitality?

An initiative of the UHI, the Center for Community Health and Vitality (CCHV) supports the efforts of the UCMC hospitals and the University and complements the medical services provided to local residents in the UCMC hospitals and clinics. The Center makes this possible through a systematic approach for addressing personal and community health within the neighborhood setting.

The CCHV and its partners recognize that good health is not merely the absence of disease; it also fosters vitality — the capacity to live and develop. The CCHV works with the community to develop programs and activities that address issues identified by community members.

CCHV was originally conceived by First Lady Michelle Obama during her tenure as Vice President of Community Affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC). The CCHV, along with its UHI partners, aims to promote positive relationships between the University of Chicago and South Side communities and improve health services and support to residents. The CCHV also allows the University and South Side communities to sustain collaborative relationships that address medical and social issues that threaten the health and vitality of community.

With its partners, the CCHV aims to improve community engagement, where historically relationships between the University and the surrounding communities were framed by tension. The initiatives of CCHV are meant to build positive relationships that will initiate a new spirit of collaboration and cooperation. CCHV and its partners seek to achieve this goal by finding new ways to understand more fully the perspectives of our communities' members, organizations and institutions.

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Why are these initiatives important for the South Side of Chicago?

The South Side of Chicago has a rich cultural and political history. Despite its many strengths, however, the South Side faces several social and health challenges. Where and how people are born, grow, live, work and age — also referred to as "the social determinants of health" — are important factors for understanding individual and community health and well-being.

We know from current data that members of South Side neighborhoods face health problems such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension and other chronic conditions. Additionally, many South Side communities experience higher rates of these conditions than other communities in Chicago.

The reasons for these specific challenges are poorly understood. CCHV and SSHVS believe that the University should work with community leaders to gain a greater appreciation for how experiences on the South Side are different from those in other parts of Chicago. By taking these steps together, we can develop effective ways to overcome these challenges.

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How will the CCHV and SSHVS achieve these goals?

To better understand differences in health resources and issues among communities on Chicago's South Side, we must draw upon the strengths and diversity of these communities. CCHV and SSHVS aim to do this by partnering with local elected leaders, community-based organizations (including religious, economic development, and non-profit service and civic organizations), and individual community residents. Through these relationships, we can collect information about the many factors that affect health and well-being in our communities.

We need many types of information — about education, lifestyle, jobs, biology, and families — to enhance health and well-being on the South Side of Chicago. All of this information enables CCHV, SSHVS and community leaders to develop programs, services, policies, and advocacy in ways that uniquely address each community's issues, and to determine whether our investments have a positive impact on individual and community health.

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Who is involved in these initiatives?

Doriane Miller, MD, is the Executive Director of the Center for Community Health and Vitality.

Stacy Tessler Lindau, MD, MAPP, is Principal Investigator for the South Side Health and Vitality Studies and Associate Professor in Obstetrics-Gynecology and Medicine - Geriatrics.

In addition to this leadership, CCHV and SSHVS are made up of a deeply committed team of faculty, staff and community members who have committed time and talent to these initiatives. See more information about SSHVS Staff and Partners.

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Where do these initiatives take place?

The South Side of Chicago comprises thirty-four of Chicago's seventy-seven community areas. The University of Chicago Medical Center serves these thirty-four communities and the more than one million people who live here.

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