About the Urban Health Initiative
The Urban Health Initiative (UHI) is the University of Chicago Medicine’s long-term commitment to improving health and access to quality care for the South Side of Chicago through patient care, community-based research and medical education. We are working to establish strong, lasting relationships with civic leaders, community organizations, health care providers and residents to develop a comprehensive health care system that is rooted in collaboration. The UHI is designed to encourage wellness and connect patients to the care they need.
The South Side is a vibrant, resilient, culturally rich, and storied collection of neighborhoods that is steeped in its heritage as a historic African American community. It is nourished by deep social bonds, active community organizations and anchored by vital faith‐based organizations. It is also one of the nation's largest underserved communities and a place where the ills of a dysfunctional national health care system are a daily reality. Here, more than 800,000 residents contend with elevated rates of diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and other chronic, debilitating--but avoidable--conditions.
These health outcomes do not occur in a vacuum. They reflect well-publicized, systemic dysfunctions in the nation's health care system that disproportionately afflict underserved communities where lack of health insurance or incomplete coverage is endemic, access to care poor, and local health care systems are often substantially less than the sum of their parts. But they are rooted also in a nexus of socio‐economic and environmental circumstances that lie beyond the point of medical care ‐- low income, truncated education, an elevated incidence of violent crime, unemployment rates that are among the highest in the nation, and chronic underinvestment.