There is a 20 year gap in life expectancy between communities in Chicago, with similar gaps in infant mortality, breast and cervical cancer, and a range of other health outcomes. And while it is true that all communities in the city have experienced some improvement in health in the past few decades, inequities in health remain a striking component of the city’s sociodemographic landscape.
These inequities are produced by the social determinants of health, including racism, discrimination, and economic inequality. These inequities are the product of an unjust social structure. If we continue to focus on individual behaviors at the expense of community-level factors, the problem will persist.
We recognize that it is not enough to only study inequities in health. The Center is concerned with action. As reflected in our founding principle, “it is not enough to identify a problem and then do nothing to fix it”.
We believe in promoting community-engaged inquiry, scholarship, and service. We engage community partners to identify, understand, and respond to public health needs. We devote effort to teach and learn from various stakeholders including community leaders, faculty, and students. We advance inter-disciplinary research to build community capacity to reduce the link between hardship and health outcomes.