C3 2022 - Poster Abstracts

Poster #1 - Peace in Praxis

Project Abstract:

Purpose - The intent of the project is to reclaim safe spaces in the community for young people and their families. In reclaiming space, we aim to curve violence and work towards creating community and unity amongst the neighborhoods. We have seen that this works well with input of the community as they are the ones who have experienced community violence and other traumas in these streets, parks, and areas - they have informed us that it has been a way that they have been able to work towards closure and healing.

Pilsen, Little Village, Brighton Park, McKinley Park, Bridgeport, North Lawndale. Primarily black and brown families.

Background - We noticed a lack of, and possibly unwillingness to, collaboration with our community organizations, and this was affecting our families in terms of resources but also leaving a need for young people to have safe spaces to go to afterschool and during the summer break. Pilsen and the surrounding neighborhoods have experienced community violence for generations now and we feel like as community members who have also experienced these same barriers and traumas, it is our responsibility to tackle the problem for our youth.

Method - Our outreach has been very intentional, we have met with community members, and they have expressed where high levels of community violence/crime are occurring, and we go to the schools in the areas to do flyer distribution, meet with school staff and talk with area leaders to see where we can have the greatest impact to get youth and their families involved. Our target community began as the Pilsen neighborhood; however, it has expanded to other surrounding neighborhoods due the understanding that neighborhood lines are imaginary and what happens in one area affects the other. The area we collect is how many families we service; youth ages, family size, zip codes, gender and contact number/emails.

Results - We found that the need for FREE youth programming is high. That families are starved of simple resources due to poor outreach tactics from programs and organizations. We found that if you listen to the type of programming the young people and their families want to see and build it, they will participate and develop new roles within the community they are helping build. The measurement of success is hard to gage numerically outside of the fact that each event we have had has brought in more families than the last. We really measure success based on the interactions and relationships being built throughout the network of community residents. Conclusions - What this means is that as an initiative who isn't competing for funding, we have been able to bring in community leaders and organizational leaders to the table to discuss and provide proper services and programming to our community. We have been able to show that especially after the pandemic, the need for community to combat violence is high and welcomed by youth and adults alike.


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Poster #2 - Community Emotional Stability Through A Faith-Based Community-Academic Partnership

Project Abstract:

Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions are prevalent, but often undertreated among adults from minority populations. Depression is an independent risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease, and this relationship is stronger among African American (AA) adults. Appropriately adapting interventions and preventing or treating depression among AA adults may effectively decrease their elevated cardiovascular disease risk. This project cultivates a longstanding robust faith-based community-academic partnership between Pastors4PCOR and Northwestern University to specifically focus on psychological wellbeing among AA residents of Chicago's southside community. Supported and funded by the Alliance for Research in Chicagoland Communities (ARCC), the collaboration formed and convened a Community Advisory Board (CAB) comprising community members from diverse backgrounds. We convened four CAB meetings from October 2021-September 2022 to 1) meet each other and agree on the purpose of the CAB, 2) discuss the concept of psychological wellbeing in the community, 3) identify available community resources for mental health, and 4) wrap-up and review the progress the CAB has made thus far. The CAB focused on understanding and communicating "psychological wellness" and identifying available community resources and gaps. CAB members selected "emotional stability" as a community-aligned descriptor to promote community wellbeing and support CAB activities to select and adapt an evidence-based intervention for depression among AA adults with comorbid hypertension through local faith-based organizations. As the work of the CAB continues, we aim to expand the CAB to 1) engage members and better utilize their specific expertise, 2) select the intervention to be implemented, including identifying specific intervention components, and 3) adapt the intervention for implementation in the community. The CAB role will be expanded to better utilize their expertise and skills beyond primarily providing feedback towards more engagement in pre-study implementation activities (i.e., developing recruitment materials and focus group facilitation). We will routinely assess the CAB's collaborative work. The long-term, overarching goals of this work are to develop, implement, and sustain community-informed resources and services to promote emotional stability for residents living in Chicago's southside community.  Lessons Learned: CAB members endorsed the concept that emotional stability is a critical aspect of individual physical health, as well as community health and resilience. As one CAB member stated: "Success of [this grant] promoting psychological wellbeing to me [is] providing information that would offer a successful template of how advisory groups can coordinate practices throughout systems city, county, and state systems. This will provide continuity of message and care."  Our experience with the Emotional Stability CAB indicates that it is optimal to convene CABs during the earliest phases of research development. 


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Poster #3 - Faith-Based Communities Building Engagement Linkages with Researchers

Project Abstract:

Individuals, families, and communities, especially among communities of color, are often included as an afterthought by key stakeholders and researchers in pertinent discussions regarding their health care immediate and future needs. Continuing to handle stakeholders in this manner will lead to an even greater disconnect of individuals from life-sustaining resources and partnerships. These collaborative breaks are possibly due to a lack of a trusted centralized infrastructure. To bridge the gaps of advocacy and engagement, a faith-based community network, Pastors4PCOR (P4P), developed and implemented the Community Support HUB Model (HUB) as a centralized model to generate synergy among key stakeholders and entities, in accordance with the conduct of PCOR/CER.  In Building a Community Support HUB model, P4P's mission is to help increase inclusion, availability, and accessibility for our communities in the areas of healthcare resources and information. Three key groups form the HUB foundational model: a) the P4P HUB Community Advisory Board (CAB); b) a team of Community of Resource Enrichment (CORE) partners; and c) A Network of Support, Partnerships, Opportunities, Knowledge, Expertise, Services (SPOKES) stakeholders. The CAB reviewed and offered feedback on the HUB 6-module training program with participants: CORE who are P4P IRB-trained Research Ministry Ambassadors (RMAs) and SPOKES partners who represent researchers, community-focus service agencies, governmental or advocacy organizations and educators. The HUB training program generates synergy among CORE/RMA trainees and SPOKES partners in two-way shared learning and collaborative discussions. P4P HUB recruited a total of (12) patients/residents living in communities experiencing health disparities; (4) stakeholders (government and community organization advocates), and (2) researchers from local universities. All recruits were connected, engaged, and mentored throughout P4P HUB training. Of these participants, 63% were faith-based and 37% were engaged to share their expertise and perspectives with community teams once members had collectively identified a shared health topic of interest to address a community-focused health priority. Ten (10) participants completed the HUB Program and Online IRB training evaluation survey. HUB training content topics include how to build partnerships based in interests between CORE/RMA trainees as equitable partners with SPOKES experts; describe target communities of interests along with identifying community values and culture; health promotion and health literacy; community efforts toward advocacy approaches; engagement sustainability; guest speakers; and CORE/SPOKES presentation of team proposal outline/action plan. From a HUB CORE participant: "...the one thing I am taking away is we took a group of community members and are transforming ourselves into researchers to research things that we see. It's not just a thought anymore, we're implementing and putting it into action. And we're actually taking the time to compose quality research, so my takeaway is the confidence ... "P4P Community Support HUB model empowered community members to exchange ideas with experts/partners to co-create patient-centered research ideas and action plans that address emergent health topics relevant to faith-based communities. Trained RMA/CORE Members serve as a unified community voice to better meet diverse community needs. P4P continues sustainability efforts to maintain established partnerships that encourage research engagement opportunities and grant seeking funding opportunities. 


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Poster #4 - The Use of a digital application for reporting pain and pain management in home hospice

  • Themes: Health and Humans Services
  • Contact: Masako Mayahara, PhD RN CHPN FPCN| Joellen Wilbur, PhD APN FAAN | Arlene Miller, PhD APN FAAN | Lou Fogg, PhD
  • Email: masako_mayahara@rush.edu
  • Phone: 847-738-0951
  • Organization: Rush University College of Nursing | The Department of Community Systems | Mental Health Nursing

Project Abstract:

High pain intensity is a common symptom experienced by patients with serious advanced illnesses. Impediments to improving pain intensity are poor adherence to pain management regimen due in part to caregiver lack of knowledge and lack of self-efficacy in administering analgesics. Digital applications may facilitate pain management by: (1) delivering education to increase knowledge and self-efficacy, (2) expediting pain reporting to nurses, and (3) improving adherence to pain management. e-Pain Support is a self-administered, digital pain management application developed in collaboration with hospice nurses and caregivers. It has three elements: (a) Educational Module, (b) Patient Pain Record, and (c) Pain Summary for Nurses. The purpose of this study is to test the effects of e-Pain Support on home hospice patient pain intensity when used by patients, caregivers, and nurses. A total of 132 triads of patient, caregiver, and the hospice nurse assigned to the patient) are being recruited from 3 large Midwest hospice agencies. Nurses: (a) registered nurse (RN); (b) provides direct care to patients, and (c) has no prior patient enrolled in study. Patients:(a) prior enrollment of their hospice nurse; (b) receives analgesics for pain; (c) speaks and reads English; (d) age 18 or older; (e) has primary informal caregiver available for the 2 weeks of study; (f) cognitively intact; (g) expected to survive at least 2 weeks; (h) can verbalize pain. Caregivers: (a) speaks and reads English; (b) age 18 or older; (c) cares for an enrolled patient; and (d) available for the 2-week study. Patient and caregiver outcomes will be assessed at baseline and 2 weeks post baseline. The study is currently being The effects of e-Pain Support on pain intensity among home hospice patients is being tested in a federally funded randomized control trial.


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Poster #5 - Illinois docAssist - a pediatric and perinatal psychiatric access program

  • Themes: Health and Humans Services
  • Contact: Rhapsody Mason, LCSW
  • Email: rfmason@uic.edu
  • Phone: 312-413-1889
  • Organization: University of Illinois Chicago

Project Abstract:

Purpose: Illinois DocAssist (IDA) works to  improve the ability of primary care providers to screen, diagnose, and treat the mental health and substance use problems of children, adolescents, and perinatal women. 

Background: With the gap in mental health care especially within the Medicaid population, primary care providers have assumed an increasingly important role in mental health care. However, primary care doctors often do not have the time, knowledge or training to fill this gap.  

Method: Through telephone consultation and education of primary care doctors, Illinois DocAssist seeks to improve access to evidence-based mental health care for all children and perinatal women across Illinois who receive Medicaid and other vulnerable populations. Illinois DocAssist is funded by the Illinois Medicaid system (DHS and HFS) and has been completing it's mission since 2008. The program collects a variety of data points including provider demographics and patient demographics such as the nature of the consultation, profession of the consulting provider, patients presenting problem, age and the geographic region. HIPPA protected data is not collected or stored.     

Results: Across the state, Illinois, healthcare providers have come to depend on the services provided by Illinois DocAssist in order to meet the mental health needs of their most vulnerable patients. About 75% of consultations are within Cook County with 7% of consultations being for perinatal women and the remainder being for children and adolescents. Physicians make up the majority of callers to the consultation line followed by nurse practitioners and the majority are in either Pediatrics or Family Medicine specialties.  

Conclusion: In order to meet the mental health needs of their patients, primary care doctors require reliable and accessible information and support by experts. Illinois DocAssist is one solution to a growing mental healthcare gap in Illinois.


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Poster #6 - Reducing Disparities in Women's health care

Project Abstract:

Purpose: Equal Hope addresses health disparities through three programs: Equal Access, Equal Care, and Equal Voice. Equal Access is an outreach, education, and patient community navigation program aimed at improving interpersonal and health system barriers that contribute to disparities in health outcomes for minority and uninsured women. Equal Care brings together healthcare institutions from across Chicago to share quality data and work on quality improvement projects to improve care for Chicago's safety net. Equal Voice is our grassroots advocacy and community engagement initiative that build support for uninsured and underinsured women and encourages health system change.    

Communities Served: Equal Hope provides services to Cook and Lake County with most of the work focused on the south and west side of Chicago. From April - June 2022, we served 45% NH Black, 6% NH White, 35% Hispanic, and 15% NH Other Women. In this same period, the top 3 zip codes we served were: 60623, 60629, and 60628.    

Background/Significance: Equal Hope was originally established in 2008 as the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force after publication of research showing that Chicago had large and growing racial disparities in breast cancer mortality. From 2005 to 2007, Black women in Chicago died of breast cancer at a rate 62% higher than White women even though they were diagnosed less often. This suggested to the founders of Equal Hope that instead of biological differences, this health inequity was driven by structural racism.   

Method: The Equal Hope model follows these steps: landscape analysis, developing quality scorecard/consumer report, creating a big tent, assess how the healthcare system works in real life, listen and learn from patients, and design evidence-based interventions.   

Results: We currently have six CHWs and six Patient Navigators as part of the team. In the past fiscal year, Equal Hope has successfully reached 211,679 and educated 92,736 individuals, participating in 544 community events, community canvassing and radio series. There were 2,598 navigation cycles initiated with 1,252 clients navigated to a breast or cervical screening, having a 71% completion rate, and 159 clients navigated to a medical home or COVID vaccine appointment, having a 55% completion rate.  From November 2021 - April 2022 we collected mammography data from 74 facilities to describe the impact COVID-19 had on facilities and how this differs based on accreditation status, screening volume, and patients served.  We are using social media (i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok) to educate and encourage women to get regular cancer screenings, be up to date with their HPV, COVID-19 and flu vaccines, and get paired with a primary care provider.  Lastly, in June 2022, Gov. Pritzker signed SB 3682, legislation drafted by Equal Hope, into law to expand access to cervical cancer screening, prevention, and treatment across Illinois.   

Conclusions: Over the past decade, we have made considerable progress in reducing health disparities in Chicago. 


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Poster #7 - Greater Lawndale Lotería: an evidence-informed, historically grounded and worker justice themed card game to promote awareness of precarious work at the neighborhood level

  • Themes: Other Social Determinants of Health
  • Contact: Sandra Avelar
  • Email: savela2@uic.edu
  • Phone: 708-595-3225
  • Organization: Greater Lawndale Healthy Work Project

Project Abstract:

Purpose: Work opportunities that are precarious in nature are clustered in Black and Latinx neighborhoods in the U.S. due to the forces of structural racism in the form of historical housing segregation, discrimination, and power differentials relating to social position (by the intersection of race/ethnicity, class, gender and immigration status). While precarious work causes stress due to unpredictability of work and working hours, less time to take care of family members, and less time for civic engagement, low-income workers are less able to refuse work that they know is unsafe and exploitative. Further, when precarious work is common at the neighborhood level, with most of one's social network engaging in work employment conditions and jobs that are unstable, with irregular hours or pay, low wages, without benefits, and/or the inability to speak freely with employers, the norm of precarious work can perpetuate the status quo. The Greater Lawndale Lotería is a worker-justice themed card game that is historically grounded, evidence-informed, and asset-based which seeks to inform critical dialogue and challenge knowledge, attitudes and beliefs related to work and health at the neighborhood level. The Greater Lawndale Lotería is a community intervention of the Greater Lawndale Healthy Work (GLHW) Project, a community-based participatory research (CBPR) project at the UIC Center for Healthy Work, a NIOSH Center of Excellence for Total Worker Health®, investing in community intervention science toward building power, building equity, and building community capacity in Greater Lawndale (GL). Greater Lawndale Lotería is part of a larger action roadmap produced by our community-based participatory research to promote healthy work in North Lawndale and Little Village, two Chicago neighborhoods with large proportions of residents engaged in precarious work. Greater Lawndale Lotería includes 54 cards of worker types, workplaces, and neighborhood landmarks found in GL designed by a local artist. Each card is accompanied by a narrative that describes the precarious nature of work that workers are exposed to such as workplace hazards and systemic exploitation; the valuable contributions that workers provide in their workplace and community; findings from our research and history about the labor movement in Chicago; and know-your-rights information about laws affecting workers. Strategic community stakeholders play the game, such as faith leaders, small business owners, youth, and workers. A mixed-methods evaluation on participants' knowledge, attitudes and belief as well as a participatory, qualitative head, heart and feet component is administered to participants at the end of the game.


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Poster #8 - Azure modern analytics architecture for synthetic syndromic surveillance

  • Themes: Public Health Systems Organizations | Life Expectancy
  • Contact: Arash Jalali
  • Email: jalali@uic.edu
  • Phone: 312-725-0254
  • Organization: UIC

Project Abstract:

The use of machine learning to build predictive models often requires the harmonization of disparate data sources. For instance, at our institution at the University of Illinois at Chicago, we have found a need to meld real-time geographic data with prehospital data and enriched geospatial information. This required a complex architecture for data analytics over cloud services which had not been published in the literature over the past decade. This poster aims to discuss the construction and design of synthetic syndromic surveillance cloud architecture for hospital data integration. 


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Poster #9 - CPASS Chicago: innovations in promoting safe infant sleep in impacted communities

  • Themes: Life Expectancy
  • Contact: Gina Lowell, MD MPH| Fellicia Clark, D-ABMDI | Christie Lawrence, DNP RNC-NIC APN/CNS | Darren Harris | Kyran Quinlan, MD MPH
  • Email: gina_lowell@rush.edu
  • Phone: 773-510-0754
  • Organization: Rush University Medical Center

Project Abstract:

Background: Community partnerships to prevent Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) embrace the values of centering parent and community voices in the work of injury prevention. In 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), in partnership with the Injury Free Coalition for Kids and Amazon, announced a unique funding opportunity for children's hospitals to partner with family-serving community agencies to promote safe sleep education and distribute safe sleep kits to communities most impacted by SUID: Community Partnership Approaches to Safe Sleep (CPASS). Chicago experiences the largest racial and ethnic disparity in SUID in the nation. Rush University Children's Hospital and Family Focus applied for and received CPASS funding for 2022. This abstract describes CPASS Chicago's team-building and strategy development to achieve the goals articulated by the CPASS funders. 

Methods: CPASS Chicago is comprised of RUCH Faculty Champions, a Community Educator, and a Community Partner Lead from Family Focus. The Community Educator is the former Child Death Scene Investigator for the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office, and conducted all infant death investigations in Cook County over the prior decade. The Faculty Champions and Community Educator also collaborate to lead the CDC's SUID Case Registry for Cook County and are knowledgeable about local SUID data. Two Faculty Champions co-lead RUCH's Hospital Safe Sleep workgroup and are experienced in both hospital-based and community-facing efforts to promote safe sleep. Family Focus's Center Director is networked with other Centers throughout Chicago's impacted communities.  This team attends CPASS Learning Community calls and meets monthly to share outreach opportunities, generate and iterate outreach methods, and share reflections from outreach experiences.  The Community Educator meets weekly with the Faculty Champions to maintain up to date communication regarding outreach and networking.  Interim communication amongst the team is frequent as outreach opportunities may quickly emerge. 

Results: CPASS Chicago successfully distributed 200 safe sleep kits to families from Chicago's most impacted communities exclusively through community outreach events.  The Community Educator and Community Partner Lead had their first opportunity to collaborate at the Family Focus Community Day; this event provided both outreach and networking opportunities, generating links to 7 other community support agencies providing diverse services for families.  The Community Educator also leveraged her social knowledge of community support agencies, churches, hair and nail salons, and social media groups to reach out and share both our SUID data and safe sleep video, and ask for possible opportunities to present to families and supporters.  Many outreach activities networked the Community Educator to further opportunities.  Outreach activities could reach as few as 15 individuals to over 1,000 individuals, depending on the forum.  To adequately share information about CPASS Chicago, we developed an informational flyer and a google form for families to sign up for safe sleep kits. The google form also includes our safe sleep video and an opportunity to provide thoughts about the safe sleep video.  

Conclusion: Community partnerships allow for dissemination of SUID information and safe sleep promotion in a manner that meets families and communities in forums that are trusted. Community partners facilitate networking through their standing in and knowledge of the community, allowing outreach through their agency's services and activities and beyond. Our Community Educator's unique approach to allowing families to share their understanding and experience with SUID and safe sleep allows for deeper understanding and knowledge sharing that may elevate family capacity to practice and promote safe sleep in their homes and communities. 


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Poster #10 - Greater Englewood voting initiative

Project Abstract:

Description: This poster will present a new and innovative way of addressing low voter turnout in a mid-term election, increase social cohesion among gatekeep and grassroots level organizations, and educate residents on the importance of civic engagement as a social determinant of community health.   

Purpose: The intended goal of the initiative is to develop a model of community support for projects and events in the Greater Englewood (Englewood and West Englewood) communities by: 

  • Increasing voter registration and turnout in all areas of the communities and sharing the results
  • Educate residents on resources available that gatekeeper organizations provide
  • Strengthen grassroots organizations within targeted census tract areas
  • Increase early voting 

The communities impacted are Englewood and West Englewood. The population is all eligible voters and young people who are approaching 18.  

Background/Significance: Five alderpersons serve Greater Englewood - 6th, 15th, 16th, 17th, and 20th. The are other organizations that participate or serve as grassroots resources. Many organizations serve as gatekeepers who host annual events in the community. The events allow organizations to share their mission and provide resources to the community. The June 28th election saw a decrease in voter turnout in Greater Englewood. The time leading up November 8th election presents an opportunity for organizations to work together on an initiative that will empower residents to have a voice in their community and increase civic engagement in preparation for the Chicago Municipal election on February 28th.  

Method:

  • Target population: Voting-age residents. Data on past voting in ward precincts will be collected from the Chicago Board of Election website 
  • Organizations will be grouped by three census tract areas in each community (North, Mid, South). 
  • Surveys will be conducted on barriers to voting and knowledge of the elections.  

Results: The results of the past elections will serve as a reference point for the initiative. Other results include the number of organizations participating, the number of volunteers, and sustainability towards the next election.  

Conclusions: Each year organizations struggle to engage all parts of the community. This project creates the opportunity to develop a network of partners throughout the community that worked together on a single project and measured using public data. Hopefully, more residents will be encouraged to become active community members. 


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Poster #11 - Stock rescue inhaler implementation in Illinois schools: mobilizing stakeholders and identifying facilitators & barriers

  • Themes: Other Social Determinants of Health | Public Health Systems Organizations
  • Contact: Jessica Wrona
  • Email: jwrona@uic.edu
  • Phone: 847-624-0432
  • Organization: University of Illinois at Chicago

Project Abstract:

Background/Purpose/Communities Impacted: Asthma is the most common chronic lung disease in children. Asthma prevalence and morbidity disproportionately impacts Black and Latinx children in Chicago. Children with asthma miss school more often, which affects their future educational and earning potential. Health-related policies, such as one that allows for universal asthma rescue inhaler access in schools may begin to address disparities by providing critical medication access. The goal of our project was to elicit implementation barriers and facilitators to an existing Illinois law allowing stock inhalers at schools.   

Method: To better understand the implementation processes and barriers, we conducted a stakeholder analysis to identify and engage community-based stakeholders crucial to the legislation and implementation of "Stock Asthma Rescue Medication in Schools", Illinois Public Act 100-0726. We mapped key stakeholders and their potential impact in legislation implementation and through qualitative semi-structured interviews we identified barriers and facilitators to stock inhaler in school's implementation in Illinois.  

Results: Stakeholders inside Illinois were identified and mapped. Qualitative interviewing was completed for the first stage of analysis of this project to identify implementation barriers and facilitators (n=14). The process of policy implementation was found to be complex, with at least 22 barriers cited. The most frequent coded barriers include 'Cannot find a provider/Pharmacy refusal to fill Prescription', 'Not enough nurses/not a nurse in every school', and 'Difficult to arrange/coordinate care following stock albuterol use'. The most successful facilitator to implementation was found to be when a "Champion" was identified. Sustainability seems to be an ongoing concern for states without a state-level prescriber.   

Conclusions: Stock Inhaler Programs for schools can be an easy policy solution to provide students critical medication access, especially those in vulnerable populations. A framework for school health-related policy implementation is necessary for success. A state-level prescriber in states with stock medications seems to promote sustainability, and is highly recommended for states, including Illinois, who are looking to disseminate stock inhalers or other medications more widely. 


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Poster #12 - Community, collaboration, and intentionality in removing barriers to access and equity: a 24-hour vaccine-a-thon-with drive-thru

Project Abstract:

Purpose: A few Latino members of the LGBTQIA+ community who are in healthcare and public health gathered to ask what they can do to improve the disparity gap in monkeypox vaccination rates in the Latino and Black communities in the Southwest, West, and South sides of Chicago. The idea of a vaccine-a-thon came to mind to alleviate and remove barriers to access to Latino and Black community members. Three (3) weeks later, Chicago and the State of Illinois saw the first 24-hour vaccine event - and what allowed for it was intentionality, an event centered on community and with equity in mind, and collaboration. In incepting the idea and sharing it with others, being mindful of conducting an equitable event was of utmost importance. Wherefore, removing barriers to accessing the vaccine was key. Knowing Latino and Black communities and gathering data on their barriers informed the various components of this event. Findings from this event further confirmed that involving the community is important, that removing barriers to access allows for some to come out, and that intention to the event and to communicate will further deliver on equity. 

Background/Significance: Chicago Department of Public Health data showed that there was a large disparity in vaccination rates in the Latino and Black communities. August 2022 data from Friday morning convening consistency showed that Latinos were 31% of the case count, however, of the vaccine administered, only 16% were to Latinos. In the Black community, they were 19% of the case count, and only 12% of vaccine were administered to the Black community. This data is important because it showed the disparity in vaccine. As was with COVID-19 vaccine, the vaccines were not distributed in an equitable manner, and thus, more needed to be done to achieve vaccine equity. 

Method: The target populations were Latinos and Black high-risk community members of the Southwest, West, and South sides of Chicago. The event centered on removing barriers and communications and some of the action items included: 

*Hosting a 24-hour vaccine event to allow community members to attend when they were able to attend. 

*Ensuring that there was no pre-registration process; all registration was on-site. 

*Working with providers to ensure that there was a capacity to administer vaccine throughout a 24-hour time period. 

*Allowing for this event to include the weekend. 

*Working with community-based organizations and community leaders to ensure that the message is reverberating. 

*Onboarding organizations that would help with on-the-ground canvassing; passing out flyers (in English and in Spanish), in these neighborhoods, and posting in local establishments. 

*Allowing for a drive-thru component to allow for anonymity, privacy, and discretion for those individuals who are discreet and do not wish to be seen at a monkeypox vaccine clinic or event. 

*Having a community resource fair in conjunction with the vaccine distribution to connect those who are vaccinated to community organizations and their resources and services. 

Conclusion: Removing barriers to access better allows for equity. Intentionality, collaborations, knowing communities, and knowing how to service them are important to removing barriers of access in providing a resource and to improving equity.


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Poster #13 - Evaluating The impact of trauma-informed trainings and capacity building supports

  • Themes: Other Social Determinants of Health | Public Health Systems Organizations | Health and Human Services
  • Contact: Madison Hammett
  • Email: mhammett@hmprg.org
  • Phone: 312-372-4292 ex. 27
  • Organization: Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

Project Abstract:

Purpose: The Illinois ACEs Response Collaborative (the Collaborative) has developed a suite of capacity building services, including in-depth trainings and learning collaboratives, to support organizations and systems in trauma-informed transformation. The Collaborative is partnering with Planning, Implementation, Evaluation Org (PIE), an external evaluator, to track and measure the impact of these services. PIE's evaluation will add to a growing national body of information on the impact of trauma- informed transformation work and will help guide the future work of the Collaborative. Communities Impacted: The Collaborative offers trainings to organizations throughout the Chicagoland area. Key partners include hospitals, public health organizations, human service organizations, youth serving organizations, and community-based organizations. Its Chicagoland Trauma-Informed Hospital Working Group is a multi-year learning collaborative made up of hospital systems serving the region.  

Background/Significance: Extensive research demonstrates that traumatic experiences can have detrimental effects on health and social outcomes over the life course. Trauma-informed organizations acknowledge the immediate and long-term impacts of trauma and transform policies and practices in order prevent trauma, build resilience, and improve overall health and well-being. As awareness of trauma has grown, more organizations and communities are seeking out trainings and support to facilitate trauma-informed transformation. However, there is very little published literature evaluating the effectiveness of trainings and capacity building supports on organizational, staff, client, or community outcomes. Method: PIE is utilizing a longitudinal, mixed-methods design in its evaluation. It is leveraging both quantitative and qualitative data from observations, surveys, and interviews/focus groups to understand the implementation and short, medium, and long-term impact of the Collaborative's trainings. The evaluators are conducting case studies to measure implementation and impact of trauma-informed policies and practices for members of the Chicagoland Trauma-Informed Hospital Working Group.   

Results: Analysis of evaluation data from the Collaborative's trainings is currently underway.  

Preliminary analysis shows that training participants tend to experience increases in knowledge about trauma-informed policies and practices, and greater empathy towards clients after the training. Additionally, the training sessions appear to influence human resource policies at the social and health organizations where training participants are employed. The case study project is in the beginning stages and there are no results to share currently.  

Conclusions: Research supports the efficacy of the Collaborative's training and capacity-building model, however measuring the actual impact on trauma-informed transformation at organizations and systems is complicated by a number of factors. There is no agreed upon framework or model to offer consistency in how trauma-informed initiatives are developed and implemented. In complex systems, such as those represented by members of the Hospital Working Group members, it is challenging to design and implement an umbrella trauma-informed initiative. Instead, most members are implementing smaller initiatives throughout the system, making it difficult to evaluate system-wide impacts. Through the hospital case studies and the training evaluations, this research project is contributing to the field's understanding of the what elements of training and support contribute to implementation of trauma-informed policies and practices. 


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Poster #14 - "access to these screenings have been a gift": a mixed methods assessment of a community navigation program for breast and cervical in the era of COVID-19

  • Themes: Health and Human Services | Public Health Systems Organizations | Life Expectancy
  • Contact: Leslie R. Carnahan | Chibuzor Abalsalim | Jeanette Santana González | Mari Goudy | Hunter Holt | Jessica Madrigal | Thrishka McKinnor | Tigist Mersha | Theresa Mobley | Maria Olivero | Mary Rinder | Barbara Williams | Vida Henderson
  • Email: lcarna2@uic.edu
  • Phone: 815-757-2234
  • Organization: University of Illinois Chicago

Project Abstract:

Purpose and communities: The University of Illinois Cancer Screening, Access, Awareness, and Navigation (UI CAAN) intervention was established to address breast and cervical cancer disparities on Chicago's West side in Austin and Humboldt Park, community areas with large Black and Latinx populations.  

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated health inequities among systematically marginalized populations. At the onset of the pandemic, routine cancer screenings were effectively halted; from March to May 2021, there was a deficit of 9.3 million screens. Early evidence suggests that non-White patients, compared to White, have experienced even greater declines in breast and cervical cancer screenings. Consequences of missed or late screenings include later stage diagnosis and poor outcomes. Community navigation programs have been used to promote engagement in cancer screenings in under-resourced communities, but these too were interrupted as restrictions were put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  

Objective: To use a mixed methods approach to describe the challenges, strengths, and lessons learned of implementing a community navigation program for breast and cervical cancer screening during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Methods: In 2019, The University of Illinois Cancer Screening, Access, Awareness, and Navigation (UI CAAN) intervention was established to address breast and cervical cancer disparities on Chicago's West side, an area with large Black and Latinx populations. The intervention included community navigators who worked in partnership with community-based safety net hospitals and organizations. Participants were recruited at community events and through clinical referrals and were eligible if they were overdue for a guideline concordant breast or cervical cancer screening. Quantitative navigation and screening data were collected by the navigators in a REDCap database. Qualitative data, four focus groups with participants and partners, were also collected to broaden our understanding of impact of COVID-19 on the community navigation intervention. For these analyses, we describe participants' navigation and screening outcomes and use content analysis methods for the focus groups. We then triangulate the findings to understand the challenges, strengths, and lessons learned of the UI CAAN. 

Results: From 2019-2022, a total of 366 individuals were navigated for breast and cervical cancer screenings. Of these, 68% (n = 248) received a breast and / or cervical cancer screening. Among those who were screened, 75% were Latinx and 23% were Black, 92% were uninsured, and 86% did not have a primary care provider. Concerning services received, 30% had a mammogram and a pap smear, 37% a pap smear only, and 33% a mammogram only. At the height of the pandemic, navigators coordinated with community and clinical partners to deliver 500 meals, held 9 PPE distribution events, distributed 3000 masks, and conducted 2 webinars about COVID-19.  

Conclusion: Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UI CAAN community navigation program was able to shift its efforts at the height of the pandemic to assist its community and clinical partners. The continued collaboration allowed for a successful resumption of navigation and screening efforts once healthcare systems were able to re-engage patients in cancer screenings.


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Poster #15 - Trauma responsive needs of community violence intervention workers

Project Abstract:

The goal of this project is to examine the impact of past and current trauma exposure on frontline CVI workers through three approaches: a collective advisory council representative of all staff, a thorough needs assessment of individual trauma-related needs, and a series of focus groups exploring organizational needs. INVC is a violence prevention organization that serves the Austin, West Garfield, and Back of the Yards neighborhoods and employs individuals with a history of being directly impacted by community violence from those neighborhoods who are primarily African American and Latinx. Community violence intervention refers to "the work of preventing retaliatory shootings, mediating gang and interpersonal conflicts, monitoring and responding to flash points for community violence, and mentoring those at highest risk of violence and connecting them to crucial social services" (Butts et al., 2015). INVC staff function in various frontline capacities including street outreach, victim advocacy, and case management. Research shows that frontline CVI workers are exposed to high levels of trauma both prior to employment and on the job (Bocanegra et al. 2021, Hureau et al. 2022). Additionally, a recent study indicated that INVC employees specifically have slightly higher rates of exposure to violence on the job than other CVI workers in the Chicago area (Papachristos, personal communication, July 27, 2022). No current research on CVI workers to date has done a comprehensive examination of both individual and organizational needs. Our study aims to explore this gap.  

BH staff assembled an advisory committee (N=14) with members from all levels and positions in the organization to oversee the development of an intervention via a two-pronged needs assessment examining individual staff trauma-related needs as well as needs surrounding adaptations to organizational functioning to best support staff wellness.  A particular focus of our advisory committee centered around providing trauma education to create a baseline of working knowledge to contextualize the needs assessment findings. Additional emphasis has been placed on building trust and authentic connection amongst advisory committee members in building a foundation for a collective care model within the organization. Data is currently being collected from working group meeting notes and individual needs survey data.The advisory committee formed in April 2022 and has been meeting bi-weekly.  Based on feedback from the committee, we found that the community-based nature of our work necessitated immediate intervention to support ongoing staff needs around wellness and the impact of trauma exposure. Interventions include staff wellness coaching, Cognitive Behavioral Interventions training, and Trauma-Informed Care training. We also began offering staff traditional therapeutic supports, including psychotherapy with a licensed clinician, and alternative therapeutic supports such as Reiki and music therapy. Preliminary results include increased staff awareness, education, receptivity, and engagement in trauma-related interventions.  We are currently in the implementation stage of the individual staff trauma-related needs assessment.  Preliminary results will be displayed. Initial results support the continued assessment of staff and organizational needs and the development of both individual and systems level interventions.


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Poster #16 - Heartland alliance marjorie kovler center: survivors of torture program, child trauma program, and family program

Project Abstract:

Since 1987, Heartland Alliance Marjorie Kovler Center (Kovler Center) has been serving displaced survivors of trauma and torture from 60 countries through an integrated service model that provides medical, mental health, and social services, as well as coordination with legal services, to a diverse population of trauma and torture survivors. Historically, Kovler Center has provided individual treatment to adult primary and secondary survivors of torture but has recently added treatment components for children and families. Because of our participants' complex needs, this holistic approach utilizes strengths-based, trauma-informed care that is client-centered and culturally and linguistically appropriate. This approach has served our participants well and helped them and their families heal mentally and physically from trauma and torture, build effective support networks, and lead productive and meaningful lives. Kovler Center's SOT program annually serves approximately 425 adults who are asylum seekers and refugees. Through a robust research and evaluation process that tracks new clients' progress every six months for up to two years, participants demonstrate significant reduction in clinical symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD while in the treatment program. Further, participants demonstrate improvement in functional well-being indicators such as employment status, housing status, immigration status, as well as a reduction in physical health problems. Since 2019, the Kovler Center Child Trauma Program (CTP) provides trauma-informed therapeutic support and case management for refugee and asylum-seeking (R/A-S) youth ages 6-21.  Many R/A-S) have been  exposed to multiple traumatic experiences throughout their flight from their home country, during their migration journey, and as they adjust to a new life in the United States, yet traditional mental health services often do not have the linguistic capacity nor cultural competence to be able to meet the unique needs of this diverse population.  CTP specializes in culturally and linguistically responsive, trauma-informed, therapeutic support for the youth we serve.  CTP tracks indicators of emotional well-being through clinical assessments every six months, and results indicate that youth show significant improvement in symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress.  With an enormous influx of asylum seekers coming to the U.S. in recent years, many transnational families have experienced family separation. While research documents the negative impact of family separation on transnational families' wellbeing, there is scant evidence about effective mental health interventions for this population. In response, in 2020, the Marjorie Kovler Center Family Program (MKC-FP) designed a six-week, psychosocial support group. The target population is caregivers separated from their children and other immediate family. The program aims to increase social support and caregiver wellbeing, while simultaneously fostering connection to family members in home country.   Research results have demonstrated significant improvement in social support, wellbeing, and parental self-efficacy for group participants. Participants also reported high satisfaction with the group overall. Participants who were also in the SOT program showed significantly greater satisfaction in both personal and community relationships, compared to participants who were not also part of the SOT program.  MKC-FP's psychosocial support group model may preserve survivors of torture wellbeing and healthy attachment for separated transnational families.


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Poster #17 - Healthy city collaborative-community research council 2022: food & housing insecurity in Chicago summary report

  • Themes: Housing | Food Access
  • Contact: Sabrina Nelson
  • Email: sabrina1@uic.edu
  • Phone: 312-996-4656
  • Organization: UIC-Office of Community Engagement & Neighborhood Health Partnerships: Healthy City Collaborative

Project Abstract:

The purpose of the project was to create a systematic process of identifying, prioritizing, and setting a community-driven research agenda focusing on Food & Housing in full partnership with Chicago communities. Food and housing are basic needs and essential for individuals and families to lead an active and healthy life. In Chicago, people face significant barriers to accessing affordable housing and nourishing food options. However; this burden is not shared equally across all communities but rooted in a long history of racial and economic segregation that has limited access to resources on the City's West and South sides. Housing instability and food insecurity remain critical concerns for many low-income communities. The inequitable economic and health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the long-standing affordable housing crisis for low-income families and individuals, raising serious questions about how we change the conditions in the United States. Similarly, the pandemic made it harder for Black and Latine/x families to afford enough food to feed their families, exacerbating long-standing health inequities that have persisted over several decades.   

Method: Series of three convening  engaging a diverse group of stakeholders including community partners, social service providers and public health practitioners, and academic researchers.  

Results: It has been suggested that organizations incorporate the various findings and community perspectives into future collaborative research projects, and advocacy opportunities for policy and systems change.  

Conclusions: A Call to Action and recommendations is suggested for the Chicagoland research community to leverage, and share its power, resources, and expertise to help solve the quality-of-life alternating realities of wide-spread food and housing insecurity in Chicago's communities. 


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Poster #18 - Illinois Contraceptive Access Now (iCAN!)

Project Abstract:

Birth control is basic healthcare, yet universal access is far from reality. 62% of Illinois women 15-44 use birth control, but only 20% who access care at safety net clinics receive contraceptive counseling. Additionally, 500,000 Illinoisians lack coverage for contraceptive care. Access to birth control continues to be mediated by race and income. Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and those with fewer resources are disproportionately impacted by uneven or poor-quality access to birth control. Illinois Contraceptive Access Now (ICAN!) is a multiyear (2021-2025) initiative to advance reproductive health equity by transforming the way contraceptive care is delivered, paid for, and accessed. ICAN! seeks to create an Illinois where every person can decide if, when, and under what circumstances to become pregnant and parent. The goals are to: Establish screening for contraceptive needs and desires as a routine and essential component of preventive and primary care. Decrease the number of people without health coverage for contraceptive care. Expand points of access to contraceptive care and education. As a Reproductive Justice-informed initiative, ICAN! does not aim to direct individuals towards particular contraceptive methods but rather to create the conditions for individuals to make informed decisions about their reproductive and sexual health.   ICAN! collects data from various sources, including: patient reported experience measure (PREM) data from patient surveys, engagement metrics from ICAN!'s digital platform, and feedback sessions with ICAN!'s Community Advisory Board. ICAN! analyzes clinic data on contraceptive utilization to determine our impact on expanding access to care.  

During ICAN!'s 2021 demonstration year, 3 of the largest FQHCs operating in underserved communities throughout Chicago-Erie Family Health Centers, Near North Health, and PCC Community Wellness-became contraceptive care Quality Hubs. Most patients (78%) described the quality of their contraceptive counseling as uniformly "excellent". Clinical training assessments showed increases in knowledge related to Reproductive Justice (58% pre-training, 70% post-training) and Modern Contraception (85% pre-training, 95% post-training). The number of patients receiving contraceptive care increased over the demonstration year from 1,086/month in Jan 2020 to 1,267/month in Dec 2021, an increase of over 16.6% at a time when overall clinic volume was down.   

Centering patient and community voices is critical to ICAN!'s work. In addition to consulting with a Community Advisory Board to ensure program responsiveness, ICAN! partners with community-based and social service organizations to create a referral network to contraceptive care Quality Hubs. ICAN! plans to continue expanding its referral network, creating multiple opportunities for individuals to seek contraceptive services and strengthening a community-based model of care. 


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Poster #19 - a psychoeducation intervention to decrease depressive symptoms in Latinx female adolescents who attend Chicago public schools

  • Themes: Health and Human Services
  • Contact: Veronic Kalenik
  • Email: vgalvalisi@gmail.com
  • Phone: 901-412-2272
  • Organization: PCC Community Wellness Center | Steinmetz

Project Abstract:

The target population for this intervention is Latinx female students who are "at risk" for depression, who also attend Chicago Public Schools' Steinmetz High School (SHS). PCC Community Wellness Center (PCC) operates a School-Based Health Center within SHS. PCC screens Steinmetz's participants for depression using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) survey. During the academic year, nineteen percent (19%) of PCC's Latinx female students screened positive for depression. Of those students who screened positive for depression, seventy-five percent (75%) recorded a PHQ-9 score of "moderate to moderate-severe" form of depression. Female students were also three times more likely than male students to screen positive for depression. This intervention was created because PCC's Latinx female SHS patient population had limited access to social workers. Moreover, adolescents with depressive symptoms, who go untreated, are more likely to degrade into major depressive disorders (Wang et al., 2005). The psychoeducation curriculum included during eight sessions and focused on protective factors against depression, including: (1) stress management, (2) self-efficacy, (3) social supports, and (4) emotional self-regulation. The first five sessions of the curriculum were adapted from a pre-existing mindfulness therapy program (Clarke et al., 2001; Duplus et al., 2016). During the sixth and seventh sessions, participants learned how to manage their stress levels and reframe their negative thinking based upon the framework of Clarke's (1995) Coping with Stress. Furthermore, Bandura' Social Cognitive Theory provided a conceptual framework to help change the behaviors of participants associated with depression. As applied, the intervention focused on the behavioral factors that reduce the number of symptoms, and lessen the severity, of depression. Each session was dedicated to facilitating group discussions, practicing stress-regulation techniques, and participating in group activities. A baseline PHQ-9 survey and a self-efficacy assessment known as the Self-Efficacy Questionnaire for Children (SEQ-C) was conducted during the first and last session. A shortened version of the SEQ-C was administered, with items from the emotional self-efficacy (ESE) section of the SEQ-C (Muris, 2001). The ESE section is strongly correlated to depression and measures self-efficacy in adolescents (Muris, 2002). There were five participants who attended the majority of the sessions. Sixty percent (60%) of participants decreased their baseline PHQ-9 score by one point and one student decreased her score by 9 points. On average, the students demonstrated an increase of 1.4 points on their SEQ-C score, with a maximum increase of 11 points for one student. One hundred percent (100%) of participants were able to list three self-regulation skills, which they felt could help them manage their emotions in a healthier manner.  Lastly, one hundred percent (100%) of the Latinx female participants said that they would recommend the intervention to their peers. 

In conclusion, low-income Latinx youth are more likely to access mental health services in school settings than other medical facilities (Ali et al., 2019). Therefore, SBHCs are a prime location for hosting group psychoeducation interventions for depression. The psychoeducation curriculum used in this intervention reduced depressive symptoms and increased self-efficacy for student participants who were positive for moderate depression. 


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Poster #20 - OFFICE OF RESEARCH CAPACITY ASSESSMENT FOR CDPH DELEGATE AGENCIES

  • Themes: Health and Human Services | Public Health Systems
  • Contact: Jillian Furey
  • Email: jillianmfurey97@gmail.com
  • Phone: 443-750-0245
  • Organization: Chicago Department of Public Health

Project Abstract:

The Chicago Department of Public Health is funding several community organizations to address health disparities in their communities. These organizations also called delegates agencies are well rooted in their different community areas and are led by committed individual who take pride in their work. 

The goal of this assessment was to assess in addition of the funding received what other needs could help enhance the wonderful work that is already being done on the ground 

Method: The Chicago Department of Public Health's Office of Research in partnership with the offices of Behavior Health and Violence Prevention conducted the  Capacity Assessment with behavioral health and violence prevention community-based agencies in Chicago. 

Employing a Likert-scale survey and focus groups, the capacity assessment explores agencies capacity for data, evaluation, funding, workshops and trainings, and demographics including agency service areas and populations served. A total of 35 delegate agencies participated in both online survey and focus group. 

Results: Agencies were found to need significant support with data analysis, program evaluation, and access to trained interns. Agencies also showed interest with engaging with CDPH's research team and connecting directly with a research evaluation partner. The implications of the findings for planning further community engagement are considered. 

Conclusion: Results of the survey were shared internally with CDPH offices of Behavior Health and Violence Prevention. Results were also presented at one of the Chicago Consortium for Community Engagement (C3) with the goals of increasing awareness around the needs expressed by the delegates 

Few workshops have been identified to respond to the needs. 


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Poster #21 - Catalytic evaluation: a tool for collective liberation

  • Themes: Neighborhood Planning and Development | Other Social Determinants of Health
  • Contact: Dominica McBride, PhD
  • Email: dmcbride@becomecenter.org
  • Phone: 312-394-9274
  • Organization: BECOME

Project Abstract:

BECOME is an innovative movement-building organization that boldly facilitates authentic grassroots community leadership and co-creates strategies and solutions to help communities actualize their collective liberation. We use tools of evaluation, strategic planning, facilitation, and community organizing and build collective power and communal care. For BECOME, evaluation is a tool to achieve our organizational goals of: 

  1. Collective actualization: Communities oppressed by structural injustice recognize their collective potential, take their destiny and wellbeing into their own hands, and move forward in actualizing their collective potential. 
  2. Liberation: Structural oppression is dismantled and replaced with new collective practices that support the community in meeting needs and realizing dreams.
  3. Abundance: Culture and economy uplift individuals to thrive. 

We focus our work with people from and organizations serving historically oppressed communities, particularly BIPOC neighborhoods in Chicago, including but not limited to Auburn Gresham, North Lawndale, Humboldt Park, and Englewood.We use evaluation to disrupt the status quo and move towards processes and cultures that emulate the society we want to create with:  

  • engaged community members who create the conditions for themselves and their families to thrive 
  • decision-makers that partner with, listen and respond to community members in ways that support their actualization
  • conditions and structures that breed equity and wellbeing

For these reasons, BECOME developed the Catalytic Evaluation model, which is designed to work towards this ideal with community groups, organizations, and other community and societal influencers (e.g., policy makers, activists).Through our evaluation work, we seek to help persons and groups create synergies and generate great ideas - that can become real and effective pathways to move forward together. With a focus at the intersection of relationship, research, and restoration, we recognize the already-existing power of persons and groups and work to support the manifestation of their wisdom and creativity towards social change, and ultimately, the actualization of collective human potential. Catalytic Evaluation is based on three major concepts: 1) Culturally Responsive Evaluation (CRE), 2) Utilization-Focused Evaluation (UFE), and 3) Positive Psychology. Our poster will elucidate the process and theoretical foundations of Catalytic Evaluation well as highlight the impact of this work, which has included:  

  • Increased community engagement and leadership 
  • Enhanced hope 
  • Enhanced perceptions of people's community and their neighbors 
  • Increased data for making informed decisions 
  • Increased culturally responsive action 

These findings indicate the power of evaluation for not only creating positive social change but also supporting community members' leadership and transformation. 


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Poster #22 - digital intervention: social media strategies for disease inequities

Project Abstract:

Southside Health Advocacy Resource Partnership (SHARP) aims to address health disparities in Black and Brown LGBTQIA+ communities living on Chicago's Southside. In collaboration with UIC Nursing and Chicago Center for HIV Elimination, we have highlighted the creativity of the community to address HIV related stigma, vaccine hesitancy and vaccine access for both Monkeypox and COVID-19. HIV-stigma is a pervasive barrier that impacts ability to work, use of prevention methods, health care engagement, and treatment adherence for people living with and most vulnerable to HIV. Stigmatization of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) usage reduces likelihood of PrEP uptake (Calabrese, 2020). HIV-stigma negatively influences engagement in HIV-care and STI prevention (Turan et al., 2016, Iott et al., 2022) 

Black men who have sex with men (BMSM) and Black Trans- and Gender Non-Conforming (BTGNC) individuals in Chicago's Southside they have been disproportionately impacted by HIV. For example,  in 2019, BMSM and BTGNC experienced 4.3 times more new HIV diagnoses over those dentified as heterosexual, cisgender (Chicago Department of Public Health, 2020). Non-Hispanic Blacks represented 56% of new HIV diagnoses and 56.9% of AIDS diagnoses.In particular, BMSM and BTGNC individuals living on Chicago's southside experienced local epidemic rates of new HIV diagnoses, particularly in Washington Park (76.8 per 100,000), Grand Boulevard (68.4 per 100,000), and Greater Grand Crossing (67.4 per 100,000) (Chicago Department of Public Health, 2020).  Elevating creativity to eliminate stigma and health disparities is how SHARP addresses stigma and preventative care related HIV, Covid-19 and monkeypox.  For example, to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates, we offered vaccines at house ball events and produced and launched a public service announcement and rap battle called #JamOutSaveLives (1.5 million views) where house ball parents and legends dialogue about and promote COVID-19 vaccination. Another successful initiative was the development of a web based talk show called "The Ch@stity's". This facebook live show which aims to reduce HIV related stigma, centers BMSM/BTGNC community leaders and healthcare professionals to impart accurate and accessible health information. The 2021 implementation of this design, called Yuck or Yum, was successful in reaching 500 to 1000 viewers within six months. Many who engaged with Yuck or Yum (e.g. people that liked, shared, and commented) reported learning new knowledge or realizing they had been previously misinformed.   

Providing trauma informed, culturally safe approaches to healthcare can empower and engage with BMSM/BTGNC individuals, a population which has historically been excluded from the healthcare conversation. Building trustworthy and reliable relationships that utilize various modes of communication to highlight the talents, creativity and voice of the community has served to promote health equity through empowerment and community engagement. 


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Poster #23 - pregnancy and postpartum experience in Chicago's neighborhoods with increased adverse maternal outcomes: a community-centered qualitative study

Project Abstract:

Our poster will highlight our process and overall findings in implementing Aim 2 of our Chicago Collaborative for Maternal Health project focused on collaborating with Community members and community-based organizations to address the maternal mortality and morbidity crisis in Chicago. Our goal was to understand the pregnancy and postpartum experiences of Black pregnant and parenting people living in neighborhoods with increased rates of maternal morbidity and mortality in Chicago, Illinois including, Englewood, Greater Grand Crossing, Chatham, East Garfield Park, West Garfield Park, and Austin.  From this knowledge, we developed a community health education campaign called "The Gathering.  Through our focus group convenings we learned several key themes including 1) the need for interpersonal, non-medical support; 2) the use of varied sources of health information simultaneously; 3) the need for a strengthened connection with medical providers; 4) the familiarity with the postpartum period and maternal mortality and morbidity through lived experiences but the lack of the technical, medical information; 5) the differences in language between birthing people and medical providers and associated gaps in understanding.  This project is important because Black birthing people are five times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than White birthing people in Chicago, IL. (Source, CDPH 2019 Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Report).  The South and West Sides of Chicago are experiencing significantly higher rates of maternal morbidity and mortality compared to other neighborhoods in Chicago.  We need to learn about black pregnant and parenting people's understanding and experience with pregnancy, parenting, and accessing services so that we can develop community level, hospital level, and policy level solutions to address barriers to care. Our method included recruiting Black parenting and pregnant individuals who lived in neighborhoods with high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity in the South and West sides of Chicago.  We collected qualitative data through four focus groups, facilitated by community health workers from the same communities. Focus group transcripts were analyzed by conducting a rapid qualitative analysis facilitated by an academic-community partnership in Chicago, Illinois.  We utilized principles of community-based participatory research.  Our results included participants describing a global need for interpersonal support from family, acquaintances, and medical providers. Many respondents were unfamiliar with medical terms and used different languages to describe pregnancy complications. Further evaluation of these themes may lead to interventions and policies that further address maternal health disparities in a way that resonates with communities. Our findings further allowed us to create a community-driven health education campaign and a policy brief. "The Gathering" campaign provides community education and resources to Black pregnant or recently pregnant people and family and friends to address maternal mortality and morbidity in Black communities.   Our policy brief will educate policymakers and others interested in influencing policy about the issues facing clinicians, social service providers, and community members contributing to the maternal morbidity and mortality crisis on the South and West sides of Chicago.  Our findings show that interventions and policies that further address maternal health disparities in a way that resonates with communities are needed.


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Poster #24 - Implementing the National diabetes prevention program within an fQHC

Project Abstract:

The CDC's National Diabetes Preventive Program (DPP) was implemented in the UIHealth -Mile Square Health Center(MSHC)in 2019 to offer pre-diabetic patients the opportunity to participate in an evidence-based lifestyle program to prevent diabetes by establishing a lifestyle change with physical activity and weight loss. In the US, one in three adults have prediabetes, yet more than 8 in 10 of them are not aware they have the condition (CDC, 2019). Without any intervention, pre-diabetic individuals could develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years. MSHC has implemented the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP)among four cohorts of patients and community members who participated for one year. MSHC delivered the program to four cohorts over the past three years. The DPP program was delivered by a team of lifestyle change coaches comprised of Diabetes Specialist Nurse, Administrative Nurse, a Nurse and two Community Health Workers. Participants were recruited through the UI Health Mile Square prediabetes registries, referrals from primary care providers, distribution of fliers to the UI Mile Square enterprise and community partners. The team collaborated with providers, community partners, university partners, behavioral health consultants to provide additional activities and resources that complemented the program e.g, cooking demonstrations, exercise challenges, mental health awareness during the peak of COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, fresh produce and housing resources. The program was delivered in person but was strategically transitioned to virtual distant learning due to the pandemic. Data was collected on various health outcomes, including participants reporting weekly weights and physical activity minutes. Initial outcomes highlight; increased social network support between participants, increased adherence to healthy lifestyle options, and increased participant program engagement led to the following outcomes: mental health resilience, reduce alcohol use, increase exercise, and family bonding through a new lifestyle change. The implementation of the National Diabetes Prevention Program within a community clinic enabled program participants to benefit from not only engaging each other but also sharing and leveraging the lessons learned from the program with their family members who became unofficial partners in achieving their individual program goals. These outcomes will provide UI MSHC with opportunities to potentially translate findings to inform institution wide policies that will facilitate and maximize the roll-out and implementation of similar programs within the UIHealth -MSHC satellite clinics and other FQHCs.


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Poster #25 - integrating a walk-in emergency crisis therapy & psychiatric care into an FQHC setting

  • Themes: Health and Human Services | Life Expectancy | Public Safety
  • Contact: Neeb Christine | Judes Fleurimont
  • Email: cneeb@uic.edu | jf24@uic.edu
  • Phone: 312-996-2421
  • Organization: Mile Square Health Center

Project Abstract:

It is estimated that 1 in 5 American adults (nearly 44 million people) and 13-20% of children living in the United States will experience a mental health disorder in a given year. In 2019, the UI Health -Mile Square Health Center(MSHC)implemented a Emergency Walk-in Crisis Therapy & Psychiatric Care program to provide increased access to mental health screenings/assessments, increased access to treatment and linkage to follow-up services. MSHC Behavioral Health Team extended its service capacity by hiring a total of three Behavioral Health Consultants (LCSW) and three Psychiatry Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs). The team expansion led to an increase in walk-in service access for mental/addiction healthcare as well as virtual mental/addiction healthcare care to support our satellite sites through a team-led model with capacity for immediate access therapy and medication. To further expand access, the addition of an adult consult psychiatrist for e-consults as well as a pharmacist to assist primary care clinicians in integrating addiction and serious mental illness care and co-management as part of their practice.  These services are offered6 days per week, including evening hours, to patients in-person at MSHC Main/Urgent Care or via telehealth to our satellite locations including our school-based locations in Englewood and South Shore. This implementation led to improved integration of mental and behavioral health services between the Urgent Care Department and the Primary Care Main Clinic.  This program has provided increased access to mental health and primary care services for underserved communities in the south and west sides of Chicago. With limited access to Specialty Behavioral Health Services (Clinical Psychologists, Psychiatrist, and Psychiatry Advanced Nurse Practitioners-APN) within most health care systems, MSHC recognized the importance of implementing an integrated, multi-professional and interdisciplinary team to care for the patient population. Patients are co-managed between behavioral health and primary care so that stable patients are maintained by primary care and new consults and unstable patients have access to specialty behavioral health services. The program implemented same day and warm hand-off therapy services available for all patients by the onsite Behavioral Health Consultant (BHC). The BHC role is responsible for brief interventions, assessments, short-term therapy/follow-up if needed, and bridging to additional services if patient requires long-term therapy. The program provides, not only walk-in access for mental health services, but also links the services in Urgent Care at the MSHC main. Since the implementation of the program, MSHC has seen the positive impact in the lives of both the patients and providers. In 2021, the behavioral team completed over 5,000 visits and more than3,000 patients received mental health services. Over,1,400, walk-in service appointments were completed, and more than 1,000 patients were engaged in mental health services for a duration at least 3 months. Patients also received services beyond mental health including speech therapy, special education, autism spectrum services, neurology, housing, food, legal services, sexual assault, and domestic violence services. Further data will be presented on behavioral health outcomes and recommendations to implement a program to significantly increase service efficiency and capacity between and within an outpatient and urgent care setting.


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Poster #26 - Mile square medication assisted recovery (MAR) clinic: an integrated collaborative community care model

Project Abstract:

University of Illinois Mile Square Health Center (UI-MSHC) serves some of the hardest hit areas of Chicago of overdose deaths related to opioid use disorder. Chicago has seen a staggering increase in opioid related deaths per week, an average of 22.6 to 43.4 since the COVID-19 pandemic lock down in March 2020 (MMWR, 2021). In 2019, 796 people died from opioid-related overdoses, a 54% increase from the previous year.  Every nonfatal overdose is an opportunity to connect a patient to substance use treatment services. The Chicago Fire Department responded to 10,006 opioid-related overdoses from January 2020 to August 2020- an increase of 49.3% from 2019. During this period, the opioid-related overdose death rate continued to increase by 71.9% (City of Chicago, 2020). Primary care settings are usually the first point of access for prevention, assessment, and intervention. Compounding factors are significant behavioral health disparities in underserved communities due to lack of access to health care, need for diverse health care workforce, a lack of information, and the need for culturally and linguistically competent care and programs. Access to treatment for OUD has been associated with decreased hospital readmission rates, decreased length-of-stay, improvement in chronic health conditions, decreased recidivism, improvement in social and economic stabilization, and decreased rate of infectious disease (SAMHSA, 2019).  

To address the needs of this patient population, UI-MSHC, partnered with a community Opioid Treatment Program, Family Guidance Center (FGC), to form an integrated co-location and co-management model to expand its integrated primary care, behavioral health, and addiction care to include methadone for treatment of OUD. FGC, a non-for-profit substance use treatment organization, provides screening and treatment of OUD, as well as wrap around services to assist patients meet their recovery goals.  FGC's values and mission align with MSHC-to treat patients regardless of their ability to pay, to remove barriers to accessing care, and to collaborate with health partners to ensure access to primary care and mental health services.  Recognizing the need to expand access to services, FGC adapted its model of care to include a no-barriers program and, through co-location and collaboration with community healthcare institutions, expanded services for their patients. The UI-MSHC/FGC collaboration increases access to primary care and behavioral health services for FGC patients and UI-MSHC patients have access to all three medications for OUD, including methadone. Following the partnership, we expanded our program from buprenorphine/naloxone and naltrexone to also include methadone. To date, UI-MSHC had 763 unique patients seek services for substance use disorder treatment resulting in at least 4,891 prescriptions. As there is currently a limitation in our EMR's data extraction, these numbers are an under-representation of the patients that are actually treated for OUD. Since the launch of the Methadone Program in January 2021, 165 total unique patients have received methadone for OUD.  

This presentation will include a description of the need and development of UIC-MSHC/FGC integrated co-location and co-management model. The outcome data of the participants will be presented, including enrollment, referral source, demographics, methadone dosing, and primary care follow-up.  


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Poster #27 - integrating a trauma-informed care (TIC) model into an FQHC

  • Themes: Health and Human Services | Life Expectancy
  • Contact: Madrid Samantha | Judes Fleurimont
  • Email: smadri4@uic.edu | jf24@uic.edu
  • Phone: 224-400-8624
  • Organization: Mile Square Health Center

Project Abstract:

UI Health - Mile Square Health Centers (MSHC) began implementing an integrated Primary Care-Behavioral Health model in 2017, since then has worked extensively to expand services at all clinics. With this expansion of services, including walk-in mental/addiction healthcare as well as virtual mental/addiction healthcare care to support our satellite sites through a team-let model with capacity for immediate access therapy and medication management.  Since 2011, MSHC and its school health centers (SHC) have focused on the awareness that childhood trauma, from individual experiences like abuse and neglect to structural experiences such as poverty, discrimination, and violence, are at the root of all mental health challenges and contribute to burnout, and that all people have an innate potential to heal and thrive. Patients do best when they have basic needs met; receive care in a physically and emotionally safe environment with staff who understand the impact of trauma on health; and when evidence-informed trauma-specific treatment modalities are available. In order to launch and sustain A Trauma-Informed Center of Care - one that includes primary care, addiction and behavioral health services - MSHC has implemented training in trauma-informed care for staff, training in trauma-specific therapy modalities, and expansion of services in South Shore and Englewood. To address the lack of access to TIC services in the communities we service, MSHC expanded services with the addition of BHCs on-site, a dedicated Psychiatry APN via telehealth and in-person, and a consult psychiatrist. Patients do best when they receive care in a physically and emotionally safe environment from staff who understand the impact of trauma on health and when evidence-informed trauma-specific treatment modalities are available.  To that end, since the induction of the project, all MSHC and SHCs have received introductory training about trauma and healing; designated community health workers have increased outreach and connection to services to meet basic needs such as food insecurity; mindfulness training is embedded in therapeutic work by our psychologists; yoga class is available to patients struggling with addiction and to staff to increase wellness and prevent burnout; EMDR is available for patients who have experienced trauma; and all LCSWs have received training and offer patients Solution Focused Brief Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Cognitive Processing Therapy. The program has expanded TIC with the BH/Primary Care services in four of our highest need communities in South Shore, Englewood and school health center sites at Brighton Park school health and school-based Auburn Gresham. Prior to this expansion, BH services were not available in-person onsite at the Englewood and South Shore locations, and there was not walk-in or same-day access for BH services. This presentation will highlight the outcomes of the expanded program, including number of patients, success of their treatment, completion and duration of counseling, linkages to other services, and duration of counseling. Implications for other positive health outcomes will be discussed.


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Poster #28 - development, implementation and growth of a community health worker program rooted in increased access to culturally informed, serious illness care and grief services

  • Themes: Health and Human Services | Life Expectancy | Public Health Systems | Other Social Determinants of Health
  • Contact: Kandis Draw | Maureen Burns | Jennifer Baeza | Rachael Telleen | Kim Downing
  • Email: kdowning@thehapfoundation.org
  • Phone: 312-741-1290
  • Organization: The HAP Foundation

Project Abstract:

Substantial evidence exists to demonstrate that palliative and hospice care improve the quality of life for individuals living with serious illness in cost effective ways.  Yet, a growing number of studies document lower quality palliative care and hospice for minority communities across multiple domains, including satisfaction, communication, and pain management. In response to well-documented disparities in this space, The HAP Foundation (HAP)(previously JourneyCare Foundation) began evaluating targeted mechanisms to impact access to palliative care, hospice services and grief support in historically marginalized communities. With philanthropic support from the Coleman Foundation, HAP launched a community health worker (CHW) program utilizing an apprenticeship model, partnering with Sinai Urban Health Institute and Malcolm X College to ensure comprehensive, supportive training.  A CHW is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of the community served. CHWs act as a liaison between health/social services and the community to facilitate access and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. CHWs also build individual and community capacity by increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency through community education, social support, and advocacy. While HAP aims to grow our CHW program, the foundation initially recruited three CHWs who possess intimate, lived experience in diverse areas of the city, including Englewood/Chatman, Rogers Park and North Lawndale/La Villita.  

The program was conceptualized and funded in 2019; substantial modifications to the training model were required in response to the COVID pandemic.  Since initiating engagement with local communities in 2021, the team has conducted over 55 education programs and collaborated with 116 partner organizations to conduct education outreach to over 14,500 individuals in Chicagoland.  The HAP model also includes use of a social determinant of health referral platform, that connects individuals with services and resources in their communities.  As the CHWs gain experience within their communities, the approach and services of the program have grown to reflect a deep understanding of community need.  In response to observed and shared trauma at the community and individual levels, the HAP CHWs pursued training from the Trauma Resource Institute in the Community Resiliency Model (CRM).  This certification enables the CHW team to respond to all community interactions through a trauma-informed lens and empowers them to plan for purposeful incorporation of CRM interventions in education programming.  Caregiving has been identified as an emerging social determinant of health with implications including stress, isolation, and fatigue; incorporation of CRM in Caregiving presentations offers tangible skills for health improvement to community members.  Additionally, the CHW program has integrated community-based participatory research (CBPR) elements into the program design.  This element of community-directed research seeks to deeply understand the barriers to serious illness care that impact specific communities; the CBPR approach seeks to empower communities and individuals with knowledge and information to pursue locally directed change. HAP is currently partnering with NORC at University of Chicago to conduct a study to deepen our understanding around hospice and palliative care experiences within Black communities in Chicago. Results will be disseminated broadly within the community and health care settings. 


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Poster #29 - common ground: building community connections in a pandemic

Project Abstract:

The goals of Common Ground are to reduce social isolation, cultivate inter-generational engagement, build cross-cultural and cross-racial sharing, and build digital literacy skills 

Community target: Primarily Belmont Cragin on NW Side 

Background/Significance: Social isolation, aggravated by COVID is a critical problem facing older adults, added to that social stressors of poverty, lack of resources, and these issues can become life-threatening. Older adults and youth are increasingly cut off from each other within our community, which weakens the fabric of Belmont Cragin. In addition, our world is increasingly digital, and older adults are being left behind, with many connections to the outside world cut off from them, which affects them mentally, socially, and financially. 

Methodology:  

  • Participants: Older adults are recruited at Kelvyn Park Senior Center, 15 max in Spanish subgroup, 15 max in English subgroup; 2 cohorts per year (Spring & Fall)
  • Data Instruments: Pre- and post-program surveys (bilingual); online banking pre- and post surveys (bilingual); and testimonials
  • Procedures: 10-wk program includes group activities with youth
  • Digital literacy training:  emails, online searches, Zoom
  • Trainings in online banking & fraud prevention
  • Workshops on ACEs & resilience skill-building
  • Nutrition & health sessions
  • Cross-cultural & cross-racial sharing
  • Photovoice project
  • Graduation ceremony - graduates receive free laptops

Findings: 

A. Findings: Peer-to-Peer Bonding

  • Importance of older adult peer relationship building
  • Mitigation of social isolation despite COVID
  • Emotional/relational support & resilience findings most likely due to effects of pandemic
  • Improvement in youth perceptions of older adults & ongoing connections.

B. Findings: Bridging The Generations

  • Older adults have important impact on youth, increases generativity among older adults
  • Youth & older adults increased understanding of ACEs and the effects on their lives
  • Enriched with engagement around community issues (ex: safety, transportation)

C. Findings: Bridging The Digital Divide

  • Comfortability with technology increased
  • Digital literacy can increase social connectivity, including with peers and loved ones
  • Older adults gain self-efficacy, self-confidence learning technology

D. Findings: Bridging The Community

  • Builds sense of community & having an impact on their community
  • Older adults are empowered by engaging in and speaking out on community issues
  • Reduces isolation 
  • Improves mental well-being; builds sense of purpose

E. Findings: Bridging Cultural & Racial Divide

  • Builds racial & cultural awareness
  • Builds peer bonds in unexpected ways
  • Positive social interaction & shared emotional connection in the community
  • Builds empathy across races & cultures
  • Builds community resilience, unity, & mitigates racial strife 

Conclusions:  

Common Ground Program is important to build social cohesion, digital literacy skills, racial understanding, and improve inter-generational bonds among older adults in Belmont Cragin. 


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Poster #30 - Six Regions - one chicago

  • Themes: Housing | Food Access | Environment | Public Safety | Neighborhood Planning and Development | Health and Human Services | Public Health Systems Organizations | Life Expectancy
  • Contact: Sona Fokum | Nancy Valentin | Joyce Chapman
  • Email: sona.fokum@cityofchicago.org
  • Phone: 312-744-6710
  • Organization: Chicago Department of Public Health (Sona) | Northwest Center (Nancy) | Phalanx Family Services (Joyce)

Project Abstract:

This poster aims to gather feedback and foster collaborations on the process of building a community-led research agenda within the Healthy Chicago Equity Zones (HCEZ) initiative using the guiding principles (including being trauma-informed) of the Healthy Chicago 2025 (HC2025) community health improvement plan. The purpose of this research agenda is to create a power shift beyond standard community based participatory research and explore forces and trends that impact Chicagoans' overall health and well-being. This project highlights the newness of this health equity zone model for the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the importance of it in connecting Chicago as one entity of health.  

Background: Healthy Chicago Equity Zones, an initiative adapted from a Rhode Island Department of Health model, in which CDPH's community partners carry out hyper-local strategies/interventions to address priority issues within their communities. Public health investments are allocated to community partners that lead "equity zone regions" based on need, eligibility, and vulnerability to ensure every neighborhood is justly represented in the program. From Chicago's 77 community areas, six equity zones were formed: North/Central, Northwest, West, Southwest, Near South, and Far South. This project is a community centered co-collaboration with CDPH and the six HCEZ regions across where the community is the forefront and the powerhouse for the work.  

Significance: HC2025 is a five-year plan that focuses on racial and health equity to meet our goal of reducing the racial life expectancy gap. Between 2012 and 2017, life expectancy fell for every racial and ethnic group except white, non-Latinx Chicagoans. The COVID-19 pandemic not only illuminated the existing inequities due to segregation but also created new health challenges. New 2020 data now shows a 10-year life expectancy gap between Black and white Chicagoans and a 7-year decline for Latinx Chicagoans. These statistics informed CDPH in the development of the HCEZ initiative as an approach to addressing this gap and decline.  

Methods: The HCEZ collaboration structure includes six HCEZ lead organizations, "Regional Leads" (RL) to represent the needs and duties for each equity zone. RLs maintain collaborations, grow partnerships within their identified zone, and subcontract with at least one community-based lead organization, "Community Leads," (CL) for each of the community areas within their region. The City and RLs plan to engage research-based partnerships that will help fulfill the mission of HCEZ. RLs/CLs will grow partnerships within their identified neighborhoods and develop program activities based on data-informed priority focused areas. With support from research partners, RLs/CLs will create a list of research questions that they need answered to better be able to implement collaborative interventions in priority areas.  

Results:  Results are forthcoming as we develop the project. Regions are currently conducting community health assessments and will develop action plans for working towards health equity based on their selected priority areas. RLs/CLs have made numerous partnerships and are working towards building additional partnerships that will help drive future action plans and interventions.  

Conclusion: The future of this project will connect all six regions at large via a united coalition of community leaders and networks working towards health equity in the City of Chicago. This "network of networks" will help ensure all 77 community areas in Chicago have power for residents to reach optimal health and well-being. Part of that power comes from developing community-led research projects with the support from the City and research partners. Ultimately, HCEZ is looking to increase the "co-conspirators" who will support the HC2025 vision through equitable investments in sustained research and public health programs. 


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Poster #31 - developing critical partnerships and building a hybrid network of trusted community voices to promote vaccine confidence among limited-english proficient latinx essential workers

  • Themes: Health and Human Services | Public Health Systems | Life Expectancy | Other Social Determinants of Health
  • Contact: Bruce Tyler | Zorayda Avila | Jonathan Castro
  • Email: btyler@alianzaamericas.org
  • Phone: 312-399-8004
  • Organization: Chicago Department of Public Health (Sona) | Northwest Center (Nancy) | Phalanx Family Services (Joyce)

Project Abstract:

Developing critical partnerships and building a hybrid network of trusted community voices to promote vaccine confidence among limited-English proficient Latinx essential workers Alianza Americas is a nationwide network of over 50 community organizations run by immigrants of Latin American origins. When the COVID-19 public health emergency threw a wrench in our work, many of us pivoted to both online activities and pandemic response, both of which were new and unfamiliar territory. In response Alianza Americas submitted a proposal to CDC for funding to build a system of information and support for our members. We started with 17 organizations in 11 states and Washington, DC, (including 2 in Chicago and 1 in Lake County). We then continued with 7 organizations in 7 states to intensify our work.  

A major challenge was the lack of knowledge about COVID-19 and limited experience in conducting outreach and education on health-related topics among the members.  A further challenge was lack of expertise in the use of technology such as Zoom, email or online platforms like Google Docs. By confronting all three challenges simultaneously, we built a new hybrid community of promotores de salud (2) who have carried out real-world work in their communities while building a "virtual" community of learning and mutual support on Zoom. 

Over the last year and a half, Alianza Americas has leveraged its partnerships with a number of its member organizations to conduct health promotion activities among the Latinx and Latin American immigrant community. Most fall into our target population of essential, therefore highly vulnerable, workers, with limited English proficiency. These activities aim to promote the COVID-19 vaccine, sharing culturally and linguistically appropriate materials adapted from the guidelines and recommendations of the CDC and facilitating adoption of protective practices and access to the vaccine. Forming associations with local institutions also plays a significant role in helping members reach our goals. 

Through regular online meetings, Alianza Americas and its partner organizations across the country have built this hybrid community. Partners conduct real world efforts to conduct health promotion and education, while addressing health disparities. We combined this with a virtual, shared-space, which has served to empower the participants through trainings, workshops and webinars. More importantly, promotores share their own experiences with their peers and learn from each other as they overcome challenges and implement emerging best practices. As a result, participating member organizations have reached nearly 75,000 individuals to date. (3) 

Through this project we have implemented a new approach to community organizing to address health inequities. It combines local context and the decentralized power of a dispersed network to increase total impact. We are actively working to scale it up and build it out, incorporating new members and addressing other disparities besides those reflected in the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 (1)  All authors are staff of Alianza Americas, listed in alphabetical order. 

(2)  Lay Community Health Workers with strong ties to the community who serve as trusted messengers among an often untrusting, vulnerable population. 

(3)  We have implemented a contact tracking tool using an online form. This is used to document the number of contacts and also collect demographics and information about health practices and intentions to measure impact and improve planning. 


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Poster #32 - midwest asian health association (mAHA) community mental health clinic

Project Abstract:

Purpose: We established our Community Mental Health Clinic (CMHC) in 2015, and through it we have provided linguistically-appropriate, culturally-sensitive, and financially-affordable mental health services, regardless of ability to pay. We provide individual counseling / therapy, medication management, care coordination, public workshops, and other services.  

Community: Though we reach many through telehealth, we primarily serve the Chinese immigrant population in the Chinatown area. Since 2016, a third of the CMHC's clients have received counseling in Cantonese, a quarter have in Mandarin, and just less than half in English--which does include people from other ethnic backgrounds. Almost everyone is working class; 85% are on Medicaid. Because of our close relationships with nearby elementary schools like James Ward, Robert Healy, and Haines, our clientele skews younger: a third are under 18, a sixth 18-25, a third 26-55, and a sixth over 55. MAHA's networks in the community are extensive because it offers other services, like a Health Insurance Navigator Program and a monthly Community Health Center for screenings and referrals, so many without English rely on MAHA to navigate the healthcare system.  

Significance: Everyone's mental health declined with the pandemic. Because of their better financial means and stigma that inhibits acknowledgment of one's own symptoms, in 2019, only 5% of Asian Americans were recognized as having depression or anxiety. Then it jumped to 34% in 2020. Great tragedies like the Atlanta Spa Shootings had a demonstrable impact on Asian Americans' mental well-being. There is legitimate cause for fear: from 2019 to 2021, anti-Asian hate crimes rose 474% in California, while other hate crimes only rose 56%. Meanwhile, the number of Asian Americans receiving mental healthcare rose to just 7% in 2020. Many who do receive services report disappointment because of their therapist's poor understanding of their cultural identity. The CMHC addresses this problem. Our counselors have experience with issues more particular to Asian Americans: the "model minority" stereotype; cultural mental health stigma and resulting dismissal, denial, or neglect of symptoms; difficulty balancing different cultures; and familial pressure from traditional values and desire for academic and professional success. 

Impact: Measured by scope and satisfaction surveys, the CMHC has been very fortunate. Since 2020, we have dramatically increased our number of counselors, partners, and clients--from 95 to 250 in 2022. This year, we received our license as a Level 1 Outpatient Facility to treat Substance Use Disorder. We also developed innovative group therapy services, like "parenting groups" that discussed parenting styles and positive discipline. Every single participant reported 100% satisfaction. For the CMHC generally, of 65 satisfaction surveys collected April-June 2022, clients rated our services on average 4.84 out of 5. 

Conclusions: The results speak for themselves. We have learned to provide trauma-informed, client-centered, and LGBTQIA+ affirming care. We have become practiced with organizing workshops for the public, to increase awareness of mental health challenges and self-care strategies. Through our networks and partnerships with schools, health clinics, and other nonprofits, we ensure everyone in our community knows how to access mental healthcare. 


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Poster #33 - Community engagement to address social determinants of health through a trauma-informed care approach

Project Abstract:

Habilitative Systems Inc. (HSI) is a 501c3 mission-driven, multi-faceted human service agency established to alleviate human suffering by developing and providing resources to promote dignity, self-sufficiency, and empowerment for humanity. The organization uses a comprehensive multitier approach that engages prevention, intervention, treatment, research, and care management to build healthy communities. 

HSI address adverse health conditions through prevention, intervention, treatment, and care management. The organization offers substance abuse treatment, mental illness treatment, case management, therapy, and counseling services for the target population. 

HSI's project is essential to addressing increased Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) in Chicago's impoverished Westside communities. HSI Outreach and Engagement departments is tasked with the implementation of all organizational community engagement activities, special events, and other educational workshops which include job fairs and housing fairs, The objective of this position its to increase awareness and overall health and wellness of individuals seeking help. 

We have begun work to create a network of Trauma-Informed Centers of Care. The goal of the practice model is to identify, intervene, and mitigate the effects of adverse and traumatic experiences of children and families who have trouble in their day to day lives as a result of trauma. This vision also continues with efforts to reduce, if not alleviate, secondary trauma experienced by children while living in communities with high trauma triggers. 

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual's functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being 

We have found that the consequences of trauma are risk factors for delinquency; Hypervigilance, impulsivity, poor attention, and inability to accurately anticipate and weigh consequences of behavior. Therefore, assessment strategies should assess trauma history and effects then treatment should be trauma informed. 

We service individuals and their families who are experiencing mental health, substance use disorders and people with developmental disabilities. HSI targeted communities include; Austin, North Lawndale, Garfield Park, and Englewood 

As a result of our family trauma informed care approach, individuals are less likely to end up in institutions, criminal detention centers, and emergency rooms. We have many success stories and we continue to incorporate best-practices for comprehensive, continuity of care for our clients.


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Poster #34 - using community-university partnership to increase brain health awareness in community-dwelling black older adults on the south side of Chicago

  • Themes: Other Social Determinants of Health
  • Contact: Janie Urbanic | Phyllis Timpo | Emily Rogalski | Darby Morhardt
  • Email: southloopvillage@gmail.com
  • Phone: 312-282-5456
  • Organization: South Loop Village | Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Project Abstract:

The older adult population in the United States is rapidly growing and becoming increasingly diverse. With these changes, the onset of Alzheimer's Disease and related dementias (ADRD) is projected to expand, with a disproportionate burden on Black and African American communities (Barnes and Bennett, 2014). Researchers have found evidence to indicate a relationship between lifestyle factors and cognitive decline (Eubank, 2022). Physical activity, dietary intake, and social engagement have been found to be possible protective factors for cognitive decline in older adults.  

The Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and South Loop Village, a community-based organization, have partnered to address lifestyle factors that promote brain health in diverse older adults, through physical activity, social support, and education programming.  We are working collaboratively to increase knowledge and awareness of the connection between physical health and brain health while presenting opportunities to participate in innovative ADRD research to residents of affordable housing senior buildings on Chicago's under-resourced Southside, in particular, the Near Southside and Bronzeville.  Efforts to date include monthly brain health programming in several affordable housing senior buildings across the South Loop and Bronzeville. These programs include discussions on brain health, diet, dementia, dementia friendly communities, and research opportunities and often include an instructor-led fitness or dance session.  

To date, we have held over 30 sessions in senior living facilities across Chicago's South Side reaching approximately 250 older adults. Through this partnership, we have discovered Black older adults are undereducated about topics related to cognitive functioning and brain health, lack opportunities to engage with community organizations and research institutions, and express a strong interest to learn more about these topics. 

The South Loop Village and Northwestern Mesulam Center is a community-university partnership to build trust in communities that are traditionally underrepresented in research by meeting communities where they are to address health disparities and promote health equity in ADRD disease prevention and research.  Next steps include continued program development and data collection on specific outcomes, such as, participant health behaviors, brain health knowledge, social interactions, and emotional wellbeing. 


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Poster #35 - In these streets: reflections on COVID and community health response work in Chicago's southeast side

  • Themes: Public Health Systems Organizations | Life Expectancy | Other Social Determinants of Health
  • Contact: Dr. Catalina Ortiz
  • Email: cathi@calumetareaindustrial.com
  • Phone: 773-615-5581
  • Organization: Calumet Area Industrial Commission

Project Abstract:

The purpose of this project is to examine the scope of COVID-19 efforts via Calumet Area Industrial Commission's  (CAIC) Community Health Response Corps. CAIC is a not for profit organization located in the Pullman community on the far southside of Chicago. CAIC's goal was to help city-wide initiatives at mitigating COVID in Chicago by hiring staff from the very communities it would serve through its Contact Tracing efforts. At various times over the last two years, Roseland, South Chicago, East Side, Riverdale and South Deering experienced some of the highest positivity rates. Since 2020, the scope of the work would pivot to identify alternate and creative ways for reaching community members including scheduling vaccinations, canvassing, attending community events, creating pandemic-themed podcasts, and scavenger hunts.   

Roseland, South Chicago, East Side, Riverdale and South Deering which are largely Black and Latinx communities are also situated in the far south region of Health Chicago Equity zones. The on-the ground work led by CAIC's Community Health Response Corp afforded the organization the opportunity to build relationships with community members and connect on cross-collaborative initiatives with other agencies.  

COVID-19 devastated communities of color already burdened by health inequities due to systemic racism. Simultaneously, members of the community were confronted with issues of social justice in their backyards. From youth-led organizing in response to the murder of George Floyd to contentious decisions to remove School Resource Officers, its members have witnessed unrest, activism, advocacy and transformation. CAIC staff also navigated being on two sides of the pandemic which provided a unique element for this project.   23 participants were selected and in-depth interviews were conducted to provide rich, detailed descriptions of the phenomena. Collected data also included the types of work events and activities facilitated by staff and the interactions they had with community members.  Preliminary data revealed 1) initial discord/distrust with perceived failed public health policies/practices 2) increased youth activism and collaborative efforts 3) greater demand for equity in education and public health and 4) the need for greater mental health resources and 5) appreciation for community-based work with staff who live in community.  In order to promote racial and health equity, the documentation of community-based organizational work offers meaningful data for identifying best practices at the hyper-local level. Where larger public health initiatives were largely limited at the onset of the pandemic,  community-based organizations often helped to bridge the gap.  Further research will be useful in understanding the way the community looked to one another for support and the meaning this has for shifts in policy-making and providing greater training and funding for community health work to address the wellness of the whole person. 


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Poster #36 - Community-focused self-guided cancer education

Project Abstract:

Self-guided education, defined as a learning management system used to provide pre-recorded education, gained increased popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Automated education is a useful mechanism for providing no-contact education 24 hours per day and requires little overhead. Pre-recorded oncology focused education sessions were used for Community Health Workers, patient navigators, and general community members. Session topics include Cancer 101, Breast Density 101, HPV, Vaccination, and Cancer, Clinical Trials 101, and dozens more. The modules are comprised of a demographics section, a pre-test, a pre-recorded PowerPoint session, and a posttest. Each section is loaded into a cloud-based software that captures participant's answers and does not allow the participant to advance to succeeding sections until the current section is completed. Educational modules are culturally tailored and vetted for accuracy by subject-matter experts. This presentation will describe the self-guided education program, explain the catalyst for the program, and provide a demonstration. 


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Poster #37 - Creating a virtual community-academic cancer research education program

Project Abstract:

Community Outreach and Engagement (COE) within Comprehensive Cancer Centers (CCC) are traditionally centralized in Population Science/Cancer Prevention and Control Research Programs, however, it should span across the research spectrum. The University of Chicago CCC Office of Community Engagement and Cancer Health Equity (OCECHE) developed a virtual training infrastructure to build researcher and community capacity by providing a consistent shared space for engagement and bidirectional, equitable, communication and dissemination of community and patient priorities and scientific research. The program, Community Outreach Research Engagement (CORE), consisted of a community cohort of cancer survivors, caregivers, and patient advocates, and an academic cohort of University of Chicago cancer investigators. Cohorts participated in monthly Zooms for nine-months. Program aims were to: 

  1. Train community members in research advocacy, scientific principles, research language. 
  2. Train basic and translational research scientists in the patient experience, community needs, cancer disparities, and scientific communication.

III. Plan and execute community research summit on Cancer and the Microbiome. 


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Poster #38 - BRIDGES: collectively driving systems change for families with young children

  • Themes: Health and Human Services | Other Social Determinants of Health
  • Contact: Gina Lowell | Emily Cole| Talibah Moore (COFI) | Avelina Padin | Karen Reyes Rodrigues (Rush) | Ellen Schumer | Giselle Doyle (COFI) | Madeleine Shalowitz | Natalie Stevens (Rush) | Vikki Rompala (Chicago Commons) | Brenda Huber (Our Children's Future) | Charlene Campbell | Esmeralda Martinez | Delia Perez | Stacey Simon | Michelle Morton | Shontesia Floyd | Rosalia Salgado
  • Email: gina_lowell@rush.edu
  • Phone: 773-510-0754
  • Organization: Rush University Medical Center

Project Abstract:

BRIDGES: Building Relationships, Generationally Effective Systems. 

Background: In 2020, Rush University Medical Center and Community Organizing Family Issues partnered and were awarded the 4-year Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation's Children's Mental Health Initiative 3.0 System of Care grant. We proposed bringing together a collaborative of parent leaders, women and children's behavioral health providers, home visiting and doula agencies, infant and early childhood mental health (I/ECMH) experts, and community mental health partners to form a Community Planning Team that works collectively to support pregnant and parenting families affected by trauma on Chicago's West Side. BRIDGES members are activated by the persistence of intergenerational trauma transmission and the understanding that our systems work for some, but not all families. BRIDGES seeks to influence and strengthen the system of care for families with young children experiencing trauma-related difficulties.  

Methods:  The BRIDGES CPT met monthly throughout the planning year (2021) to tackle SOC change by defining pathways to the 4 BRIDGES pillars: 1) seeking and implementing interventions that help families heal, 2) linking families to services that build supportive relationships, 3) connecting families to supports for social needs, and 4) addressing and removing barriers to care. COFI parent leaders prioritized relationship building and elevated the pregnant and parenting community's desire for peer-to-peer supports. Behavioral health providers surfaced those interventions that would align with the BRIDGES values of secure attachment, close connection to community, support and understanding.  

Results: To date, the BRIDGES CPT has met 15 times and have pursued several family-centered, trauma-informed trainings and practices. BRIDGES has supported 1) training 4 COFI parent leaders in Survivor Moms Companion to deliver this psychoeducation and skill building intervention to pregnant and parenting women with PTSD in a peer-to-peer support manner; 2) training over 50 pediatric and women's psychologists, psychiatrists, trainees, family support specialists, home visitors, social workers/interns, and 2 parent leaders in Circle of Security, a trauma-informed, attachment-based I/ECMH training; 3) training 4 community mental health providers from the BRIDGES CPT in Perinatal Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET), a promising treatment for PTSD in the perinatal period; and 4) training 30 early childhood providers in the newly mandated DC:0-5 behavioral health assessment approach for infants and young children. BRIDGES leadership completed The COFI Way training, infusing our approach and methods with family-centered organizing principles.  BRIDGES expanded patient navigation services to its clinical healthcare partner; and social work and community health services to all BRIDGES partners, strengthening the interconnectedness of the SOC. BRIDGES has hosted 2 family fairs in the community with innovative approaches to healing together in a festive atmosphere. The way in which the CPT has built relationships has resulted in cross-agency knowledge sharing, trainings and collective action to achieve our shared vision. 

Conclusion: Through uncovering shared difficulties with the current system of care for pregnant and parenting families affected by trauma, centering parent leadership, and bringing together those who support parents with trauma-informed practices, BRIDGES has identified and pursued several avenues to innovate and strengthen supports for Chicago's West Side communities.


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Poster #39 - Community based organization partners with master of public health student to produce a podcast for alzheimer's disease caregivers

Project Abstract:

Informal caregiving is an important public health issue millions of Americans face. It is characterized as helping a family member or friend with activities important for daily living at no cost. Healthy Washington Heights (HWH), a nonprofit organization, and a Northwestern University Master of Public Health student collaborated to create a podcast focused on caregivers of people with Alzheimer's Disease (AD). This topic is at the forefront of Chicago's Washington Heights residents, a predominantly African American (AA) community, because they are disproportionately affected by AD. AD caregivers are more vulnerable than other caregivers because they provide care for longer durations, significantly impacting their physical and mental well-being. The culturally humble podcast was created with the support of data from a focused interview with an AD academic researcher and a listening session with a group of informal AD caregivers. The sessions revealed that improved infrastructure, including building a "village”, to better support informal caregivers is needed to protect their health and well-being. There is also a need for increased messaging and action that acknowledges and compensates the contribution of informal caregivers. Participants described the long-term impact of fulfilling the demands of an informal caregiver, which included the development of chronic conditions (e.g. Diabetes). Four podcast episodes were developed covering these topics, as well as the phenomenon of presenteeism. Podcast episodes were published on the HWH website and distributed by email. This presentation will detail podcast development, examine implications of lessons learned, and discuss next steps. 


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Poster #40 - Breast density awareness social marketing campaign in Beverly, Chicago

Project Abstract:

Breast density greatly increases the risk of breast cancer yet many women are unaware of this or their breast density. Legislation mandating that mammogram reports specify a woman's breast density has attempted to bridge this gap, yet many women are still unaware of the role breast density its connection to breast  cancer and the extra screening required.  

The Beverly community on Chicago's far south side has one of the highest incidences of late stage breast cancer diagnosis of all 77 Chicago community areas despite its high socioeconomic status - high level of education, average household income of $100k, satisfactory health insurance, and access to quality health care. Barriers such as lack of knowledge and/or lack of understanding the importance of regular screening mammograms have been cited as potential culprits.  

Two non-profit community organizations collaborated to create a social marketing campaign aimed to catalyze women to ask their doctor about their breast density & if dense, secure a referral for appropriate breast screening such as a breast ultrasound or breast MRI. The campaign was executed by a Master of Public Health Student as a project requirement for graduation.  

The social marketing campaign leveraged social media, the  local newspaper,  churches, and Beverly's  large network of small businesses, to saturate the community with breast density information.  

This presentation will explain the relationship between breast density and breast cancer risk, appropriate screening for women with dense breast, outline the steps of the Beverly Breast Density social marketing campaign, discuss community listening session feedback, and identify next steps for this campaign. 


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Poster #41 - Cancer focused community based organization and academic cancer research partner create a virtual space of support, education, and self-management instruction for AYAs with cancer

  • Themes: Public Health Systems Organizations
  • Contact: Denisse Martinez | Trisha Mondal | Gina Curry
  • Email: ginacurry@uchicago.edu
  • Phone: 312-343-4462
  • Organization: Screen To Succeed | UChicago

Project Abstract:

Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA) with cancer, characterized as those diagnosed with cancer for the first time between the ages of 15-39 years, diagnoses continue to increase with the majority surviving beyond five years. This rapidly growing distinct population faces unique challenges including high risk of long-term and late effects, including infertility, heart complications, and future cancer development, resulting in the necessity of increased attention and support. Mindfulness-based interventions can be particularly helpful with AYA survivors for coping with substantial and potentially permanent changes in functional abilities, appearance, lifestyle, long term pain and fragility. Rates of depression and other psychological disorders are substantially higher in AYA with cancer compared with older adults due to family and medical factors that may influence presentation, disruptions in developmental trajectory, and greater physical symptom burden, which may require age-appropriate diagnosis and interventions. A community-based cancer awareness and screening organization, founded by a high school student, and investigators from the Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics research program of a Comprehensive Cancer Center collaborated to develop a partnership and provide AYA cancer survivors with a platform of support, education, and practical tools to support enhanced quality of life. This presentation will describe the partnership between the community-based organization and the academic cancer research program, explain the goals of the collaboration, discuss the development of the intervention, and assess the impact, lessons learned, and next steps for the partnership. 


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Poster #42 - Puedes Sobrevivir! : Chicago Latinx community, public health students, faith and community organizations, and NCI comprehensive cancer center partner to tackle rising cancer mortality rates

Project Abstract:

Chicago's South Chicago neighborhood (SCN), once a thriving, middle class steel worker community comprised of Mexican immigrants, is now a food, transportation and resource dessert facing high rates of unemployment, home foreclosures, shuttering businesses and a significant rise in cancer mortality rates. Described by residents as a community forgotten by the City of Chicago due to its dwindled resources, diverse collaboration is vital. 

Partnerships between community, academic, faith and public health sectors are showing promising outcomes in the prevention and treatment of cancer.  In 2012, Chicago State University (CSU) and the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center (UCCCC) formed the Chicago Southside Cancer Disparities Initiative (CSCDI) to provide biomedical and cancer research education to underrepresented minority students which aims to increase professional representation in the public health field to provide cultural understanding and better health outcomes. 

Building on the 2013 CSU Master of Public Health student cohort's cancer resource guide geared towards African Americans in the Roseland neighborhood, this presentation will discuss the 2019 public health student practicum project of updating the guide in a culturally responsive approach specific to the Latinx residents of Chicago's SCN. Staff from the UCCCC Office of Community Engagement and Cancer Health Equity, will describe how, using a community based participatory research approach, the students engaged with Latinx residents via focus groups, key stakeholder interviews, and components of observational research to assess and address the cancer education, screening and medical access needs to inform the guide. Students and staff will 1) describe the methods used to update and adapt the cancer resource guide in a culturally responsive manner, 2) assess the collaboration with SCN Latinx residents and UCCCC staff to translate the cancer resource guide into Spanish, 3) compare community data collected in the 2013 and 2019 CSU public health cohorts, and 4) explain how the initiative was sustained post grant funding and student involvement. 


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Poster #43 - community COVID response corps

Project Abstract:

Purpose: What was the intent or goal of the project? What did you learn/ are learning?

The Chicago COVID-19 Response Corps (also known as the Chicago COVID-19 Community Response Corps) invested in hard-hit communities and worked to mitigate community transmission by creating a diverse public health workforce that reflects our City's residents. The purpose of the Corps is to support Chicago's most vulnerable residents to realize a higher quality of living with better overall health outcomes and an extended and equitable life expectancy.  

What communities is the project impacting (geographic and population wise): 

The COVID Response Corps - now Chicago's Community Health Corps - intentionally focuses its efforts on Chicago's most historically marginalized communities: the South and West sides of Chicago - Englewood, Greater Grand Crossing, South Shore, Austin, West Garfield, Lawndale, among others. These Chicago communities are home to the majority of Chicago's African American and Latinx residents.  

Background/Significance: What was the problem and why was it important? 

Due to the segregation and disenfranchisement of these Chicago communities, the residents of these communities have realized a significantly lower quality of life than residents from more affluent communities. Healthcare outcomes, life expectancy, and overall access to standard living necessities is drastically lower in the communities that the Community Health Corps serves.  

Method: What is the target population? What is your target community area? What type of data does your organization collect?

If applicable Chicago's Community Health Corps intentionally targets the African American and Latinx communities and residents because data shows that these populations are the most negatively impacted by community health issues, and which proof of these impacts were amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to geographic and demographic data, the Corps collects quantitative data to track the need and impact of its efforts as well as qualitative data in which we leverage the community members' perspectives in what their respective communities need to improve the quality of life in each respective community across Chicago.  

Results: What were the findings? What impact your work is having in your community? How do you measure the impact? 

Chicago's Community Health Corps has handled over 552, 274 calls, made over 189,345 Resource Coordination connections, hosted over 2,500 Community Outreach and Engagement events, and saved countless lives.  

Conclusions: What do the findings mean? 

Our findings from the efforts of Chicago's Community Health Corps is that there is a substantial need for continued mitigation of all Public Health and Community Health issues, specifically in protection and support of Chicago's most disinvested and disenfranchised communities in which predominantly African American and Latinx residents absorb the brunt of the negative impacts of the social issues that exist in Chicago. 

In the first year, this initiative: 

  • Identified and funded organizations in disadvantaged neighborhoods to hire the city's community-based corps
  • Created roughly 600 career opportunities for Black, Hispanic, and other Chicagoans disproportionately impacted by COVID-19
  • Supported contact tracing and the expansion of other Chicago Department of Public Health initiatives 
  • City-wide Vaccination pods
  • COVID-19 Call Center
  • Promotores de Salud (Community Health Work) 
  • Canvassing/Community Outreach

Corps CBOs:30+ Competitively procured Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) from Chicago's hardest-hit communities 450 FTE Contact Tracers and 31 Supervisors/Leads 

CDPH COVID-19 Related Assigned Projects 

  • Contact Tracing (original project)
  • Expansion of Corps 
  • Vaccination Pod Support 
  • Promotores de Salud (Community Health Worker) 
  • COVID-19 Hotline  COVID-19 Call Center
  • Canvassing/Community Outreach 

How it all started?Deputy Commissioner Christina Anderson and Patrick Stonehouse and other admin team members had a conversation a grant was written and here we are. 

The 1st week in March everything was being put in place and on Thursday March 4, 2020 at 8am we went live. On that day we received over 4,088 calls 

Call Center number: 312-746-4835  

Open 7 days a week  

Monday-Saturday 8am-8pm and Sunday 8am-4pm 

Resource Coordination Hub Transition 

The Resource Coordination Hub was created and supported by NORC to provide resources to contacts of the Contact Tracing queue under the direction of Reverend Nilsa Irizary 

As of November 2021, the resource coordination hub finalized its transition to the COVID-19 Community Response Corps 

December 1, 2021 we went live. 

All COVID-19 Community Response Workers (Corps members) is currently trained to provide resources to all Chicagoans through all the active initiatives: Call Center, community outreach, canvassing, or other CDPH projects/initiatives.


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Poster #44 - Unique sweet creating community

  • Themes: Health and Human Services | Other Social Determinants of Health
  • Contact: Liza Pereira
  • Email: lizacuriel@gmail.com
  • Phone: 773-627-8183
  • Organization: Unique Sweets, Inc.

Project Abstract:

Unique Sweets provides opportunities for individuals living with Autism and other Developmental Disabilities to develop job skills, socialize and expand their skills across family, community, and professional worlds.   

Through participation in baking events, virtual cooking classes, social outings and peer support groups, Unique Sweets provides opportunities to develop skills needed to promote independence, achieve employment and provide a creative outlet, while cultivating meaningful relationships. 

Unique Sweets seeks to provide a space where autistic adults and individuals with other intellectual disabilities can come together, make new friends and grow their support network.   

A lack of friends and loneliness are associated with an increased risk of depression, anxiety, less life satisfaction and lower self-esteem. Indeed, as autistics age, their risk of depression increases. One study reported that more than half of these individuals had not gotten together with friends in the past year, and 64% had not talked on the phone with a friend. This situation was exacerbated with the Covid pandemic. 


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Poster #45 - Partnering to improve health equity: the Chicago chronic conditions equity network

Project Abstract:

The mission of the C3EN is to identify solutions to address inequities in multiple chronic conditions in Chicagoland area, with a particular focus on cardiometabolic health. To understand the role of local contextual factors (e.g., neighborhood, social determinants of health, mental health) on the development of multiple chronic conditions and the effectiveness of interventions to reduce inequities in those health conditions. This abstract will focus on three Aims for successful implementation of the C3EN: (i) Establish a Community Stakeholder Advisory Council, to support and expand working relationships among C3EN investigators and community stakeholders, (ii) develop bi-directional communication and co-design platform between C3EN investigators and community stakeholders, and (iii) develop a process and platform for the dissemination of actionable research results from C3EN projects to network members and the Chicago region.  The C3EN will focus on building capacity within and outside the academic medical center, for sustainable health research, to improve health outcomes in vulnerable populations.  Areas for evaluation are as follows: Tracking CSAC member satisfaction with the council, tracking CSAC member and community member satisfaction with community townhall process, monitor community research metrics including recruitment, retention, and dissemination of research data, and collective work on an equity framework.


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Poster #46 - Building a parent-led campaign for trauma healing and mental health

Project Abstract:

POWER-PAC IL is a cross-cultural, statewide membership organization of COFI-trained parents whose mission is to build the voice and power of low-income, immigrant, and working families by uniting parents across race and community around issues of importance to children and families. The issues of trauma and mental health soared to the top of parents' consciousness during the pandemic and high profile police violence. As a response, parent leaders in POWER-PAC IL's Health, Food and Recess Campaign decided to conduct participatory research to better understand how issues of trauma and mental health are affecting Illinois families.  Input was gathered from 993 parents and community members living in challenged communities of color across Illinois through in-depth interviews, small group discussions, and community surveys. All surveys, interviews and discussions were conducted in both English and Spanish, and Spanish speakers represented the majority of respondents. Respondents represented the South and West Sides of Chicago, Evanston, Aurora, Elgin, and East St. Louis. A group of 40 parents from across the state formulated survey questions, conducted interviews, interpreted results and are in the process of developing actionable recommendations. Parents conducted interviews in their everyday spaces - at the kitchen table with loved ones, with neighbors waiting for the bus, at the laundromat, at parks, and at food giveaways in their communities. In preparation for this effort, parents received training in trauma-informed interviewing techniques and built on years of experience building rapport with community members as outreach ambassadors. They additionally connected with staff from Social Work and Community Health at Rush Hospital to connect respondents who needed extra support and participated in biweekly check ins which served as both a space to synthesize survey responses as a group and to process the emotional impact of hearing difficult stories from members of their communities. 

Survey questions asked parents about the impact of COVID on their and their families' mental health, the ways that they are currently addressing those challenges, and additional supports that they desire to help them deal with their mental health. Initial results highlight the devastating impact of the pandemic on the emotional well-being of Illinois children, parents and caregivers, particularly in low-income Black and Brown communities. Their stories highlight the ways that our public policies and institutions are failing to meet the needs of too many Illinois families. However, the results also highlight innovative ideas for holistic mental health supports for families and parents' willingness to work together to achieve these supports. POWER PAC will use the information gathered through this research to develop a parent-led campaign to change policies and systems to better support families' emotional health needs, which will launch in February 2023 with full results and recommendations.


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Poster #47 - Peer navigators for the health and wellness of people with psychiatric disabilities

  • Themes: Health and Human Services | Life Expectancy | Other Social Determinants of Health
  • Contact: Karyn Bolden Stovall
  • Email: kstovall@iit.edu
  • Phone: 312-567-5026
  • Organization: Illinois Institute of Technology | Chicago Health Disparities Center

Project Abstract:

The study aims to help address continuing issues of access to quality healthcare for those with mental and physical health challenges. People with psychiatric disabilities often die approximately 20 years younger than those not facing the same disabilities (Corrigan, Kundert, & Catanese, 2021, p. 1). Much of this disparity can be attributable to the differences in healthcare access that those with mental health challenges receive. Additionally, many with lived mental health challenges struggle to navigate the extensive, complex, and cumbersome healthcare system. In particular, those with low income, along with people of color, LGBTQ+, and those with intersectional identities, often experience the most challenges when attempting to access healthcare. 

To end the disparities in life expectancy and help increase the quality of care that persons with mental health challenges face, the study utilizes Peer Health Navigators (Navigators) to assist participants with accessing the healthcare services they need and deserve.  

The study works with participants through a year-long process to better understand their overall health and wellness. Participants are divided into two groups, the control group, who receive Treatment as Usual (TAU), and those who receive the intervention, known as the Peer Health Navigator (PHN) group.  

Throughout the study, all participants have an interview covering their overall health and healthcare experience every four months. In addition, every month, participants have a much briefer interview to review their healthcare experience for the last several weeks. 

Participants in the PHN group receive an eight-month intervention in which they work with Navigators on achieving their health and wellness goals. Participant self-determination is one of the cornerstones of the study. At the beginning of the intervention, participants review their overall health with the Navigators and determine which areas of their health and wellness they would like to prioritize during the intervention. 

Navigators are an important aspect of this study as they are people with their own lived mental and/or physical health challenges that use their experiences to help others gain access to better overall healthcare. Moreover, they actively assist participants by providing culturally sensitive and aware services to help participants live healthier and fuller lives. Navigators provide a range of services, from helping participants get to appointments to connecting them with resources on managing their chronic health conditions.  

The study has and continues to work with a Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) team to design and implement the study that runs from 2020 - 2025. The team is comprised of people with lived mental health and/or physical health challenges, scholars, and practitioners. Through working together, the study benefits from a range of perspectives and is able to provide a culturally sensitive and trauma-informed research intervention. 


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