The South Side of Chicago has a rich cultural and political history. Despite its many strengths, the South Side faces several social and health challenges. Where and how people are born, grow, live, work and age - also referred to as "the social determinants of health" – are important factors for understanding individual and community health and well-being. Existing knowledge tells us that, like many communities in Chicago, residents of South Side neighborhoods face health problems such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension and other chronic health conditions. However, many of the communities on the South Side are unique in that they experience higher rates of these conditions than other communities in Chicago.

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